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TORONTO — Mike Schreiner made the following statement on reopening the economy:

“Small businesses are hanging on by a thread, and the Government’s teasing of when or if they’ll be allowed to reopen is adding to the frustration.

For months these businesses have been forced to stay closed while big box stores have been allowed to operate and sell non-essentials.

We need to create a level playing field. We cannot sit back and watch more and more neighbourhood businesses close their doors permanently. They need help and they need it now.

Small business owners need transparent decisions from the Premier based on clear metrics and medical advice. They cannot afford to invest in reopening, which includes bringing back staff, buying supplies, only to be told they have to close again.

We need to reopen the economy, but we need to do it safely — and the Premier’s approach is not working. We need a new plan.

I call on the Premier to prioritize the safety of Ontarians and to save small businesses by using the tools that are available now.

This includes ramping up testing, more contact tracing, implementing provincially paid sick days, providing additional financial support for small businesses and deploying rapid tests for essential workplaces to prevent outbreaks.  

The government must provide more direct financial support for PPE so businesses can operate safely. Invest more in digital tools to help small businesses compete online. And build public confidence by increasing inspections and fines for non-compliance to enforce strict capacity issues.”

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