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LETTER: Province's lockdown rules unfair to small businesses

We not only want to protect ourselves ... we also want Orillia to remain a vibrant walkable community with unique shops, says letter writer
Curbside Pickup Signs
The City of Orillia has adapted its on-street parking to make it easy for the community to shop local and pick-up orders at downtown stores and restaurants. A letter writer says small local shops should be allowed to be open - not big box stores.

OrilliaMatters welcomes letters to the editor. This letter is an open letter to Simcoe North MPP Jill Dunlop, written by Valerie Powell and supported by the named local citizens, in response to the province's stay-at-home order. Send your letters to
Last week we were told by the Ontario Premier to stay home once again to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This emergency isolation is certainly necessary to reduce illness and deaths, but the rules are far from clear or fair.

While most of our small retailers are restricted to curbside or online business, big box and discount stores are allowed to stay fully open. This is unfair to small businesses and the people who prefer to support them.

To be fair, these large stores should cordon off all aisles other than groceries and essential pharmacy items, as they do in other provinces. Small retailers with one or few employees, and fewer customers making shorter visits are surely preferable to large groups of people spending more time in large stores with more employees, who are mingling at breaks. 

We not only want to protect ourselves and our families from infection, we also want Orillia to remain a vibrant walkable community with unique shops and small businesses.

We can’t ignore contributions from large corporations, but locally-owned stores are involved in our community and donate to our local organizations. We would like these shops and businesses to be there when this pandemic is over. None of us want Orillia to be left with only absentee corporate store owners who are not from Orillia or even from Canada. 

If the government of Ontario is putting the economy over our health, then it is failing both. The lockdown rules are not clear or fair and they are eroding our trust in the leadership of this province.  

Respectfully, from our homes:

Valerie and Jamie Powell, Gordon and Jane Ball, Joy Poyntz and Brian Dorfman, Doug and Barb Christie, Larry, Victoria and Olivia Booth, Sandy Michener, Ashley Booth and Jason O’Hara, Marcia Stephen, Scott and Judi Lindsey, Tom and Carol Griffiths, Philip and Shannon Jackman, Stephen Mader and Peter Caldwell, Mike and Barb Jones, Janet Guy, Ian and Carol MacKay, Albert and Nynka Greer, Gail Mueller, DeeDee Michener, Luke and Evan Carter, Susan Clarke, and Ruth Watt.