It’s now up to businesses in Windsor to decide whether or not to open on statutory holidays.
City Council on Monday passed a bylaw to give retailers a blanket exemption from Ontario’s Retail Business Holidays Act. Store owners will no longer have to pay $200 to the city and wait for approval to be open on stat holidays.
Jordan Goure, who represents Windsor Breweries, says the move will help small businesses.
“People can't go to the Beer Store, and surprisingly enough, in our industry we learned that people don't stock up as much you would think they do,” says Goure, who is part of a collective of micro-breweries in the Windsor area.
Retail employees do have the right to refuse work on public holidays under the Employment Standards Act, and Goure says they would respect their employees wishes.
“If you want to survive in the retail world today, you have to be available to people at all times,” adds Liz Munsterhjelm, the owner of Casa Chavela.
Munsterhjelm first opened the doors to her businesses 33 years ago, when you couldn’t open on a Sunday or all holidays.
She concedes it's a chance to make more money, but she says it comes at a cost.
“It’s extremely difficult for people who have families because now they have to work everyday,” says Munsterhjelm. “I mean, they open on Boxing Day at 5 a.m. and people don't even have a decent Christmas.”
In a survey done by the City of Windsor, 80 per cent of respondents believe retailers should stay closed on Christmas Day.