Essex Council to Push Province for Reopening of Small Businesses

AM800-News-Closed-Coronavirus-COVID-19

Essex council is calling for fairness when it comes to keeping small businesses open during the pandemic.

Councillors believe small businesses can operate safely and should not be forced to close while big box stores remain open.

Council was joined by several local politicians and Medical Officer of Health Dr. Wajid Ahmed for a discussion Monday night.

Councillor Steve Bjorkman says business owners have questions.

"Some stores can remain open, some can't. So we're told the rules are made to protect the public, but because they're not fairly applied to all business, our main street stores versus big box stores, many of our business owners don't trust the province or the health ministry or our health units," he says.

AM800-NEWS-Essex-Council-February-1-2021

Essex Council seen on February 1, 2021 (Photo courtesy of the Town of Essex)

Councillor Joe Garon says many businesses are on the brink of no return.

"They're hurting and they're hurting bad. We need to find a way to get them open," he says. "It concerns me when we have businesses, the small businesses especially, that were doing it right. They were taking much more care and doing their due diligence making sure that there's little risk at all in people coming into their buildings. They were doing it well."

Councillor Chris Vander Doelen says business owners and the public need some freedom back.

"We cannot throw away an entire strata of our economy over guesstimates which are proving to be wrong. We're a year into this now. There's a lot of pressure on people. People are going nuts. The domestics are way up. We've got to start coming out of this," he says.

Essex council will be sending a letter to Premier Doug Ford advocating for the reopening of small businesses in the town.