Some businesses say the city of Ottawa's strict parking enforcement is turning customers away from ordering curbside pickup during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Justina Borowska runs Wedel Touch of Europe grocery store in the ByWard Market. She says she relies on curbside delivery orders to stay open during the lockdown.

Borowska claims customers are getting parking tickets while they pick up their orders, and are not coming back. 

"We have had the situation where customers have been here for two minutes and we see (bylaw officer) give them a ticket,” said Borowska, adding she would like to see the city ease restrictions and loosen the time limits, especially for pickups. 

"Customers don’t want to get a ticket, and they prefer to go somewhere where it is free, so that is not good for us. It is hurting us, especially right now in pandemic ...every cent counts," says Borowska.  

Jenn Hayward runs “Gopher It,” a small courier company. She says her drivers are constantly getting tickets when they are doing deliveries.

"It is not necessary, it is sometimes like a ghost town, but they still don’t have adequate parking, so we are in and out in two seconds and we still get a ticket," Hayward says. 

Hayward calls the parking tickets “an unnecessary expense" during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We aren’t leaving our car there all day, we aren’t causing a traffic jam," she says. "We live in a completely different world than we did before than pandemic, so anything that is a systemic barrier to small business that is unnecessary should be lifted. Because there is enough COVID related barriers."

The cost of the ticket coming out of their bottom line. "Getting a $60-$80 ticket for parking in the wrong place for five minutes is ridiculous,” Hayward says. 

The Wellington West BIA says they want to see all parking fees waved, similar to the first shutdown in the spring. 

"We were told there was going to be an amnesty like during the first lockdown. We are going through the worst depression we have seen in a very long time. Now is the worst time to be out enforcing rules that are meant to encourage turnover of parking," said Dennis Van Staalduinen, executive director of the Wellington West BIA.

"We are just asking for the same level of consideration that we got during the first lockdown, don’t ticket people who are coming down to use the Main Street, just ease off until COVID is over, please!"

In a statement to CTV Ottawa, Ottawa Bylaw Director Roger Chapman said, "For the duration of the provincial shutdown and in support of residents who are working from home, Bylaw and Regulatory Services has suspended the enforcement of overtime parking on streets that do not have posted time limits. This means residents may park in excess of three hours on weekdays and six hours on weekends on unsigned streets."

The city says all other parking restrictions remain in effect. 

11,000 PARKING TICKETS ISSUED IN THREE WEEKS

Ottawa Bylaw officers issued fewer tickets during the last three weeks of 2020, compared to the same period in 20219.

Statistics provided by Ottawa Bylaw to CTV News Ottawa shows 11,159 tickets were issued for parking tickets between Dec. 14, 2020 and Jan. 3, 2021.

Ottawa Bylaw says 4,525 tickets were handed out to illegal parkers between Dec. 14-20, 2,127 tickets between Dec. 21-27 and 4,507 tickets from Dec. 28 to Jan. 3.

In comparison, Bylaw officers issued 12,341 tickets between Dec. 14, 2019 and Jan. 3, 2020.