Ottawa small businesses call for additional supports from the Ontario government during the stay-at-home order

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Ottawa's business leaders are issuing an urgent request for additional support for small businesses as Ottawa and Ontario begin a 28-day stay-at-home order.

In a letter to Premier Doug Ford, the Ottawa Board of Trade, BOMA Ottawa (The Building Owners and Managers Association of Ottawa) and the Ottawa Coalition of BIAs say the next 90 days are critical for businesses.

"Our business owners are fatigued from operating in this environment, frustrated with the continuous changes and fearful for their future. Many of them have assumed copious amounts of debt, put their mental and physical health at risk and given up their personal finances which they need to support their families," says the letter.

"Some are forced to use business support funds to cover personal costs in a never ending balancing act. Many businesses had used debt to create or expand their business before COVID, many have continued to accumulate debt to survive during COVID."

A new stay-at-home order begins at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, forcing non-essential businesses to close except for takeout and delivery. Big box retailers may only sell essential items.

The Ottawa Board of Trade, BOMA Ottawa and the Ottawa Coalition of BIAs call on the Ontario government to do the following:

  • Signal the government intends to continue to support the hardest hit businesses with targeted funds until the end of the year or until the full rollout of the vaccinations
  • Address the immediate impact of the shutdowns by providing additional small business grants to take eligible businesses through the next 30, 60, 90 days, depending on how long the shutdown lasts
  • Ensure the current granting program is rolling out effectively by addressing the limiting guidelines for approvals.
  • Expand or advocate federal expansion of programs for rent, wages and utilities.
  • Provide support for living costs of entrepreneurs
  • Advocate for a 90 day, or until herd immunity is achieved, extension and expansion of the payment deferral programs currently offered by financial institutions for personal and business debts

The groups also call on Ontario to advocate for more vaccine supply from the federal government and refine the COVID-19 framework and protocols to allow responsible businesses to operate.

MAYOR WATSON REACTS TO THE STAY-AT-HOME ORDER

Mayor Jim Watson says the Ontario government's decision to impose a 28-day stay-at-home order was a "necessary decision" to protect all residents.

"I was pleased to see that stricter regulations will be imposed on big box stores, limiting their sales to grocery and essential products to avoid the massive gatherings we witnessed over the Easter weekend," said Watson in a statement.

"This move also levels the playing field for small essential retail stores that were put at a disadvantage under past sets of measures."