Business group says lockdown loopholes hurt small retailers, benefit big box stores


The head of a business group says lockdown loopholes are emerging as parts of the country step up restrictions to combat COVID-19, allowing some stores to remain open while similar retailers are forced to close.
Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, says only select retailers deemed essential were permitted to remain open during the first wave of lockdowns last spring.
While efforts to expand the definition of an essential retailer or product have helped keep more stores open now, he says most of the retailers that have benefitted are bigger stores.
Kelly says the outcome is an uneven playing field, where a smaller, independent bookshop that only sells books is forced to close while a larger chain that also sells books is open.
But Diane Brisebois, Retail Council of Canada president and CEO, says the suggestion that lockdowns only hurt small retailers is a ``false narrative.''