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Clarence-Rockland council wants the provincial government to guarantee fair play competition between small businesses and larger stores during the pandemic. Large department stores that in- clude groceries as part of their inven- tory are allowed to open their doors to customers because they fall under the provincial government’s essential services category for retailers during UIF MPDLEPXO#VUDPVODJM JTIFBSJOH complaints about those same stores allowing customers to also purchase non-essential items like furniture or home electronics. Mayor Guy Desjardins noted that this means unfair competition for small businesses classed as “non-essential” because those are the only items they sell. Those businesses are limited to offering curbside pickup or home delivery of their goods to customers who have to phone ahead or go online to place orders. He noted there is a public health concern involved because people are encouraged to ignore the government’s demand that people stay at home except when shopping for es- sentials like groceries. “If they (larger stores) want to sell groceries, that’s fine,” said Mayor Des- jardins during a phone interview about the issue. “Otherwise, they should cordon off the other areas.” During the open discussion portion of their February 1 session, Clarence- Rockland council members reviewed a proposal for a resolution to send to Premier Doug Ford concerning the unfair advantage some larger stores have over local small businesses during the lockdown. Council wants the provincial govern- ment to either impose stricter controls on big-box and discount stores that offer groceries for sale or else allow small businesses to operate under the same conditions as the larger department- type stores. That includes limiting the number of customers inside at any one time to one-quarter of the store’s capac- ity and to make sure everyone inside wears a mask, sanitizes their hands, and maintains a two-meter distance between each other. During the February 1 session, councillor Sam Cardarelli read out a statement from Karl Parent, president of the Clarence-Rockland Chamber of Commerce, asking council’s support in lobbying for fair-trade competition for small businesses. “We believe it’s time that we look at keeping our local economy healthy during these uncertain times,” stated Parent. “Protocols are in place to keep larger corporations open but the same should apply to our smaller businesses. “The federal and provincial govern- ments are doing their best, but we should step up and think about what is best for our community. Procedures are in place and it will be up to the business owners and citizens to oblige by them.”

Le conseil municipal de Clarence-Rockland et la chambre de commerce souhaitent que le gouvernement provincial garantisse et fasse respecter la concurrence «équitable» des petites entreprises face aux grands magasins et aux magasins à prix réduits. Ces magasins peuvent rester ouverts pendant la pandémie car ils proposent des produits d’épicerie à la vente aux clients. Le problème est que ces magasins peuvent aussi vendre des articles non essentiels, au détriment de plus petites entreprises. —photo d’archives A provincial government announce- ment this week indicated some pos- sible changes to the present lockdown restrictions on businesses but Mayor Desjardins still thinks council should send the premier a message in case another lockdown occurs because of a rise in COVID-19 cases. “If we should fall back,” Mayor Desjardins said, “I want to make sure we do get the same rules for all businesses.” PETER LOAN DINING & CATERING Ouvert du lundi au vendredi de 11 h à 7 h Le brunch du dimanche De 8 h à midi Vérifiez nos plats du jour LE CHEF PETER N’UTILISE QUE DES INGRÉDIENTS FRAIS. SES VIANDES SONT PRÉPARÉES SUR PLACE.

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