Province-wide restrictions have forced businesses, like personal care services and most gyms, to remain closed. Other businesses, like non-essential retailers, have limited themselves to door-to-door and online sales.
“I am really concerned that we are at the breaking point,” said Dan Kelly, President and CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.
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He said Ontario’s restrictions are the toughest in North America and provide no timeline for businesses to reopen.
Kelly said he was receiving calls from members asking the lobby to ask companies to reopen against the rules on a predetermined date.
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“It’s not a good idea, but I can understand why businesses are at this breaking point. Their whole livelihood is on the line, ”said Kelly, adding that CFIB as an organization does not support such an initiative.
“There has to be a time when this ends,” said Rohit Wadhawan, a new business owner who opened a restaurant on Queen Street East in Toronto in December 2019.
Wadhawan, a former Walmart Canada executive, runs the Indian Spice Room restaurant, which survives on his take-out and delivery business. He had to close his indoor seats when the pandemic started.
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“It’s been a challenge, it’s been a struggle,” Wadhawan told Global News, echoing the sentiments of many Toronto-area business owners who spoke about the challenges of running a small business in pandemic case.
In the next block is the oldest small business in the Riverside district, located just east of downtown.
The Broadview Beauty Salon is located on Queen Street East. Opened in 1964 by George Iliades, the shop now only caters for men’s haircuts.
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Iliads still cut their hair at the store six days a week – at least until pandemic restrictions make that impossible. He said he wanted to get home as soon as possible.
“It stresses me out: why should I be away from my store for so many months,” Iliades told Global News in an interview outside his home.
He said he was disappointed that it appears the Ontario government is delaying the reopening even further.
Kelly said there was no reason why businesses like barber shops shouldn’t be able to reopen immediately on a limited basis, especially as the province is providing COVID-19 rapid test kits. to operators.
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Meanwhile, Iliades said he would be back to work as soon as he was allowed to do so. He visits the store once a week and meets customers on the street.
Many have said that they are getting their partners’ hair cut, which is not good for future business if they do not return to his store.
“You are losing customers all the same,” Iliades said.
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