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Statement in Response to the Government of Ontario’s decision to put the Simcoe/Muskoka District into the grey-lockdown level

Sunday, February 28, 2021


Today, Todd Tuckey, President of the Barrie Chamber of Commerce and Paul Markle, Executive Director, released the following statement in response to the Government of Ontario’s decision to put the Simcoe/Muskoka District into the grey-lockdown level.


“This lockdown will be devastating for many businesses. Unfortunately, like so many others who have been impacted by COVID-19, the business owners we’ve spoken with have been incredibly discouraged by the inconsistency between reported numbers and decisions made.”

“The Barrie Chamber of Commerce has been in close communication with Mayor Lehman, MPPs Downey and Khanjin, Dr. Gardner, and many local business leaders, asking the important questions that all businesses are looking to have answered. Each of these partners are aware of the critical link between public health and economic health, and the delicate balance that exists in ensuring that both are protected.”

“In addition to the campaigns we have been running to encourage supporting local businesses, the Barrie Chamber is also strongly aligned with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s efforts, with an active seat on the Ontario Vaccination Support Council, and a working partnership with other chambers on a policy to develop new responsible operating protocols that will help manage the way that lockdowns are handled across the province moving forward.“

“We have been working closely with Dr. Gardner, engaging in regular meaningful dialogue with him, bringing the concerns of small businesses forward so that he is more informed on the impact of his decisions and recommendations.”

“We acknowledge that the variant of concern is in our region, and that these measures are being taken to prevent a third wave. However, the current structure of the grey-lockdown restrictions puts some sectors at a significant disadvantage compared to larger department stores and online retailers. This despite the reality that they are in a better position to more strictly adhere to the rules, requirements, and contact tracing protocols to protect their staff, clients, and our community.”

“The small businesses in our region have gone to great lengths to follow provincial directives to reopen safely, often at great personal expense and after a long year of closures and reduced capacity that have significantly diminished their income, savings, and ability to make these investments.”

“The Barrie Chamber of Commerce strongly requests that the province and Dr. Williams implement a modified red zone - one that will maintain the tighter restrictions on capacity in the larger stores where we have already seen outbreaks, and allow restaurants and businesses offering personal services to stay open safely by following the prescribed protocols for safety and tracing, but still allow Dr. Gardner to move quickly should numbers increase to the level that a more restrictive state is necessary.”

“Our community has come together over the past year in so many ways, supporting each other emotionally and financially, and we are all tired. It has been a long and exhausting year for everybody, the vaccine rollout has started, but this is not the time to relax or give up. For this or any other approach to work, we need every business and resident to continue diligently following the rules to stop the spread.”


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