Ontario Small Businesses Turn To Controversial Stunts As Lockdown Begins

TORONTO — Business owners in Toronto are turning to stunts and dramatic measures in an effort to stay afloat amid renewed lockdown measures put in place by the Ontario government to combat the growing spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Storefronts in the Roncesvalles Village neighbourhood of Toronto were wrapped in brown paper marked with “for lease” messages as part of a campaign to warn residents that local independent businesses are in peril.

The campaign, launched by the Roncesvalles Village Business Improvement Area, aims to encourage the support of local small businesses over online retail giant or big box stores such as Costco and Walmart, which are not subject to the same lockdown restrictions.

In the Etobicoke area of the city, Adamson Barbecue decided to open for indoor dining, drawing crowds to the restaurant on Tuesday afternoon.

The barbecue joint’s move comes after politicians and public health officials banned indoor dining in the city and demanded businesses selling non-essential goods in Peel Region and Toronto close their doors and only operate through delivery and curbside pickup.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business estimated earlier in the year that 160,000 businesses across the country may permanently close due to COVID-19. It now believes that number could climb all the way to 225,000 if restrictions persist.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.


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