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Downtown Barrie BIA Responds to Decision to Place Simcoe-Muskoka in Grey/Lockdown Zone

For Immediate Release
Monday, March 1, 2021 (Barrie, Ontario)

On Monday, March 1, 2021, the Downtown Barrie Business Association (BIA) added its voice to the many that are requesting the immediate change of restrictions within the Grey/Lockdown Zone.

In a letter sent to Premier Doug Ford, MPP Doug Downey, MPP Andrea Khanjin and Dr. Charles Gardner, Executive Director Kelly McKenna and Chair Rob Hamilton requested that urgent action take place in order to help alleviate the ongoing restraints on small businesses in Simcoe-Muskoka.

The Downtown Barrie BIA represents over 400 small businesses within its boundary, but knows that these restrictions affect all small businesses within Simcoe-Muskoka. The BIA has championed supporting local businesses since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic with programs, initiatives and campaigns. More effort is required to help alleviate the restraints on small business and the BIA encourages the public to add their names to the thousands on the petition for “Reverse the call to lockdown Simcoe Muskoka” found at change.org.

See the letter sent below.

“Dear Premier, MPPs and Dr. Gardner,

The Downtown Barrie Business Association (BIA) represents over 400 small, independent and hardworking businesses. The recent announcement of Simcoe-Muskoka moving into a third lockdown is devastating. We are requesting that the restrictions within the Grey/Lockdown Zone be immediately revised to allow small businesses who are already adhering to the restrictions and health guidelines, and who pose little to no public health risk, to remain open.

Your swift action can help save a number of small businesses.

With the inconsistency of reported COVID-19 cases and the decision to move our region into another lockdown a mere two weeks after allowing businesses to re-open, many of these businesses now face massive losses after restocking their inventories, onboarding staff and investing massive amounts into over-compliance of health and safety regulations.

The Downtown Barrie BIA and its members understand the delicate balance between ensuring the protection of public health and economic health. Where a clear imbalance lies is with large chain retailers being allowed to stay open while they consistently report cases and have a corporate framework to support them whilst our small businesses whose owners invest their own dollars for over-compliance and who rarely report any cases are faced with these restrictions again.

With urgency, we are requesting that you immediately revise the restrictions within the Grey/Lockdown Zone to allow small businesses with little or no public health risk to remain open.”