Today, Charla Robinson, President of the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce released the following statement in response to the Government of Ontario’s decision to put the Thunder Bay District into the Grey-Lockdown level.
“This lockdown will be devastating for many small businesses. Unfortunately, like so many others who have been impacted by COVID-19, the small business owners I’ve spoken with have been discouraged by a cycle of promised help that doesn’t come.
“Many of our small businesses are still waiting for the financial support that was promised by the Premier in December. Our calls for stronger testing and tracing systems to control virus spread have largely gone unanswered.
“Clear and consistent restrictions and health protocols remain elusive as businesses are being shut down or forced to significantly change their service model based solely on the products and services they offer. The current system favours large department stores and online retailers over locally-operated small businesses.
“We are frustrated in the knowledge that this surge was preventable. For weeks, local leaders have been pleading for urgent support from the province to address an outbreak in our homeless population. This week we are seeing our worst fears realized as the outbreak has spread across the community…closing schools and stretching hospital resources to the limit.
“Public health and economic health are closely linked – until we get this health crisis under control, we will not have a healthy business climate. We need help to suppress the flames of COVID in our city – we need the province to step up with resources for our health unit and social services community and we need every citizen to diligently follow the rules to stop the spread.”