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Ban big box stores from selling non-essential items: Aurora, Newmarket, Georgina mayors

Small Urban GTHA Mayors also include leaders of Stouffville, King, East Gwillimbury, Bradford
Jan. 22, 2021
Lisa Queen

York Region mayors are among those pushing the provincial government to “level the playing field” for retailers by allowing big box stores to sell only essential items during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

The group is also calling on the province to allow small retailers customers in their stores by appointment and/or revisit capacity in local businesses based on square footage.

The requests come from the Small Urban GTHA Mayors, which represents municipal leaders from less populated communities in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas.

That includes Aurora, Newmarket, Georgina, East Gwillimbury, Whitchurch-Stouffville, King Township and Bradford.

The mayors met virtually on Jan. 20 with Deputy Premier and Health Minister Christine Elliott, who is also the MPP for Newmarket-Aurora.

In a statement released following the meeting, the mayors said they shared the concerns of their local businesses, which have been “disproportionately impacted” by the lockdown.

“We hope to see these measures considered at the earliest appropriate time to ensure equality for all businesses,” the mayors said.

The provincial government hasn’t yet made any public commitment supporting the mayors’ requests.

The meeting with Elliott, which also included Southlake Regional Health Centre CEO Arden Krystal, saw the mayors say their communities remain ready to “spring into action” to help roll out providing the vaccine to the general population when that occurs.

“With our facilities currently closed, setup should start immediately so that we will be ready to get our residents vaccinated without delay once supply is available,” the mayors said.

“On behalf of the Small Urban GTHA Mayors, we reaffirm our commitment to our government partners, residents and small businesses and remain committed to supporting and promoting the public health guidelines currently in place and at all times following the data and science.”