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Latest stay-at-home order more fair for small businesses: Aurora mayor

Big box stores can only sell essential items under new lockdown rules
April 8, 2021
Lisa Queen

Aurora Mayor Tom Mrakas, who has been very critical of the provincial government’s COVID-19 lockdown measures, says the new stay-at-home order is fairer on small businesses.

The previous measures gave an unfair advantage to big retailers and wrongly targeted small shops, restaurants and gyms, Mrakas said.

While he said he’s disappointed increasing COVID-19 cases have pushed Premier Doug Ford to issue a stay-at-home order announced April 7, he said he appreciates the approach is closer to an actual lockdown.

"I have maintained that if you are to lockdown, it should be across the board and not penalize a few select businesses," he said.

"This stay-at-home order will be different, as it limits big box stores to just groceries and pharmacies, something that I, along with other mayors, have been asking for -- a level playing field that truly limits any openings to the core essentials."

The next four weeks under the order will be difficult, Mrakas said.

"However, for the continued safety of our residents and to take pressure off the hospitals, we must effectively use this time as communities and as a province to ramp up our vaccinations," he said.

"We are ready at the municipal level with the infrastructure to get the vaccines into as many willing arms as possible. We have clinics, mobile sites and pharmacies ready to go and administer the vaccine, with capacity for much more, but we need our federal government to get us the much-needed supply."

During the stay-at-home order, it’s crucial to get all vulnerable and essential workers vaccinated so when the order expires, it will be the last shut down needed, Mrakas said.