The Stittsville Business Association (SBA) wants the province and city to use this time of restaurant closures to come up with a game plan for the local businesses. “The closures are not productive for anyone,” SBA President, Allan Ryan told Stittsville Central.
“There needs to be stronger and stricter enforcement for those who disobey the temporary mask bylaw currently in place,” says Ryan. He cited the recent Elgin Street incident whereby restaurants and bars had to close because of two people who knew they had COVID and entered the establishments. “This was a blatant disregard for the health of owners, staff and patrons with no fines or consequences brought upon the two individuals.” The lack of enforcement with the temporary mask bylaw is a problem expressed by business owners – one or two bad apples take down an entire community. He says, “the businesses that do not follow the rules should be shut down – leave those adhering to the guidelines and being good corporate citizens to remain open”.
With the 28 days of closure forecast, Ryan emphasized strongly that the province and city should take this time to be productive with actions that will concretely assist all local businesses, not just the restaurant sector. There should be clearer guidelines for what actions businesses have to put in place to remain open. Businesses and restaurants are in a precarious position, with various guidelines to be followed from different levels of government, none are truly clear for business owners to follow. If a bylaw is in place, temporarily or not, what is the purpose if people are not going to be disciplined for not following guidelines – the bylaw needs to be enforced to encourage the public to adhere to the rules.
Ryan also questions the accuracy of the data and information being shared with the public.
Ryan and the SBA members have thoughts on how the city can deal with the existing budget issues. “Where has the city attempted to save money – they are first out of the gate to accept funds from both the provincial and federal governments during this pandemic, but with ridership down ninety percent on buses and the O-Train, not one position has been cut. In the private sector positions would have been substantially decreased”. A question Ryan wants answered, “why is the city paying $3,000 per month, at taxpayers expense, for rental rooms for the homeless at a Vanier hotel?“. He feels bad for Ottawa taxpayers when there has been nothing done by the city to mitigate the impact of taxes.
Ryan provides a scenario that would show leadership by the Mayor and city Council – cut office budgets by 20% to be given back to community businesses, along with a cut to the salaries of the Mayor and Councillors to help the taxpayers.
The SBA would like to see the following actions in place for the community and businesses to prosper:
- productive development during the shutdown of defined protocols and policies for all businesses to follow during the pandemic
- development of methods by the City to provide fiscal alleviation for taxpayers
- stronger enforcement of the temporary mask bylaw with fines or other disciplinary action taken
- sound fiscal leadership by the City Council
More than 35 per cent of jobs in Ottawa come from small businesses. In 2016, more than 93 per cent of all businesses located in Ottawa were small businesses. They are the backbone of every community and without the existence of our small businesses what would communities become?
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