Today should have been the day when the Ontario government announced that the province passed the 75 per cent double vaccination target and would be lifting remaining COVID-19 capacity restrictions for our gyms, dance studios, concert halls, wedding venues, and indoor recreational businesses. Instead, we are marking yet another occasion of government once again extending restrictions.
As health officials signal higher case counts for the fall, many of these businesses are left wondering if they will ever be allowed to begin their recoveries. We urge the government to reconsider this decision and give these businesses a fighting chance to survive. If 75 per cent of the eligible population being vaccinated is not enough to open more than half the lanes in a bowling alley, what threshold will be?
The events, fitness and recreation industries have been among the hardest hit in the province during the pandemic. Since March 2020, they have never been fully open. Since the government chose to continue indefinitely with restrictions that cut businesses in half, they must provide immediate additional financial support to cover 100 per cent of related losses for all affected businesses.
Despite 70 per cent of businesses being fully open across the province, only 34 per cent are at or above their normal revenue levels for this time of year. The ongoing capacity restrictions will spell the end for many businesses if they persist. We continue to urge Ontario to release a “Stay Open” plan that will allow businesses to continue to operate fully and with confidence throughout the coming fall and winter.
Dan Kelly, President and CEO
Ryan Mallough, Senior Director of Provincial Affairs, Ontario
Julie Kwiecinski, Director of Provincial Affairs, Ontario