A group of Canadian businesses are calling on provincial governments to plan ahead and adopt “stay-open” strategies amid a fourth wave of COVID-19 that many experts warn is already on our doorstep.
In a letter sent to Canada’s premiers, as well as in a newly launched petition, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) outlined several steps to help keep businesses open after more than a year of continued COVID-19 lockdowns across the country.
They called for several supports and guarantees from provinces, including more funding prior to the announcement of restrictions, increased rapid testing and proof of vaccination for travel and large events.
“Our business and our employees cannot afford the financial and emotional toll of further lockdowns or new restrictions,” read the online petition.
“Small businesses need certainty and protection as we work to recover. Additional restrictions and lockdowns need to be a last resort, not a first resort.”
Whether some provinces are expected to head into lockdown or stay open in the midst of a fourth wave is still unknown at this time. Most provinces did not immediately disclose plans for renewed restrictions on businesses following a resurgence of COVID-19, or comment on the CFIB’s petition after requests from Global News.
Businesses call for COVID-19 vaccine passports amid 4th wave fears
A spokesperson from one province, Manitoba, did not specify whether they would set in place new restrictions amid a possible fourth wave of COVID-19, but said that case rates, hospitalizations and vaccination data would be taken into consideration if new public health measures are implemented.
Experts have previously pointed to Canada’s fourth wave, which would be driven by the spread of the Delta variant, as being significantly “different” in comparison to the country’s previous three waves due to the country’s current vaccination rates.
Any significant outbreak of COVID-19 would be among unvaccinated populations or communities, according to experts.
The creation of a passport-style document affirming someone’s vaccination status has also been floated by several individuals and businesses as a way to keep open in the midst of a resurgence of COVID-19, though some provinces — including Ontario and Alberta — have expressed resistance to the idea.
Quebec, however, is now in the process of implementing such a passport.
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CFIB executive vice-president Laura Jones said in a press release Thursday that the last 16 months “have been incredibly hard on small business owners,” both financially and emotionally.
“They can’t take more lockdowns,” she said.
“Provinces have done a good job of putting reopening plans in place, but very few have stated their intention to stay open and released detailed plans on how they will do that.”
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