Small biz faces ‘rocky’ opening without help: Horwath

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The Ontario government should provide a safe restart fund for small businesses to help them welcome back customers, Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says.

Coffee shops, hair salons and restaurants are the type of businesses that must invest in infection prevention, yet they will have to operate with capacity limits, she said.

“We want a fund that will help support those small businesses,” Horwath said Monday. “We keep hearing from a number of different sources in the business world that it’s going to be touch and go for a lot of businesses, even once they’re able to reopen. If they don’t get the supports they need, they may not be able to keep their doors open.”

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A fund that helps small businesses purchase items they need to keep customers and staff safe would help them get over the “rocky first couple of weeks of reopening,” she said.

NDP MPP Wayne Gates called on the government to consider a tax credit that would reimburse Ontario residents who visited local attractions and restaurants, she said.

  1. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.

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  2. A classroom.

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  3. Ontario Premier Doug Ford puts his mask back on after speaking in his daily briefing at Rouge Valley Hospital in Toronto on March 22, 2021.

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“Let’s face it, our businesses have been closed longer than anywhere else around the country, and we’ve had longer, deeper lockdowns because Doug Ford actually walked us into the third wave, and caused all kinds of unnecessary strife, for business owners and for workers all around the province,” Horwath said.

aartuso@postmedia.com

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