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Best way to help small business is to ramp up vaccination, Ottawa groups tell province

A letter sent by three Ottawa groups pleads with Premier Doug Ford to re-think his government's approach to the pandemic.
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Ottawa businesses are calling on the Ford government to give immediate support to local owners as the new stay-at-home order comes into effect.

The Building Owners and Managers Association, the Coalition of Business Improvement Areas and the Ottawa Board of Trade came together to send a joint letter to the provincial government requesting that Premier Doug Ford add more support for small businesses as they wait through the new restrictions and delays in distribution of the vaccine, it was reported Wednesday.

According to Sueling Ching, the president and CEO of the Ottawa Board of Trade, if the government doesn’t act now, it will be too late.

“They will not be around by the summer,” Ching told CityNews Ottawa. “We can either figure out how to support them now, or we’re going to end up supporting them as the tax base later and we’ll being nullifying all of the investments we made today.”

The letter, the group said, is a clear and immediate message that the government needs, and will, continue to support them until the end of the year or until the end of the vaccine rollout.

And the best way for the government to help is to eliminate delays by getting those vaccines into the arms of Ontario residents, Ching said.

“The number one thing we need is for all of the levels of government to work together to get more access to more vaccines and to distribute them effectively — and to make sure to clearly communicate what that strategy is so that there’s a horizon for everyone.”

Ching said she and the others realize that the restrictions brought in Wednesday are to help save lives and curtail the spread of the virus — however, without further supports, new restrictions will devastate Ontario’s business community.

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