The executive director of the Bank Street BIA says as long as 'Freedom Rally' protesters continue to occupy Ottawa's downtown core, businesses are going to be left in a complete state of limbo.
While congestion has been an issue for some trying to get to work, others are too scared to work, even if they could get there, says Christine Leadman.
"Businesses have really just shut right down because they don't want to be harassed or abused, or the staff assaulted because they're wearing a mask and they're required to request masks being worn in their businesses," Leadman told the Rob Snow on Saturday, February 12. "Yelling and screaming on the street, obscenities, yelling at people, you know, if they happen to be walking by with a mask, that type of thing."
Leadman goes on to say the demonstrations are having a devastating impact on downtown businesses, more than at any point during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I had one business specifically say to me, he has done worse than when we had the complete lockdown – he lost more business during these two weeks than he had in a full lockdown."
Leadman says another complication is the confusion among protesters themselves, and what the 'Freedom Rally' really stands for.
"The people on the Hill who think, ‘oh we're just here to, you know, talk about vaccines and masks and whatever,’ they are just pawns in a big play here. They're being manipulated by this alt-right political agenda," Leadman said. "They're there to de-stabilize the democratic society and our economy."
You can listen to the full interview with Christine Leadman here.