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Ottawa mayor hoping province clamps down on big box stores selling non-essentials

Mayor Jim Watson feels it's "fundamentally unfair" big box stores can sell non-essential goods through in-stores sales, when small businesses cannot.
2020-09-21 ottawa mayor jim watson masked CK1
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson speaks outside of the Chateau Laurier, September 2020. Chris Kurys/ OttawaMatters.com

With the provincial stay-at-home order coming into effect at 12:01a.m. on Thursday, the Mayor of Ottawa says he appreciates the steps being taken by the Ontario government to address overcrowding within big box stores, but wants to see more done to limit the sale of non-essential items.

Mayor Jim Watson says he would like to see stores such as Walmart and Costco rope off any section not selling essential items.

"I would like to see the province clamp down on big box stores that are using the guise of selling food to sell golf clubs, and furniture and patios, and so on," Watson said. "It's not the time to be going and doing that kind of a shopping."

Watson also finds it "fundamentally unfair" big box stores can sell non-essential products through in-store sales, during a period when small businesses cannot.

The mayor tells CityNews, he feels there is not a significant difference between a curfew and the stay-at-home order coming into effect on Thursday.

"Curfew would still allow people who have to go and work in an essential business to go out and do that, and to go and get groceries for instance," Watson explains.

Meanwhile, he adds the City of Ottawa needs to take steps to address potential overcrowding on the Rideau Canal once it opens and says there is enough space if residents are responsible.

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