‘Deafening silence’: New restrictions in Manitoba will once again impact businesses, chamber of commerce says

WINNIPEG — The head of Winnipeg’s Chamber of Commerce said businesses will once again feel the most impact from new COVID-19 restrictions in Manitoba, and no government help appears to be on the table.

Loren Remillard, president and CEO of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, spoke with CTV Winnipeg immediately after Dr. Brent Roussin announced new restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The new restrictions, which take effect on Sunday and last until May 30, will result in the closures of gyms, fitness centres, and personal services such as barbers. Retail stores, markets, and garden centres may open at 10 per cent capacity, to a maximum of 100 people. Malls are limited to 10 per cent capacity.

“Since day one, business has risen above and beyond public health orders, and has really led the way in taking care of employees, their customers, and our community,” Remillard said. “Unfortunately, what we’re seeing is business being asked to bear the brunt of the impact of decisions that aren’t of their making.”

Remillard said one of the main reasons for community transmission brought up by Roussin on Friday was social gatherings, but said the closures of business do not address the issue.

“It’s very disheartening,” he said. “But what’s even more disheartening is that there is a deafening silence from the government as it relates to aid for those businesses that now have to shut their doors and lay off their employees.”

Remillard added businesses are feeling additional uncertainty when it comes to being allowed to reopen. It’s the third time during the pandemic many businesses have had to close their doors due to public health orders.

“It means maybe perhaps, the doors don’t open when the economy reopens,” he said.

Remillard said he is appreciative of previous help offered, but wants to see significant support from the provincial government for businesses that had to close due to the restrictions.

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