Houston: What are businesses supposed to do?

Businesses can't be given certainty for what 2021 will bring, but they don't need to be unnecessarily left in the dark about government’s plans and expectations either, says PC Leader Tim Houston.

“The vast majority of Nova Scotia businesses are adhering to COVID-19 restrictions,” says Houston. “It’s time for the McNeil Liberals to work with these businesses on a multi-phased restriction system like in New Brunswick and PEI, with predictable triggers so that business owners can understand how case numbers will affect their operations.”

The Halifax Chamber of Commerce has also expressed their support for the phased approach to health restrictions and has called on the government to introduce this type of system. While the media has repeatedly asked if Nova Scotia would follow PEI and New Brunswick’s lead on a colour-coded phased system, the government has stressed that it will continue to take a short-notice approach to communications.

Houston says that it is only predictability and clarity that business owners are asking for, and nobody wants to undercut government flexibility.

“Every time COVID restrictions are changed there is a period of confusion where clarifications have to be made, and business owners feel that impact,” says Houston. “Restaurants need this information so they can purchase food and schedule staff. It’s very difficult for a business to re-stock and reopen overnight.”

In October, the government indicated that they were working on a phased approach that involved meetings with the Chambers of Commerce, but nearly three months later, there appears to be no progress.

“As we approach the Holiday season and the new year, I’m calling on the government to give businesses, and Nova Scotians, the gift of predictability and finally implement a phased approach to health restrictions, as we’ve seen in our neighbouring provinces,” says Houston.