‘Essential’ big box stores are allowed to sell ‘non-essential’ items while small businesses are forced to shut down. That’s the reality in Nova Scotia, where the government is picking winners and losers. PC MLA Karla MacFarlane says Premier Rankin’s failure to plan is destroying small businesses across Nova Scotia.
“We want to see a level playing field,” says MacFarlane. “Too many small rural businesses have been screaming from the rooftops for help, only to be ignored by Iain Rankin. There’s little support and empathy from the new premier.”
Current rules surrounding ‘non-essential’ businesses don’t allow them to open for in-store shopping or one customer, all while Walmart can have hundreds. Some are opening, most are closed. Curbside sales or online simply do not work for many. One has to ask: where is the common sense?
Eva Sutherland and Kayla Sutherland, owners of Ahead of Hair and Seaside Treasure Trove in Pictou County, are just asking for fairness.
“There is a double standard,” says Eva Sutherland. “We cannot have one person in our store for even a private shopping session or we will be fined, but businesses considered “essential” are allowed to have customers shop all of their products.”
The limited government support so far, is a drop in the bucket.
“We have to work way harder to make less money, while still being expected to pay all of our bills and taxes,” says Kayla Sutherland. “This lockdown is more difficult than last time because there is less being done for small businesses.”
With COVID-19 cases rising across the country and the variant already in Nova Scotia, Premier Rankin loosened restrictions and opened borders in early April. He did not present a reopening plan, and because of that, businesses are getting swallowed up by ‘big box.’
“The government likes to call small businesses the backbone of our economy, but they have done nothing to treat them like it,” says MacFarlane. “I’m disappointed in Premier Rankin.”