Poor government planning and uneven restrictions during the third wave have allowed big box stores to profit without penalty and forced small and medium businesses to close. PC Leader Tim Houston is calling on the Premier to ensure ‘non-essential’ means the same thing for everyone.
“We have 150 people gathered in Walmart buying non-essential items while two people can’t be in a small business together? That doesn’t make sense,” says Houston. “We need to level the playing field for our small businesses, but the province refuses to support them.”
The PC Caucus has been hearing from small business owners since the restrictions came in. Houston says there is a lack of common sense in rules that even go against their own recommendations.
“The Premier and Public Health have asked Nova Scotians to stop non-essential purchases, but they refuse to stop non-essential sales,” says Houston. “That tells me this isn't about safety. This is about the Premier trying to mask his decision to open up without a plan.”
The government's exposure sites have repeatedly listed big box stores and airports, but as Houston notes, box stores remain open selling nonessential items, and the Premier refuses to test at airports.
While other provinces present plans for the coming months, Nova Scotia continues to lag behind. Targeting a spring election, the Premier loosened restrictions without a plan, triggering a third wave, forcing closures, and crippling small businesses.
“You can’t call small businesses the backbone of our economy while simultaneously calling them non-essential,” said Houston. “This is more important than soundbites in briefings. Rural communities and people’s livelihood are at stake.”