“Small Business First” strategy needed to save Manitoba retailers

Winnipeg, November 17, 2020 – In the wake of the Critical Level (red) restrictions placed on businesses across Manitoba on November 12th, and to ensure fairness in the application of critical services rules, CFIB is calling on the Government of Manitoba to implement a “Small Business First” COVID-19 Retail Policy to help small retailers safely salvage the remainder of the holiday season. 

“We’ve already heard from dozens of concerned small retailers who feel the new restrictions have created an unfair advantage for many big, multi-national corporations,” said CFIB president Dan Kelly. “The province needs to fix this imbalance immediately and rely on small businesses as part of the solution to help keep Manitobans from gathering in large groups.”

Manitoba "Small Business First" COVID-19 Retail Policy
To ensure fairness in the application of critical service rules, CFIB recommends the following additional measures to ensure small retailers can safely serve a limited number of customers. These measures can co-exist with the current rules allowing some critical goods retailers to remain open with 25 per cent capacity. 

CFIB recommends that the Government of Manitoba:

  • Allows all non-essential small retailers to open to in-store sales, but with very limited capacity for customers and public-facing staff;
  • Limits customers to three per store for a fixed time for personalized shopping;
  • Limits the store to three public-facing staff to help customers shop as efficiently as possible from a safe distance;
  • Encourages prebooking appointments, to avoid long lines outside the store;
  • Still encourages customers to shop by curbside pickup or delivery as preferred means.

“This round of closures has been devastating for small businesses, none more so than those in the retail sector,” added Jonathan Alward, CFIB’s director, prairie region. “While the province also needs to clearly define which businesses are ‘critical,’ we believe a Small Business First policy can help many retailers survive, while reducing community spread of COVID-19 if all Manitobans buy in.” 

For media enquiries or interviews with Dan Kelly, CFIB’s President, please contact Milena Stanoeva, Manager of Public Affairs, at 647-464-2814 or email public.affairs@cfib.ca.

To arrange an interview with Jonathan Alward, CFIB's director, prairie region, please call (431) 998-4498, or e-mail msman@cfib.ca. You can also follow CFIB Manitoba on Twitter at @cfibMB.
About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members (4,800 in Manitoba) across every industry and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at cfib.ca