Barrie Mayor, Chamber of Commerce join up to create online space for small business owners to share their COVID struggles

Facebook page creation comes following local business response to grey zone bump

Barrie’s Mayor wants to hear how hard COVID hit your small business.

In cooperation with the Barrie Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Jeff Lehman has created a Facebook page called Barrie Small Business Stories & Impacts, designed to give businesses an online space to share how the pandemic has affected them. The page’s creation comes following local outcry over Simcoe-Muskoka’s recent bump up to the grey zone for a week.

“Last week we saw so many small businesses speak up about the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on their businesses, and particularly so-called “non-essential” businesses, personal services, and so forth,” said Lehman via a video posted to the page. “You told your story so well; I was so impressed by the videos that were posted to Instagram, the written posts, the long posts that were here (on Facebook).”

Among the first posts to the newly created Facebook page was a video from Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman encouraging small business owners to share their stories

“We wanted to create this page so that you can upload some of those videos or write a post here to advocate for how you think we should change, or the province should change the restrictions on small businesses. Tell us how you can operate safely tell us the impact of COVID-19 restrictions,” he continued.

Lehman says the submissions made to the new Facebook page will be shared among the decision-makers within the province.

Simcoe-Muskoka was moved from the red to the grey tier of the province’s COVID-19 framework after just 13 days out of an Ontario-wide stay-at-home order. The move came in response to rising instances of a COVID-19 variant, the so-called B.1.1.7. variant which spreads faster than traditional COVID. The region was moved back into red after just a week, not only in response to leveling variant numbers, but also significant outcry among the business community, including a petition that garnered over 12,000 signatures in one weekend.