Some local businesses report having a hard time figuring out what steps they need to take to meet health and safety expectations. Others less so.
Several business owners have reached out to Barrie 360, representing different sectors including daycare, entertainment, and dining, and they say they’re still unsure of the rules and regulations, or the steps required to meet them. Some say they’re unsure of what they’re allowed to ask of their customers, others are unsure of the restrictions they’re permitted to put on employees.
Ontario Minister of Finance Rod Phillips was recently in Barrie to visit some local businesses, and he told Barrie 360 he can understand the confusion. “We understand starting a $750 billion economy, there’s going to be some bumps and one of the things that employers are looking for is to make sure that they know what they’re supposed to do. So that’s why our Ministry of Labor has put out over 100 sets of guidelines.”
The province has filled a page with general information for businesses, including on financial aid, WSIB payment deferrals, and guidance on emergency leave for employees during and after the pandemic. Above and beyond that, Queen’s Park has also released sector-specific guides for everything from manufacturing and agriculture to food services and retail.
“That gives guidance, it could be 15 or 20 points just to help whether it’s a nail bar or a hair salon,” continued Phillips. “It helps them lay out what’s necessary for them to do and they can take that guidance and if they have questions they can call.” Phillips pointed out business owners or operators can call the province’s Stop the Spread hotline at 1-888-444-3659 if they have questions not covered by the online guidebooks.
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While some local businesses claim there are gaps in their COVID-19 knowledge, Minister Phillips said he saw others doing well despite the pandemic. He pointed to Molded Precision Components (MPC), a local company he toured while in Barrie that was able to retool to turn out medical equipment. So much so, MPC was recently able to commit to donating 25,000 face shields to local businesses as the economy reopens.
“I think in general, I mean, our business community is really resilient and they really want to get back to business and they’re doing it in a safe way,” added Phillips.