Hudson’s Bay is going to court in its fight against the COVID-19 lockdown in Canada.
Today, the company revealed that it has asked a judge in an Ontario court to review the current regulations governing nonessential retail across Toronto and Peel in its home country of Canada. In an effort to contain the surge in new infections, Ontario Premier Doug Ford this morning extended COVID-19 emergency orders as part of the province’s Reopening Ontario Act through Jan. 20.
“On behalf of thousands of large and small retailers in Toronto and Peel, we have been left with no choice but to ask the court to recognize the unfairness of the current situation and the need for a fair and evidence-based solution that puts health and safety first and doesn’t jeopardize the livelihoods of thousands of retail workers or the future of many businesses,” Hudson’s Bay wrote in a statement.
Last week, the retailer signed an open letter, along with 46 other businesses, to advocate for a 25% capacity limit on all retailers across the province “as a means to achieving better public health outcomes with less economic fallout and unfairness.” With the reinstated lockdowns, many businesses — including department stores like Hudson’s Bay — were forced to temporarily shut down, while grocery chains and big-box retailers that sold essential goods have been permitted to continue operations.
What’s more, according to the company, Ontario government’s health data showed that shoppers are not contributing to the spread of the novel coronavirus “in any significant way” and that funneling more shoppers into fewer, increasingly crowded stores — particularly during the holidays — potentially increases the risk of contracting COVID-19.
“The government’s approach is unreasonable and unfair, does not support our shared public health objectives and is causing undue stress and hardships to thousands of retail employees and businesses across the region,” Hudson’s Bay added. “The situation is dire and untenable for thousands of retailers, but it’s not too late for the government to make a better decision for Ontario, the local economy, public health and the millions of citizens who live or work in Toronto and Peel.”
In a statement today, Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said, “Safeguarding the health and well-being of Ontarians remains our top priority at every stage of our COVID-19 response. As we prepare to implement a safe and effective immunization program, extending these orders will ensure tools remain in place to address urgent public health situations until all Ontarians can be vaccinated.”