General News

December 11, 2020

Burlington City Council and Team Burlington seeks fairness for local businesses during COVID-19

Burlington, Ont. — Dec. 11, 2020 — Burlington City Council has unanimously approved a motion asking the provincial government to make changes to business restrictions to increase fairness for smaller businesses during the pandemic closures and restrictions.

The resolution is asking the province to level the playing field for small retailers forced to close while big box stores selling the same goods can remain open – so long as they sell food or other essential items. The resolution also asks that capacity limits be based on square footage of a venue, not a hard cap. This would also increase fairness among smaller and larger businesses.

The resolution was developed in partnership with the Burlington Economic Recovery Network (BERN) and Team Burlington, which includes representatives from Tourism Burlington, Burlington Economic Development, Burlington Chamber of Commerce and two business improvement areas – Aldershot Village BIA and the Burlington Downtown Business Association. Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith sit on the BERN and worked together to bring the resolution forward.

The BERN chair Randall Smallbone and Mayor Meed Ward have co-signed a letter to the Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, the Honorable Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, the Honorable Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, MPPs Jane McKenna, Effie Triantafilopoulos and Parm Gill, Halton Regional Council, AMO, Ontario Big City Mayors (OBCM), Burlington Economic Recovery Network (BERN) and Team Burlington. The letter includes a copy of the resolution and reinforcing the call for fairness for Burlington businesses.

Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith and Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna will be working together to bring a similar resolution to Regional Council for endorsement. Both councillors own businesses in Burlington, and Councillor Bentivegna has a long history in the hospitality industry.

Burlington is ranked as Canada’s best community and best place to raise a family. It is a City where people, nature and businesses thrive. As residents continue to rediscover many of their favourite spaces and activities in the city, City services may look different as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19. The City’s commitment to providing the community with essential services remains a priority. Sign up to learn more about Burlington at and download the free City of Burlington app.

For more information about the Burlington Economic Recovery Network, visit


Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

“We can maintain public health and safety and do better to ensure fairness among our large and smaller businesses, which are the engine of our economy. It makes no sense that a large big box store can sell goods smaller retailers can’t. It makes no sense that the same store can have hundreds of people inside while a large restaurant is capped at 10 regardless of size and ample ability to ensure physical distancing. We hope the government will make the necessary changes that will both protect public health and our local businesses.”

Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith

“We as decision makers need to balance the recommendations of public health while protecting our local economy.  Small business is the engine of our economy and will be relied upon as recovery efforts from the pandemic continue.  They have greater ability to put in place, public health measures to protect their clients and we feel that they should be given equal opportunities to do so without the threat of closure.  Large retailers that are permitted to remain open during lockdowns, have been given an unfair competitive advantage due to their variety of offerings when considering what businesses are essential.  We need a solution that can work for all businesses by taking into consideration the square footage of their premises.  Hard caps of 10 people permitted indoors does not work for larger restaurants that have the ability to keep people distanced.  Many have not opened due to this restriction and some will never open again.  We need to work together to come up with local solutions that will save many small businesses and hardworking entrepreneurs from insolvency.”

Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna

“As part of the hospitality industry for many years, I understand how every single customer is important for economic success, especially at this time of year. We must do everything we can to help our local restauranteurs and small business owners. They are the heart and soul of our community and these motions can help keep them open for business.”

Randall Smallbone, Chair of the Burlington Economic Recovery Network

“We certainly understand that Canadian Governments at all levels are doing their best to keep citizens safe and healthy during this difficult period. I am so thankful that I live in Burlington, Ontario, Canada!

Unfortunately, safety measures do not always work as a one-size-fits-all solution. Specifically, we need to adjust measures to accommodate a more balanced square footage per person guideline. People need to get out of their homes from time to time to fight pandemic fatigue and mental stress. If all stores and restaurants abide strictly by the rules of mask wearing, sanitization stations and social distancing, it can offer a better alternative to people hosting social gatherings at home.

It is critically important that we support all of our local businesses that support our local economy and employ Burlington citizens.”


BERN letter to province
BERN Resolution to Council



Media Contact

Suzanne Vukosavljevic
Manager of Communications, City of Burlington
Office: 905-335-7600, ext. 7841

Media Contact

Suzanne Vukosavljevic
Manager of Communications, City of Burlington
Office: 905-335-7600, ext. 7841

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