Here in Ontario and across the country, we are moving into the next stages of re-opening of our economy. Some provinces are proceeding faster than others. There appears to be somewhat of a race to see which province can get open as quickly as possible, when compared to it’s neighbors.
The problem though it seems the reopenings are moving too fast for people to catch up. In B.C. surveys have shown that workers in restaurants and small businesses are unsure about their safety as the province contemplates moving into stage 3. Anecdotally, here in Ontario I’ve noticed major retailers, notably Canadian Tire, have regressed in their COVID-19 policies. Gone is their curbside pick up, now forcing customers to wander into crowded stores to pick up items they’ve ordered online.
All of this happening at a time where we are still working hard to get a handle on testing properly to stay on top of this virus. Now is not the time to get complacent as we try to reopen the economy. We in Canada have a front row seat to the disaster that is unfolding south of us in America. A perfect example of the mad rush to reopen the economy consequences be damned. The result is the once greatest nation in history collapsing from the strain of the virus.
If we’re to reopen into a new COVID-19 centric economy and world we need to look forward not backward. New paradigms and parameters surrounding how business is transacted must be understood clearly. Murky and vague prescriptions will not help us in the long term. And waiting for market forces to dictate which businesses succeed and fail may work on paper, but I fear in reality the consequences will be greater spread of the pandemic. Clearly laid out criteria to conduct business must be made by provincial governments. There will not be business as usual going forward. As I’ve said before, we need to rethink how businesses work.
Leadership is needed now more than ever to take charge and lead us out of the pandemic and into a new economy.