On January 15, 2021, owners of over 30,000 Italian restaurants, gyms and bars opened their doors to the public against the threat of egregious government-imposed lockdown penalties. While mainstream media has avoided covering this story, viral social media videos have indicated that these businesses have overwhelmed the fining capabilities of the limited number of law enforcement officers. This move has also served to shift public opinion on lockdowns and has dramatically influenced Italy's recent decision to 'buck the trend' in Europe by easing restrictions. A recent CTV News article quotes public health expert Walter Ricciardi as saying, "Right now it is extremely difficult to propose stricter measures due to resistance from both politicians and public opinion."
This all began with a social media campaign encouraging businesses to affirm their legal right to operate their businesses. Participating businesses and owners clicked a hashtag which linked to a letter that they voluntarily entered their information into as a public database. The database served as a non-legally binding declaration to the Italian authorities that participating businesses would open effective January 15.
They have done it in Italy, and WeAreAllEssential.ca is doing it here in Canada on February 11th.
Waiting around until current lockdown and stay-at-home measures are lifted (measure which invariably get extended each time) will be too late for many small businesses. The time to act is NOW!
This is our clarion call! A recent retail business report in November 2020 projected that a second round of pandemic lockdowns could see 225,000 small businesses close in Canada. This would be a tragedy of catastrophic and lasting proportions for millions of Canadians. Depending on life support from government handouts is just life support to a dying patient. Canadian small businesses need to open now!