The Quebec and Ontario Governments recently entered lockdown, which is expected to be extended beyond the current date for Quebec later today and possibly for Ontario after its current end date for lockdown of January 28, 2021. Other Provinces with increasing Covid-19 cases may consider doing something similar going forward.
There continues to be some confusion over what manufacturing and retail outlets will be permitted to continue operations. As with the lockdown last Spring, manufacturing is expected to continue, especially for ‘essential services’ per the designation provided by the Federal Government, specifically Public Safety Canada’s designation of paint and coatings as an essential service, as follows:
“Public Safety Canada included the coatings industry under essential services, as follows: “Workers who support the supply chain of building materials from production through application/installation, including cabinetry, fixtures, doors, cement, hardware, plumbing, electrical, heating/cooling, refrigeration, appliances, paint and coatings, and employees who provide services that enable repair materials and equipment for essential functions.”
CPCA and its members expect that retail operations for paint will also be permitted to operate as per the first lockdown, with limited services for curbside pickup or delivery along with the appropriate accommodations for health concerns. Governments at all levels permitted hardware stores including stand-alone “paint and coatings” outlets to remain open, as paint retail operations are a subset of hardware store product lines. In fact, the Peel Region confirmed this on December 30, 2020, as it relates to the current Ontario lockdown, following CPCA’s inquiry, as follows:
“Businesses permitted to be open during the Shutdown are outlined in Schedule 2 of Ontario Regulation 82/20. While it is the responsibility of each business to review the regulation and assess whether their business is currently able to operate under the Shutdown restrictions, we offer the following information: While certain retail businesses such as supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, other retailers primarily selling food, and pharmacies, are permitted to be open for in-person shopping, general retail businesses (e.g. all other retail, including hardware stores, pet food stores, computer stores, specialty retailers like paint stores) are permitted to be open for curbside pickup or delivery only (in-person retail shopping is not permitted).”
Regarding the upcoming lockdown announcement in Quebec later today, CPCA reached out to the Quebec Government to remind them of concerns with interpretation of essential services for both hardware and paint stores, as paint is sold in hardware stores, big box stores and other chains, as well as corporate-owned retail paint stores selling paint and related products only. As such, there needs to be a level playing field for paint and coatings in making decisions on what is permitted during a new lockdown. This particular problem has been raised by journalists in Quebec and the government may address it on their website after the announcement later today, which CPCA will carefully monitor and report on and take action as may be necessary.
Generally, in previous press conferences, merchants have been told to inquire as to the reason a customer wishes to buy an article and then make a judgement as to whether or not it is for an essential service. That in itself raises concerns and CPCA will assist in making that determination, if necessary, so that it is consistent Province-wide in each jurisdiction and, more importantly, supports a level playing field for all retailers.