Retailers now fear the lockdown will stretch beyond January 11. If so, they are calling for street (or drive-by) pickup for non-essential items, a business practice still banned in Quebec, unlike in Ontario.
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“In all likelihood, and given the evolution of the pandemic figures, the probabilities are strong that the government will announce the extension of the current confinement”, admitted Jean-François Belleau, director of government relations at the Retail Council of Canada .
This is obviously not what the industry wants. But should Public Health decide so, it reiterates the importance of allowing retailers to offer U-Pick for goods deemed non-essential.
“I think we should have this flexibility, drive-thru picking is just a matter of common sense,” says Jacques Tanguay, VP. and Managing Director of the Ameublements Tanguay chain. “We already have the right to deliver parcels to customers’ homes […]. I think in a lot of cases pick-up [ou sur rue] is much more secure. ”
Since December 25, most retailers in Quebec have been required to remain closed. Only the sale of essential items, such as food, medicine, building materials (for repair), among others, is still permitted.
This confinement was to end on January 11. Given that the health situation seems to be deteriorating, the government is now expected to postpone the date for lifting this trade lockdown.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business also believes that on-street customer pick-up should be permitted. In a letter sent to Prime Minister François Legault on December 17, the organization requested it.
“If outdoor gatherings of eight people are allowed […] and if some businesses can continue to offer pickup, such as restaurants or businesses deemed essential, why deprive our small neighborhood businesses of this possibility? […] ? »Wrote its Quebec vice-president, François Vincent.
The CEO of the Quebec Retail Council, Stéphane Drouin, thinks no less. In addition to allowing merchants to continue to derive a minimum of income from their activities, he believes that pickup by car or curbside would allow everyone to save on delivery costs, which are sometimes high.
The vice-president of Ameublements Tanguay recalls that the new confinement has “major impacts” on his company which has 12 stores and nearly 1,000 workers.
“By respecting the sanitary rules, he continues, I think that the picking (on the street or in the car) would be an excessively reasonable thing”, as well “for the retailers as the consumers”.