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Thursday’s application to the court, provided by HBC, called the lockdown restrictions “unreasonable,” “irrational” and “arbitrary.”
HBC took aim at the restrictions that allow certain big-box retailers to remain open for in-store shopping, provided they sell groceries.
“Lockdown regulations have created an absurd result that bears no relationship to the statutory purpose and is causing great harm to retailers deemed ‘non-essential,’” the court filing said. “Costco is open as a big box retailer selling groceries, but continues to sell apparel, toys, home décor products, and small appliances … Wal-Mart, too, is permitted to be open under this exemption, but it devotes significant portions of its floor space to apparel, toys, bath and linen products, cosmetics, and seasonal items.”
The court challenge comes a little more than a week after HBC and 46 other retailers sent a letter to Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott, urging them to relax restrictions to allow non-essential stores to reopen at 25-per-cent capacity.
“The problem is that Ontario’s policy of segregating ‘non-essential’ retailers from those deemed essential might actually be making things worse,” the Dec. 1 letter said. “Shutting down Toronto and Peel hasn’t reduced the number of shoppers.”