Essex MP calls for federal help for small businesses stuck in Stage One

Chris Lewis, Conservative candidate in the riding of Essex. (Photo courtesy of the Chris Lewis election campaign)

Calls on the federal government to provide small business owners in Leamington and Kingsville with some financial help to survive the pandemic are getting louder.

Essex MP Chris Lewis is the latest to add his voice to the chorus.

The Deputy Shadow Minister for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southwestern Ontario said business owners in the two municipalities are in dire need of financial help to avoid shutting down for good.

“While the rest of the country is gradually reopening, these municipalities have been shut down for months,” he said. “Without the targeted financial support they desperately need, many will have to close permanently.”

Lewis said the decision to keep Leamington and Kingsville in Stage One is reasonable, given the high number of COVID-19 cases in the agri-food sector. Still, the burden of small business owners has become too great to bear.

Soon after the province decided to keep the two municipalities at stage one, while the rest of Windsor-Essex advanced to Stage Two, Leamington Mayor Hilda MacDonald made a similar call.

“Local business owners are hurting, and we share in that frustration, and fear that remaining in Stage One any longer will be catastrophic,” said MacDonald last week.

Small business owners, meanwhile, plan to voice their concerns later Tuesday morning at a news conference at the Carnegie Arts and Visitor Centre in Kingsville.