Milton Business Owners Protest Against Lockdown Measures

"We've had enough"- Eddie Oliveira

By: Laura Steiner
“It’s not about  the lockdown; it’s not something we’re against.  It’s about the equality of the lockdown,” Jeff Pereira said.  Pererira started the Facebook group #MiltonStrong Support Local Businesses a year ago as a way to promote local businesses who didn’t have a storefront.
A year later he helped organize a protest march against lockdown measures that started Saturday April 3, 2021.  “You can walk down a street like Main St. and go in most of these stores, but you can’t go into a restaurant,” he said.  Restaurants have been restricted to a takeout, and delivery only.  Smaller retail has been limited to 50% capacity with big box stores such as Walmart cut by 25%.
The march started at the corner of James Snow Parkway and Main, winding its way along the north side of Main St.  and ended at Bronte and Main before making its way back up on the south side.  The marchers all obeyed COVID19 protocols including wearing masks.  They blocked parts of the road along the way in order to properly physically distance.
Eddie Oliveira who owns Eddieos, led the protest.  He’s appealing for equality.  “Make it fair.  Either shut the province down.  Or you let adults, grown human beings make decisions.  Still follow your protocols,” he said.  He’s had to let long-time employees go over the last year.  “All we want to do out here is make the statement that everyone’s essential,” he said.  He’s appealing to the province to show data.  “Show me the data that says the restaurants that are causing the problems,” he said. Customers who enter his restaurant have their temperatures taken in addition to the contact tracing required by the Region of Halton.
Jordan Bassett has worked in the restaurant industry for 20 years.  He’s been laid off for 13 months.  He marched in support of the business owners.  “You either go one way, or the other,” he said of the lockdown.  He thinks it too late to lock everything down.  “I don’t believe anyone has a problem with the safety protocols that they have.  It’s just going and out of zones without any notice,” he said.   Before the lockdown Ontario had placed each of the 34 Public Health Units (PHU) on a colour-coded framework from green to grey based on the data concerning COVID-19.   New designations would be announced on a weekly basis.  Halton has never advanced further than red.
Bassett has taken advantage of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).  “That’s all we got.  $2,000 isn’t a lot.  If they truly believed the lockdown, they would put a halt on everything including landlords and banks,” he said. The current lockdown is scheduled to end May 1, 2021.
Ontario is in the midst of the third wave which, is being fueled by COVID19 variants.  The latest modelling data indicates that the UK variant, known as B 117 could be responsible for approximately 50% of the province’s cases.    The province recorded an increase of 2,938 cases today.  Halton Region reports 107 additional cases, with Milton showing an adding  37.  Halton Region’s numbers may be affected by the statutory holiday