When the Province of Manitoba announced sweeping shutdowns of businesses and retail stores not deemed an essential service, it had people wondering how well thought out the plan was.
After the premier took a firm stand and aggressively wagged his finger at Manitobans, the government had to modify the list of essential products people could buy in-store because of items that were missing. For example: newspapers.
Yes, we can laugh about the newspaper industry and say it’s dying but the reality is that the older generation relies heavily on newspapers as their information source. People might have a subscription for home delivery, sure, but what about those who like walking to the corner store and buying the paper every day?
Basically, the publication used to deliver the government’s messaging was banned. Premier Brian Pallister goes on long-winded rants about people not heeding the warnings and then prevents them from buying the item that relays the information. They later walked that back because they clearly forgot about certain products.
As I previously wrote, it makes no sense that someone in Manitoba can go to a store and buy vodka or marijuana but not a newspaper.
After I penned that column, I heard from local entrepreneurs. They questioned another part of the shutdown.
While mail is considered an essential service, you can’t go to the store and buy an envelope… that you would mail. For as much as the government is promoting online shopping and encouraging local entrepreneurship, they’re actually making it difficult for those people to operate.
You can go to the post office (that is located inside a store that sells envelopes) and purchase an overpriced envelope there, but not from the store itself. Forget buying a box of basic mailing envelopes at a reasonable price two aisles over, but Canada Post can benefit from the shutdown. (Is the crown corp in cahoots with the provincial government?)
Curb-side pickup and online ordering are available, yes, but again, that older generation that isn’t up to date with shopping trends and technology is likely at a disadvantage.
Furthermore, if it’s looking like Christmas gatherings will be cancelled this year, you’d expect more people to send mail, be it cards or gifts, to loved ones they can’t visit. The government wants us to stay away from each other but forbids us from buying the tools we need to send holiday greetings.
Forget sending grandma that homemade Christmas card from the kids. It’s illegal to buy an envelope. Hell, it’s illegal to buy the crayons and construction paper to make the card.