What is an “essential good”? Confusion and Frustration Among Consumers | Coronavirus

All non-essential businesses have been closed from December 25 until January 10. Of those that can remain open, only essential goods are allowed for sale to allow fairness with small Quebec businesses, explained Prime Minister François Legault on December 15.

Since Quebec has not offered an official list, the items available may be very different from one store to another.

However, some guidance has been given. Toys, clothing, books, electronics, decorative items, kitchen items, appliances, furniture and more may not be sold on site or for curbside pickup.

Faced with the difficulty of establishing a complete and satisfactory list and seeing the difficulties encountered in other jurisdictions, it was rather decided to propose criteria and to set guidelines. to leave room for maneuver to traders, explained the Quebec Ministry of Economy and Innovation by email.

Shops authorized to be open from December 25 to January 10

  • Grocery stores and other food stores

  • Pharmacies (only for products essential for everyday life)

  • Hardware stores (only for products required to perform exterior maintenance, repairs or construction)

  • Stations-service

  • Animal feed and supply stores

  • Work equipment shops (safety and protection)

  • Trade in products, parts and other material necessary for transport and logistics services as well as for the repair or maintenance of a vehicle, including vehicle repair and maintenance centers, but excluding the sale of vehicles

The government found it best to have certain differences of interpretation on the essential character of certain products between shops than to provide an incomplete list who would have had to be established and adopted by all traders authorized to maintain their activities.

Traders still hope to obtain more details in the coming days to standardize the offer.

<q data-attributes="{"lang":{"value":"fr","label":"Français"},"value":{"html":"On a reçu plusieurs plaintes de différentes bannières qui disent: listen, we must send new instructions, because the merchants who follow the slogan are facing frustrations from customers “,” text “:” We have received several complaints from different banners that say: listen, new instructions must be sent, because merchants who follow the slogan face frustrations from customers “}}” lang = “fr”>We have received several complaints from different banners that say: listen, we need to send new instructions, because merchants who follow the slogan face frustrations from customers, denounces Richard Darveau, president of the Quebec Association of hardware and construction materials.

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It is still possible to make non-essential purchases online, recalls the ministry, provided that the products are delivered to consumers.

Frustrated consumers

Consumers also disagree on the definition of an essential good. Testimonies of incomprehension abound on social networks since Saturday.

This is the case of a mother of a two month old baby from Saint-Léonard, in Montreal. She wanted to get breastfeeding pads at her neighborhood Walmart, but they were not allowed to.

How can we decide that breastfeeding pads and all products used for breastfeeding are withdrawn from sale, when we can buy packets of crisps? I felt personally attacked, threatened in relation to my role as a mother.

Chloe Maurice

She also judges that the manager was too hard on her.: I don’t want to sell it because it’s 25000 dollars in fine. Then you risk having my whole store shut down. People won’t have any more jobs. “,” Text “:” He said to me: I don’t want to sell any because it’s a 25,000 dollar fine. Then you risk having my whole store shut down. People will have no more jobs. “}}” Lang = “fr”>He said to me: I don’t want to sell it because it’s a $ 25,000 fine. Then you risk having my whole store shut down. People will no longer have jobs.

Inspections are actually planned in shops over the next few days to ensure that only essential goods are sold. Provincial police also have the mandate to apply the health decree and have recently had the power to give statements of offense on the spot.

Clutter on the border of Quebec and Ontario

On the Ontario side, despite the lockdown, big box stores can continue to sell what is in their inventory. Local merchants fear that residents of Gatineau will cross the river to go shopping.

The two regions do not have the same constraints, so it is difficult for business people, admits Jean-François Belleau, director of government relations for the Retail Council of Canada.

Quebec businesses will have to follow these new rules at least until January 11, while Ontario’s lockdown period is due to end on January 23.

With information from Jean-François Poudrier and Mariève Bégin

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