Convenience store workers are to be included in a new plan for Phase 2 vaccinations in Ontario.
Ontario is aiming to offer first COVID-19 vaccine doses to all eligible residents by June 20th, the province said Friday, as it laid out more specific plans for the next priority groups in the rollout.
The announcement came after Health Canada approved a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, which means that vaccinations can happen more quickly based on supply.
During today's announcement, Premier Doug Ford said, “The light at the tunnel is a little bit brighter. I want to thank the front-line workers...you are absolutely amazing.”
In a statement, the Convenience Industry Council of Canada (CICC) thanked Premier Doug Ford and the Ontario Government for recognizing the essential role of the convenience industry who have kept deliveries of goods on schedule and stores open.
Convenience stores were deemed essential in the early days of the pandemic and stayed open, even during the uncertain initial days and weeks of the pandemic, to meet the needs of Canadians. The CICC has been encouraging governments to include c-stores with other essential retailer works in their vaccination rollout plans.
“At CICC, we have worked hard to ensure the work of our members – their commitment to meeting all standards while also serving their customers – was understood and seen by the government. Today’s announcement helps validate the critical role our members and their teams have played and ensures their ongoing safety and protection," Anne Kothawala, president and CEO of CICC said in a statement. “Throughout the pandemic, convenience stores and gas stations have taken on an increasingly central role providing Ontarians with basic goods. Across large urban centres and in the most remote towns, our members’ warehouse, transportation and store services have been there to serve the people of Ontario. Like all essential workers, they remained open while adhering to government guidelines and often putting their own health at risk to serve the people in their communities.”