SAULT STE. MARIE -- Some small business owners in Sault Ste Marie want the Doug Ford government to return to the regional reopening model that was in place before the latest province-wide lockdown.

While big box stores are open for in-store shopping during the lockdown, many small businesses are restricted to curbside pickup, which they say is greatly affecting their ability to operate.

“Small businesses across Ontario have not been linked with one outbreak so far,” said Angela Caputo, owner of the Breakfast Pig. “We follow very strict and stringent guidelines and we want people to remain safe. We want our business to be open.”

Kristina Koprash, owner of Krush Clothing Boutique, said the absence of in-store shopping is having a big impact on her bottom line.

“Luckily we do have an online store that keeps a little bit of revenue and allows me to have one employee stay on,” said Koprash. “But besides that … sales are down.”

She said sales are down by much as 70 per cent, adding financial aid from the province is not enough to cover her losses.

Meanwhile, Caputo is calling on Sault Ste Marie MPP Ross Romano to bring up the issue of regional reopening with the premier. She has also reached out to Sault Ste. Marie Mayor Christian Provenzano, who said he will bring up regional reopening with Romano the next time they speak.