Some Kingston retailers staying open on Easter weekend thanks to city bylaw

Click to play video: 'Downtown Kingston store stays open on Stat holiday'
Downtown Kingston store stays open on Stat holiday
WATCH ABOVE: Businesses along Princess Street have the option to stay open on stat holidays like the Easter long weekend ever since the city decreed downtown Kingston a tourist area – Apr 1, 2018

Kingstonians out strolling along Princess Street may have noticed some shops open for business this Easter long weekend.

Stores in the area have had the option to stay open for business on stat holidays since a bylaw was passed in April 2016 declaring downtown Kingston a tourist area, exempting nearby businesses from the Retail Business Holiday Act throughout the year.

Steve White, the owner of End of the Thread Antique Emporium on Princess St., decided to take advantage of the exemption this holiday weekend.

“My son’s in town, so we just figured we’ll open up the store,” he explained. “We don’t have staffing today — we’re just doing it ourselves.”

READ MORE: Push to repeal York Region bylaw allowing stores to open on Family Day, statutory holidays

White noted he doesn’t push his other employees to work on stat holidays. “As long the staff are given a choice — you have to respect your staff and their family situations,” he said.

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The recent provincial minimum-wage hike also factors into that decision, he said.

“The cost of employing people [at] one-and-a-half times [their rate] plus stat holiday pay, plus the new increase in wages, you have to sell a lot of goods just to pay the staff,” he noted.

Though it’s been a few years since the bylaw was passed, opinions are still mixed from retailers and shoppers alike.

READ MORE: York region council votes to allow shopping 364 days a year

“I’m actually really glad this is open on Easter,” shopper Andrea Salamanta said. “I mean, a lot of places aren’t open.”

“It’s nice that they’re open, but people shouldn’t have to work [on holidays],” countered Paula Wycott.

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