Ontario Photographers Letter to MPP
Thank you first of all, for taking the time to email your Member of Provincial Parliament. Taking action by sending them a letter expressing your concern & need for help is a very easy and real way that you can effect change. Look up your MPP online, and then email them this letter or your own version. It takes very little time and could make a huge difference!
Good Morning Mr./Ms. ****,
I’m a local wedding, family & commercial photographer based in **. Due to COVID-19 shutdowns, I have been unable to work since early March. I’m a sole proprietor of a small, seasonally-focused business and I can’t help but feel that my sector has been unfairly left out of the Phase One reopening of Ontario.
Photographers are in a unique position to easily work within the physical distancing & group size limit guidelines, yet we’re still waiting for a go-ahead to open.
You can imagine our frustration watching golf courses open and retail businesses inviting shoppers inside when we can’t yet photograph a couple or a small family outdoors even with proper physical distancing measures in place. We have clients who’ve had to cancel their weddings and want to elope (and can legally still get married) but can’t have professional photos of the occasion. We have a backlog of families waiting for portraits that have been pushed back for months. We have commercial businesses who are trying to re-open online but who don’t have marketing content that they rely on us for. While we could safely work with the guidelines for social distancing our hands are tied.
The reopening of parks and allowance of groups of up to 5 to gather has made it so hobby photographers may legally photograph their friends and family, and even commercial projects for free – which shines a light on the issue even further. This tells us that it is not the act of photography that is illegal, but the profiting from this service that is.
Many photographers earn the majority of our income between Spring and Fall, so after having been out of regular work all winter this closure came at a very difficult time. While we were in full support of the closure to flatten the curve, we are now asking to be considered in the first phase of reopening along with many other seasonal businesses.
Several of us have called the Stop The Spread Business hotline and are being given a variety of different directives on whether or not we are allowed to open. The general consensus has been “No, you’re not officially on the list but we don’t really know.” We are asking for clear, written, and fair guidelines from the Province so that we can confidently operate our businesses within safe and legal guidelines.
I would truly appreciate a response on this as many of us are truly struggling not only with the financial repercussions but also with feeling abandoned by our Leadership. The reopening plans from the Province are so vague that it’s hard to see light at the end of the tunnel. You may also be interested in having a look at the petition that has been started – it’s gained a lot of traction in just a short time! At this time the petition has nearly 10,000 signatures. If you would be willing to consider our stance and bring this issue to Queens Park it would make a huge difference for our businesses.
Thank you in advance for your time!
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