WATERLOO -- A rally to support Uptown Waterloo businesses is planned for this weekend, but officials are asking people not to gather due to the pandemic.

Bylaw and police said gathering goes against provincial shutdown regulations.

According to a social media post, with the hashtag #WeAreAllEssential, the demonstration is scheduled for Sunday at noon. People are encouraged to bring signs and banners, wear a mask or not and shop where you’re able to.

Social meida post advertisting rally

According to the stay-at-home order issued last week,  gathering limits are capped at five people outdoors.

Municipal enforcement is encouraging people to not gather. Those not following provincial regulations could be face with a fine of $880 under the Reopening Ontario Act.

“I appreciate the frustration that those business owners are feeling, but the pandemic and that type of gathering is just not a safe activity at this time,” said Nicole Papke Director, Municipal Enforcement Services with the City of Waterloo.

Some business owners are worried about a large gathering in the community.

“I think actions like this are just going to put us behind rather than forward,” said Alnoor Keshvani, the owner of Loop Clothing.

He said he will not be opening his doors to customers until the province allows businesses to do so.

“I think we need to be a lot more responsible with our recovery and Just show support in other ways,” Keshvani said.

The Uptown Waterloo BIA suggested people purchase gift cards, Uptown dollars or use curbside pick-up or delivery.

The BIA is also asking customers and businesses to use the new mobile screening buses, an initiative that screens people for COVID-19 in minutes.

“Businesses can encourage their staff to go over and their customers,” said Tracy Van Kalsbeek Executive Director of the Uptown Waterloo BIA.

Police said they plan to monitor the area on the weekend to ensure public safety.