Ontario Premier Doug Ford's reopening strategy is coming under fire for leaving non-essential retailers in limbo once again. Among his critics is Heather Reisman, the chair and CEO of Indigo Books & Music Inc.

"We feel the decision was an incredible, additional punch in the gut to all of us who are labeled non-essential," she said in an interview Friday.

Reisman, who has been an outspoken critic of the Ontario government's lockdown measures throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, said it will take retailers years to recover from the devastation caused by restrictions that have been designed to curb the virus’s spread.

Ford’s government unveiled a three-step plan on Thursday for reopening the economy, with a goal of entering the first stage – which would allow non-essential retailers to operate at 15 per cent capacity -- in mid-June.

Reisman said her frustration is based in part on what she described as a lack of communication from the government.

"They treat us as if we're garbage. That's how we've been treated: as if we're disposable garbage," Reisman stated after saying the views she expressed represent how hundreds of retailers are feeling.

She said she’s urging Ford to engage with chief executives in face-to-face meetings to lay the groundwork for a win-win outcome.

"What Premier Ford has done -- what I believe, and we all believe -- is [he’s] taken the path of least resistance," she said.