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Tiger Dragon Martial Arts Centre remains open – but its owners are now homeless

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As previously reported, Carey and Lesley Stone have run a successful martial arts studio for almost two decades, the last seven years being at their current midtown Toronto location. And then COVID-19 hit and things went sideways.

For starters, the province and the city ordered the Stones to shut down their martial arts studio — or else. Or else what, you ask? Or else become the next Adam Skelly, in which the mounted unit is dispatched and the Stones are thrown in a paddywagon.

And so it was that the Stones could not earn an income nor pay their expenses, given that students were forbidden to attend their classes.

To make matters worse, due to a technical error, the Stones did not qualify for any financial compensation from the federal government (they are still trying to remedy this issue).

Alas, as they could not pay their rent for the first time ever, their landlord, a multimillionaire, wanted them evicted. This was a particularly dire problem given that the Stones also reside at the studio.

The matter recently ended up in court and what resulted was a split decision of sorts. Namely, the judge ruled that the landlord cannot shut down the Tiger Dragon Martial Arts Centre. However, the Stones, due to zoning requirements, were told they cannot use the space as a residence — effectively rendering them homeless.

For now, the Stones are hoping to pick up the pieces of their shattered business. And when we last touched base with Carey, he and his wife were counting on friends and family members to put them up overnight, as they can no longer legally live at the studio.

It all seems so grossly unfair. The Stones are not in this terrible predicament because they are lousy businesspeople; rather, it is all due to the government preventing them from opening up and not providing compensation.

And where is the evidence that fitness facilities are “super-spreader” venues in the first place? Why were gyms and dojos shut down, while the likes of Walmart and Costco and LCBO stores were allowed to thrive?

What happened to the Stones is disgraceful. In fact, their predicament makes for a COVID casualty of the economic kind. And it serves as yet another example that the phrase, “we’re all in this together” is the biggest lie since “the cheque is in the mail.”

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