26 per cent of small firms are concerned they may be forced to close their doors permanently because of COVID, says CFIB survey

 The share of businesses that are fully open has begun to rise as provinces restart their economies, according to the latest survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), with just under a third of businesses now fully open, up from 21 per cent a month ago. 

Alberta, Manitoba and New Brunswick now have the greatest number of small firms fully open, while Nova Scotia, Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador are the least open economies, said the CFIB. Alberta had 47 per cent open.

“It’s good to see that the share of businesses fully open is finally larger than businesses fully closed due to COVID-19,” said CFIB president Dan Kelly.

“While it is good news that more firms are beginning to open across the country, it is important to keep in mind that 67 per cent of businesses remain fully or partially closed due to COVID-19. In addition, there is a lot of uncertainty for businesses in the months to come, including how to recall laid-off workers, what new measures they should put in place to protect their staff and customers, and if reopening will even be financially possible if their sales are too low.”

In terms of business sectors, retail, arts and recreation, services and restaurants/hospitality were the least likely to be fully open, said the CFIB.

The CFIB’s survey found that:

  • The top reasons for not fully opening are government mandated closures (49 per cent), sales too low to make it worthwhile (36 per cent) and concerns over the health and safety of staff and customers (35 per cent);
  • 26 per cent of small firms are concerned they may be forced to close their doors permanently; and 
  • 36 per cent of business owners are worried about accessing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE

“Small businesses want to do their part in flattening the curve by giving consumers the option to spread out over a larger number of smaller locations,” said Kelly. “We invite consumers who want to avoid crowds in the months to come to visit their local butcher, their neighbourhood hardware store or the family-run hobby shop down the street.”

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