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Close to half of Canadian small businesses reopen, few seeing a return to normal: survey

Last Updated Jun 8, 2020 at 1:13 pm EDT

FILE - The number of small businesses that have reopened is up to 44 per cent from 38 two weeks ago, according to a new CFIB survey. (NEWS 1130 photo)
Summary

The number of small businesses that have reopened is up to 44 per cent from 38 two weeks ago: CFIB


In B.C., 47 per cent of small businesses have reopened, with 17 per cent seeing a return to normal sales


CFIB president has concerns about future of businesses in transportation, health, arts, recreation and hospitality


TORONTO (NEWS 1130 ) — Close to half of Canadian small businesses that closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic have since reopened as restrictions eased, but few are seeing sales rebound to previous levels, according to a new survey.

The number of small businesses that have reopened is up to 44 per cent from 38 two weeks ago. However, just 15 per cent have seen sales return to normal, says the survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

Many regional and sectoral differences remain, the survey found, and some sectors, particularly restaurants and hospitality, continue to be largely closed.

In B.C., 47 per cent of small businesses have reopened, with 17 per cent seeing a return to normal sales.

“There are definite signs that economies are awakening, with more than half of small businesses reporting they are fully open in some provinces,” CFIB president Dan Kelly says. “However, for many, recovery is another question, as just opening your doors does not guarantee your customers will return.”

New Brunswick had the largest share of businesses reopen at 59 per cent, followed by Alberta, 54 per cent. Newfoundland and Labrador had the fewest, at 24 per cent, while the weekly sample size of those that reopened in Prince Edward Island was too small to measure.

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Kelly says he’s worried about the future of businesses in sectors such as transportation, health and social services, as well as arts and recreation, restaurants and hospitality, as fewer than one in 10 have sales at or near normal. Our main street businesses will need a lot more support, both from government and from consumers, before the crisis is behind them.”

Small businesses were hit hard by lockdowns across the country, and though most provinces have allowed some to reopen with modifications, their recovery is uneven.

Only 13 per cent of hospitality and restaurant businesses and 21 per cent of arts and recreation businesses are fully open, compared to 44 per cent of retailers and firms in the personal services sector.

Additionally, certain personal services businesses, such as hairdressers, remain closed in most provinces, says the survey.

The CFIB is supporting small businesses with several resources:

  • free access to CFIB’s team of experts for one-on-one advice on all government support programs (cfib.ca/introductoryoffer);
  • a downloadable “Back to Business” kit, including information on provincial guidelines, a customizable “We’re open” poster and workplace safety templates (cfib.ca/backtobusiness);
  • a “PPEs for SMEs” Facebook group, where small businesses looking to buy PPE can connect with those that produce it.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across every industry and region.