Almost half of temporarily closed B.C. business unsure about ability to reopen

83 per cent of Cariboo respondents report decreased sales volumes

Results from a survey conducted by the BC Chamber of Commerce released on April 21 show a bleak economic picture for Cariboo businesses with 83 per cent (24) reporting decreased sales volumes and 59 per cent (17) reporting having closed temporarily. Of those 17 temporarily closed, one (six per cent) said they would not reopen once restrictions are eased on workplace conditions with eight being unsure and eight saying they would reopen.

That’s worse than the province overall, according to the survey which had 1,284 total participants, where 78 per cent reported decreased sales volumes and 45 per cent reported being temporarily closed. Four in ten (43 per cent) said they could only continue to operate for up to three months under current conditions. Among B.C. businesses temporarily closed 53 per cent expect to reopen when restrictions are lifted while 38 per cent are unsure and eight per cent will not reopen.

In the Cariboo, 15 out of 29 respondents (52 per cent) said they’ve laid-off employees.

According to the survey, B.C. businesses are positive about government measures for employees and ensuring supply chains remain open but they are concerned about the speed and scope of programs that support cash flow. A third of businesses say federal programs weren’t helpful because they either didn’t qualify or provided enough/timely cash flow relief. That was particularly applicable to small businesses (under five employees) who were least likely to find federal programs helpful, primarily because they do not qualify.

“Government programs are helping businesses but more supports are still needed. Entrepreneurs are saying ‘there’s a survival runway here’ and ‘this is exactly what I need to get through this crisis’. How government listens and responds to the business community in the coming weeks will be the game-changer in terms of economic recovery,” said Val Litwin, President and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce

The survey was conducted from April 9 to 17.

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