Many small business owners are frustrated that provincial governments across the country have relied almost exclusively on lockdowns in order to curb the spread of COVID-19.
With Ontario now in the midst of a third wave, and a third, province-wide lockdown announced, many business owners are frustrated that lockdowns have been the only form of control the government has implemented.
“It is unconscionable that over a year into the pandemic governments continue to rely almost exclusively on blanket lockdowns,” Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB).
“The first two shutdowns were devastating with one in six businesses considering permanent closure, for an estimated 181,000 permanent small business closures expected across the country. A third round will only ensure that number grows higher. CFIB urges governments to now make use of the other tools at their disposal, including making widespread use of the millions of rapid tests sitting in warehouses across the country, as well as renewed contact tracing efforts and expedited vaccine rollouts as alternatives to closing battered small businesses,” he continued.
According to a recent survey from CFIB, many 66 per cent of business owners would be open to using rapid tests in order to remain open.
“Small businesses are tired of being a scapegoat for governments’ lack of planning or foresight,” Kelly said. “Too often businesses are closed to send a message to the public to stay home while there is scant evidence that shopping at a local store, getting a haircut or having dinner with the family is a real danger to public health. CFIB urges all provinces to reject Ontario’s bizarre approach of shuttering small retailers while keeping big box stores open.”
Additionally, many entrepreneurs are frustrated many grant programs have closed their applications this week, despite the fact many are about to move back into lockdown.
“More than 70 per cent of small businesses across Canada report that government supports are essential to their survival,” Kelly continued. “Lockdowns do not stop bills from coming in. We urge governments to extend their application deadlines, broaden eligibility and increase payments to recognize the impact new and prolonged lockdowns and restrictions are having on local businesses.”