Many businesses have temporarily shuttered due to COVID-19, but as owners get the green light to reopen some aren’t sure they’ll be able to afford it. (Black Press Media files)

Low profits, few customers in post-pandemic recovery says B.C. business survey

About 43 per cent of businesses say they think they will need government incentives to continue operating

A survey of British Columbia businesses finds barely one quarter believe they can open and operate profitably as the province gradually eases COVID-19 restrictions.

More than 1,300 member businesses of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, the BC Chamber of Commerce and the Business Council of British Columbia were asked about the second phase of B.C.’s restart plan.

A statement from the board of trade says 26 per cent expect to open and operate at a profit while 75 per cent worry about attracting customers.

Other concerns include a lack of cash to meet expenses or new safety standards and the board says 55 per cent also believe restarting their business will take at least two months.

But owners now report an average of just 12 layoffs, down from 43 in mid-March, and the board says that likely shows the effect of wage subsidy programs.

About 43 per cent of businesses say they think they will need government incentives to continue operating.

Val Litwin, president and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce says despite the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, the crisis is not over for businesses across the province.

“Policy-makers must appreciate that business models will be very fragile during this early stage of the recovery cycle and that ongoing supports will be essential,” he says in the statement.

Nearly 400,000 B.C. workers have lost their jobs since the pandemic hit, says Greg D’Avignon, president and CEO of the Business Council of British Columbia.

He is calling on the federal and provincial governments to address tax, regulatory and process costs.

The survey is the third in a series conducted by the Mustel Group on behalf of B.C.’s major business organizations since COVID-19 forced closure of many sectors of the provincial economy two months ago.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusLocal Business

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Small businesses in Saltair change with the times

Pandemic creates creative thinking to remain in operation

Chemainus family pledges $50,000 to Chemainus Theatre Crisis Relief Fund

The Hilton family pledged $50,000 toward a matched fund. If fully matched, it will raise $100,000

Council lifts moratorium on committee and advisory body meetings

Meetings to be done by electronic means and streamed to provide transparency for the public

RCMP use Zoom to connect with Cowichan kids

Calls with Grade 2 students tackle bike safety

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Commercial rent relief applications open as feds encourage landlords to apply

Program would see government cover 50 per cent of the rent

COVID-19: B.C. park reservations surge as campgrounds reopen

Keep trying, many sites not reservable, George Heyman says

B.C. residents can now reserve a provincial campsite for a stay starting June 1

Campsite reservations will only be available to British Columbians

Cullen commission into money laundering in British Columbia resumes today

Inquiry was called amid growing concern that illegal cash was helping fuel real estate, luxury car and gambling

Bike shops busier than ever, but owners worry about stock supply issues

Uptick in cyclists brings new challenges for shops

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

Most Read