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Sunday , 27 September 2020

Half of Lakeland businesses fear they won’t reopen in 3 months, more don’t trust government supports: Poll

Roughly half of businesses in the Lakeland forced to close because of COVID-19 fear after three months they’ll no longer be able to re-open their doors and more than 60 per cent are not confident government supports can help them remain operating.

This comes from a Lakeland Connect poll of over 115 business owners in the Bonnyville, Cold Lake, St. Paul and Glendon region conducted last week, which looked to gauge the confidence-level of business owners in these uncertain times of COVID-19.

These businesses ranged widely from retail outlets to oilfield companies, restaurants to hotels, hair care to professional services and many others.

Twenty-eight (28) per cent of total businesses polled said they had to close because of government regulations or otherwise.

And although almost every one of these owners said they planned on re-opening after COVID-19–that confidence fell if the province’s Public Health Act orders are in place for months.

Forty-two per cent of these businesses shut down said this had a significantly negative impact on their ability to reopen in the future and 31 per cent said it had a negative impact. Twenty-six per cent said the impact was neutral.

When asked how long being closed could they no longer afford to reopen, 23 per cent said one month, 12 per cent said two months, and 15 per cent said three months.

Thirty-five per cent said four months or more.

Sixty-two per cent of these businesses closed said they had to layoff employees.

Layoffs, confidence in government supports

Of all businesses polled, 60 per cent said they had adjusted business hours and 36 per cent said they had staff working from home.

Just under 40 per cent of businesses polled said they had to layoff between 5-10 employees or more than 10, while 37 per cent said they laid off between 2-5 employees.

Forty-one per cent of business owners said they were somewhat confident they’d be able to hire back the same staff after COVID-19 and 37 per cent said they were either extremely confident or very confident.

But 22 per cent were not so confident or not at all confident.

With the government rolling out supports like the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit and the wage subsidy program for businesses, just over half of the businesses said they were using or planning to use government benefits to stay open.

Thirty-eight said they weren’t, while 12 per cent were unsure.

That confidence in supports weakened when asked if they thought it would help them continue operating: 41 per cent said they were not so confident and 22 per cent said not at all confident.

A third said they were somewhat confident and just 3 per cent said they were very confident.

That was mirrored when asked about their confidence in the government taking care of their employees with supports.

Fifty-five per cent said they were not so confident or not at all confident their employees would be taken care of, while 43 per cent said they were somewhat confident and 2 per cent felt very confident.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connect Media. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.