Ottawa Covid-19 and Small Business, Councillor Jan Harder, City of Ottawa
Small businesses have been hit the hardest during COVID-19, and it’s feared it could only get worse with a second wave of the virus now in effect, possibly forcing the closure of some businesses yet again.
According to a study produced by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, one in seven small businesses are at risk of going under as a result of COVID-19 in addition to the ones that have already closed.
CFIB’s mid-range estimate for business closures due to COVID-19 is 158,000 (14 per cent of small businesses). Depending on how the recovery goes, losses could be as few as 55,000 (5 per cent) or as many as 218,000 (19 per cent). This will have a devastating impact on our society and economy years after the virus is defeated.
Invest Ottawa is now doing what they can to help small businesses in the community retool to deal with this new normal. Businesses are now having to adapt the way they do things, expanding their social media presence and move a lot of their sales online.
Statistics Canada says online shopping has doubled since the pandemic began, with
Canadians doing at least 10 per cent of their shopping online. In the first few months of the pandemic, retail sales fell by 17.9 percent, according to a report from the agency. With that being said, online sales surged 99.3 per cent during that same period.
During a webinar held by Invest Ottawa on September 16, 2020, they said the goal is to help small businesses which “are the hearts of our communities.” Invest Ottawa is now launching a new program to help businesses who are not already to get online and start generating revenue.
Professional support teams and learning resources will all be offered to the businesses for free. It will help businesses from all walks of life and will also be of benefit to customers who might not feel comfortable doing business indoors with a recent spike of new COVID-19 cases and winter weather fast approaching.
This is wonderful news for small businesses, and we must all do our part to support them during these challenging times. Barrhaven has many great family-run businesses that can rely on your support right now.
The Ontario government has already announced new restrictions could come if COVID-19 numbers don’t start to go down, so this is more important now than ever. Let’s all do our part.