Businesses are just not prepared for a second wave lockdown: Dan Kelly
More businesses are at risk of permanently closing their doors as some parts of the country mandate stricter COVID-19-related shutdowns, the head of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) warns.
“We are already seeing half of businesses in Canada – even those who are not affected by further rounds of shutdowns – saying that their sales dropped as a result of the second wave,” CFIB president and chief executive officer Dan Kelly said in a television interview with BNN Bloomberg Wednesday. “These businesses are already weakened.”
Prior to the second wave of infections, the CFIB estimated 160,000 businesses in Canada would fail before the pandemic ends. Kelly raised that number to 225,000, or more than one-in-seven.
“Governments are still fumbling around to put these programs in place – eight months in, ” Kelly said, referencing federal supports such as the promised Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) expansion and additional funding through a wage subsidy.
Kelly is urging governments to make shutdowns short and targeted to minimize the impact of a second round of business closures.
“Our advice to provincial governments is: ‘Please don’t put in place blanket shutdowns of the entire economy. If there are cases where you need to do that, make it surgical for those sectors or business activities where the problems are coming from – and lift them soon as is possible,’” he said.
“Secondly, make sure that the programs are in place and are delivering cash right away.”
Kelly’s comments come a day after the City of Toronto extended its ban on indoor dining another 28 days, and Manitoba announced it is forcing non-essential stores to close in an effort to contain the virus.
Andrew Oliver, chief executive of Oliver & Bonacini restaurant group, called Toronto’s decision “extremely disappointing” and said the city is “stepping on the restaurants’ throats.”