VANCOUVER — A survey of more than 1,000 British Columbia businesses has found that nearly half of those which have remained open during the COVID-19 pandemic believed they could survive for no longer than three more months.
The BC Chamber of Commerce, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, Business Council of B.C. and other partners worked with the Mustel group to survey 1,284 businesses in April.
About half of those still operating reported revenues had plunged at least 75 per cent since the crisis began, while about two-thirds reported revenue declines of 50 per cent or more.
Temporarily closed businesses faced an equally dire future, with just 53 per cent saying they expected to reopen, 38 per cent unsure and eight per cent confirming permanent closure.
A board of trade statement says most businesses were positive about government measures to help employees and bolster supply chains, but about one-third of owners said no federal or provincial programs applied to them.
The survey also shows 79 per cent of owners were unsure they would be able to attract enough customers or revenue to successfully restart once COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed.
Bridgitte Anderson, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade president, said there is only a small window to support the survival and eventual recovery of many B.C. businesses.
"...It is, to a great extent, reliant on the scale and speed of government support, including the recently announced Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program," she said in the statement.
Government supports are helping, said Val Litwin, president of the BC Chamber of Commerce, but he called for more support.
"How government listens and responds to the business community in the coming weeks will be the game-changer in terms of economic recovery," he said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 21, 2020
The Canadian Press