Small Business Owners Report Concerns About Social Distancing And Safety Amid Reopenings: Survey

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Small business owners across Canada are facing concerns surrounding customer safety and social distancing as more companies get the green light to reopen, according to a survey conducted by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

Over half of small business owners in the survey said that managing social distancing (64 per cent), keeping up with cleaning (55 per cent), knowing what the rules are (52 per cent) and making customers feel comfortable (53 per cent) are top concerns for reopening. In addition, 48 per cent cited access to personal protective equipment (PPE) as a major concern. Three-quarters of survey participants said that their survival depends on making more sales soon and becoming less reliant on government subsidies.

“Making more sales is mission critical for businesses who are trying to survive, so turning the corner on shutdowns is welcome news,” said Laura Jones, executive vice-president at CFIB, in a statement. “It also brings practical challenges like figuring out how to make social distancing work, finding enough hand sanitizer and talking to employees about coming back to work.” 

Half of the business owners surveyed said they will need to make at least 75 per cent of their typical sales to make it worthwhile for their business to remain open throughout the summer, according to the CFIB. To help business owners, the CFIB has put together resources such as a PPEs for SMEs Facebook group where business owners that need PPE can connect with other business owners that are selling it.

“The PPEs for SMEs idea came from a business owner on one of our webinars who couldn’t find masks. Another business owner said she could help because her dog apparel company was making them,” Jones said. “Governments, consumers and associations all have a critical role to play in helping small business owners with a successful, safe reopening of the economy.”

For resources such as a customizable “We’re Open” sign with information for customers to keep safe as well as links to provincial guidelines, visit the CFIB website. CFIB’s Business Helpline, which assists business owners with HR and other issues, is temporarily available free of charge for any small business owner in the country who needs it and can be accessed here.

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