Small businesses worried about lockdown even as provincial grant application opens
KITCHENER -- Even as the province announced small businesses could now apply for a grant of up to $20,000, some are stressed that they won't be able to make it through the second lockdown.
Amaka Obodo, the owner of Queen Davis Dress Shop in Kitchener, says business has been down to about 20 per cent of is usual flow since the pandemic began.
The lack of weddings and proms means she's had to shift from selling lots of dresses to virtual consultations.
"I make a lot of prom dresses around this time , a lot of graduation dresses, but right now there's no call for that because there's no graduations happening," said Obodo.
The announcement by the Ontario government on Friday mentions that applying businesses must have less than 100 employees, show that they were impacted by the shutdown, and prove a 20 per cent decline in revenue.
"I hope a lot of people go to the website," said Peter Bethlenfalvy, Ontario's finance minister. "I hope a lot of people apply and this is an area that I really do want to spend money and support the small businesses."
Meanwhile, a Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB) survey conducted in December found that one third of small businesses in Ontario do not believe they'll financially survive the lockdown.
"A small wind could blow down small businesses at this point," said Dan Kelly, CEO of CFIB. "They're so desperately weakened from months and months of COVID-19 restrictions."
He adds that, despite the grant, the province should reconsider current regulations, like how small businesses have to shut down after 8 p.m., while big box stores can stay open for in-person shopping.
Obodo says she will be going to the website for the grant, as it would help her pay bills, pay rent, buy materials, and be ready for when the pandemic slows down.