Many restaurants have closed in response to COVID-19. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)

Businesses tepid toward B.C. COVID recovery plan, seek bold response: survey

Only 16 per cent of businesses were confident in B.C.’s restart plan and 47 per cent were not

The latest survey of businesses in British Columbia reveals few are confident the province’s $1.5-billion recovery plan will help them survive or succeed.

The survey of 1,401 member businesses from groups including the BC Chamber of Commerce, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade and Business Council of B.C. indicates owners want a bold, long-term recovery plan.

Only 16 per cent of businesses were confident in B.C.’s restart plan and 47 per cent were not.

Two-thirds of those surveyed were relying on some form of government support and owners were braced for a “second wave” of shutdowns or other problems if programs expire too quickly.

Some 28 per cent believed they’ll return to normal once programs end, 32 per cent expected to cut workers’ hours, 27 per cent anticipated layoffs, and one business in every 10 forecast either temporary or permanent closure.

Owners say payroll and wage supports must remain key components of B.C.’s recovery plan, along with fee and tax cuts.

The survey also identified expectations that the province must create better investment conditions.

Bridgitte Anderson, president and CEO of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, says business viability hinges on those measures.

Val Litwin with the BC Chamber of Commerce urges policy-makers to ”stay sensitive” to the vulnerability of the business sector.

“A bold economic recovery plan that helps small businesses compete is non-negotiable for a prosperous B.C., and when small businesses thrive so do communities and people,” Litwin said in a statement.

“Governments must keep focused on delivering their recovery plans swiftly.”

The survey, conducted with the Mustel Group, is the fourth in a series examining the effects on B.C. businesses since the pandemic flared in March.

The Canadian Press

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