COVID-19 Impact on Niagara Businesses Climbing into Billions of Dollars in Losses

All sectors in Niagara have been negatively affected, …. However the arts, entertainment, recreation; accommodation and food service; and retail trade sectors have seen a more pronounced effect.

“These preliminary results illustrate the gravity of the situation Niagara is facing. … They also provide crucial insights that will allow Niagara to be nimble and responsive in supporting our businesses throughout this crisis.”                                              – Valerie Kuhns, Acting Director, Niagara Economic Development for Niagara, Ontario’s Regional government

News from Niagara’s Regional Government and 12 Local Municipalities

Posted April 15th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Economic Rapid Response Team completes first survey of Niagara businesses

Niagara, Ontario –This April 14th, Niagara’s Economic Rapid Response Team (ERRT) released the results of a region-wide survey of Niagara businesses that gives an early picture of the local impact of COVID-19 on Niagara’s business community.

This almost empty parking lot at the normally busy Pen Centre shopping mall in St. Catharines just about says it all. Stores and other businesses closed for weeks and countless people now out of work here, and across the Niagara region.

Over 2,600 businesses from all of Niagara’s municipalities completed the online survey, administered between March 20 and 30. The results represent over 66,000 employees from all sectors of Niagara’s economy, and provides a snapshot of the immediate effects of the first few weeks of the pandemic.

How temporary is temporary? Signs like this are displayed on windows and doors almost everywhere.

The survey results provide baseline data that will allow Niagara to track the ongoing impact of COVID-19. A follow-up survey, to be administered in the coming weeks, will provide a more fulsome picture of the long-term effects of the crisis.

This data will be invaluable as Niagara’s Economic Rapid Response Team works to design solutions to the unique needs Niagara businesses are facing due to COVID-19. In March, Niagara’s Regional Chair and Mayors announced the creation of the team, composed of economic development staff from Niagara Region, Fort Erie, Lincoln, Niagara Falls, Port Colborne, St. Catharines and Welland.

 The Economic Rapid Response Team will work beyond municipal boundaries to ensure that all local businesses receive timely, responsive support.

*Key survey findings*

  * All sectors in Niagara have been negatively affected due to COVID-19, however the arts, entertainment, recreation; accommodation and food service; and retail trade sectors have seen a more pronounced effect

  * The negative economic impact on Niagara increases the longer COVID-19 remains unresolved. Survey respondents estimated a loss of $1.4 billion if COVID-19 is not resolved within a 12-month period. The full impact on all Niagara businesses is expected to be higher.

  * Businesses have taken steps to mitigate risk to their customers and staff by implementing new safety measures, enhanced cleaning and sanitizing, implementing social distancing rules and working remotely

  * Many businesses unable to directly serve customers are also exploring new opportunities such as online business development and other new ways of serving customers

View the full report on the Niagara COVID-19 Business Impact Survey <https://niagaracanada.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/7/2020/04/NERRT-Report-April-14-2020.pdf>, and visit errt.niagararegion.ca​

<https://niagaracanada.com/services/business-support/> for more updates.

  Quotes

Valerie Kuhns, acting Economic Development Director of Niagara, Ontario’s Regional Government

“The data from this survey provides a valuable snapshot of the immediate impact of COVID-19 on Niagara’s business community. While these preliminary results illustrate the gravity of the situation Niagara is facing, they also provide crucial insights that will allow Niagara to be nimble and responsive in supporting our businesses throughout this crisis.” ~ *Valerie Kuhns, Acting Director, Niagara Economic Development*

A Footnote from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large –

While we are digesting the grim results of this survey, let us not forget all of the many losses of jobs they represent for so many of our neighbours across the Niagara region, including jobs for single parents, seniors trying to supplement meagre pension cheques and students trying to pay off their tuition debts.

Job losses, from a recent report on Globe Television News

When we get through this, lets make sure working people in Ontario have better wages and benefits to help them through tough times. Let’s get to work on narrowing that wage gap and making everyone contribute their fair share to the common good.

In the meantime, if you have favourite book stores, or record stores, or other independently owned businesses in your community that you normally like to walk through the doors of, see if you can find them online now.

If you can, and they are still trying to keep their business alive selling books or records or whatever it may be online, please try to help them out by ordering something now. 

It may just help them survive this.

  • Doug Draper, Miagara At Large

Here is a nice hopeful sign that someone hung on a fence in London, Ontario

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post, along with your name (not a pseudonym), in the space immediately below the Bernie Sanders quote.

 “A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

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