Nearly one-third of businesses now fully open: survey

Health and safety of staff among top reasons for staying closed

Nearly one-third of businesses now fully open: survey
The health and safety of staff is among a top concern for employers considering reopening, finds a survey.

Nearly a third of businesses across Canada are now fully open, up from 21 per cent from a month ago, according to a survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB).

By province, nearly half of businesses in Alberta (47 per cent) are now fully open. The same is true for 44 per cent of businesses in Manitoba and New Brunswick, and 40 per cent of those in Prince Edward Island.

Saskatchewan (39 per cent), Quebec (38 per cent), British Columbia (33 per cent) have also seen a handful of business fully open, while there were smaller numbers in Nova Scotia (27 per cent), Ontario (26 per cent) and Newfoundland and Labrador, found the survey of 6,379 respondents.

"While it is good news that more firms are beginning to open across the country, it is important to keep in mind that 67 per cent of businesses remain fully or partially closed due to COVID-19," says Dan Kelly, CFIB president. "In addition, there is a lot of uncertainty for businesses in the months to come, including how to recall laid-off workers, what new measures they should put in place to protect their staff and customers, and if reopening will even be financially possible if their sales are too low.”

In terms of business sectors, retail, arts and recreation, services and restaurants/hospitality were the least likely to be fully open.

Why not fully open?

The top reasons for not fully opening are government-mandated closures (49 per cent), sales are too low to make it worthwhile (36 per cent) and concerns over the health and safety of staff and customers (35 per cent).

More than a quarter (26 per cent) of small firms are also concerned they may be forced to close their doors permanently while 36 per cent of business owners are worried about accessing personal protective equipment.

Only eight per cent of employers say they are fully prepared to welcome back remote workers, but 87 per cent are nearly or somewhat prepared for a full return-to-the-office scenario, according to a Conference Board of Canada survey.

When it comes to returning employees to the workplace, 84 per cent of employers are prioritizing employee communications and total wellbeing while 71 per cent have put an increased emphasis on work-life balance, found another survey.

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