A survey of businesses in Sidney found almost eight of ten respondents (79 per cent) that the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted their business with respondents calling for additional outdoor space. (Black Press Media).

Pandemic hurt almost eight out of 10 Sidney businesses, says survey

Businesses fear second potential wave, according to respondents

A survey suggests the COVID-19 pandemic has had an overwhelmingly negative effect on local business.

Almost eight of 10 respondents (79 per cent) told surveyors that the pandemic has negatively impacted their business, with 15.5 per cent saying that they experienced what the report calls “business-as-usual” conditions. The rest — 5.5 per cent — said the pandemic had a positive impact on their operations.

The Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce and the Sidney Business lmprovement Area Society (SBIA) developed and conducted the survey in collaboration with Sidney staff and the municipality’s emergency operations centre (EOC). Drawing on Sidney’s database of 981 licensed businesses, surveyors received 324 responses from 700 businesses that they had contacted for a completion rate of 33 per cent. Surveyors solicited responses from a broad range of industries with the share of received responses coming close to the actual number of businesses in those sectors.

Of particular interest is the section of the survey that addresses the employment picture. Just over half of the businesses (52 per cent) that reported negative effects said they had laid off staff. When asked whether they would bring back laid-off staff, 59 per cent said they plan to bring back some but not all and 30 per cent said they would not be bringing staff back.

While not readily comparable to larger national surveys that Statistics Canada has conducted, the Sidney survey confirms broader trends, starting with the fact that the pandemic has had the most severe effects on human-facing industries such as retail and restaurants.

RELATED: Sidney businesses cautiously reopen their doors

Local retailers accounted for more than half (54 per cent) of all layoffs, while service businesses accounted for 25 per cent of layoffs. The remaining 26 per cent spread across 12 listed categories, suggesting that the actual job losses in those sectors were generally small.

Almost two out of three businesses (65 per cent) said they had accessed federal or provincial programs or funding designed to ease the economic effects of the pandemic.

When asked about concerns for their own businesses, respondents said they were concerned about when customers might return; reduced tourism; supply chain issues; reduced customer demand; a second wave of the pandemic; long term economic decline; and client safety.

When asked about the business community in general when coming out of the pandemic, respondents identified economic recession; widespread business closures; rising commercial vacancy rates; ability to meet new regulations; staff retention; reduced consumption, demand and foot traffic; and ability of the business community to survive a potential second wave.

The survey — whose results will go into the hands of Sidney’ recovery task force committee created last week — also offers some insights into measures that businesses consider helpful. Fifteen per cent of businesses said they support creating or expanding operations outdoors.

(Notably, council Monday will consider a staff recommendation to convert more on-street parking in the downtown core to create more public space for pedestrians and businesses. The proposed measures come on top of earlier approved measures.)

RELATED: Sidney blocks off parking spaces to create more sidewalk

RELATED: Sidney staff recommends additional outdoor seating for restaurants and cafes

Sixteen per cent said they would welcome in-person guidance about safe reopening and opening procedures. By way of background, EOC staff have already been working with local businesses.

More than 60 per cent of responses fall into the category of ‘others’ with recommendations from respondents ranging from increased child support to buy-local campaigns to improved coordination, collaboration and communication among local businesses.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Volunteers sought to remove weeds from Port Renfrew’s Parkinson Road

Road has no sidewalks, forcing pedestrians to walk on pavement

Falling oak tree causes minor damage to Langford home

Tree damages garden and gutters of home on Lindsay Place

Residents to start moving into first of 100 new affordable homes in Langford

Construction underway on second phase of affordable Indigenous housing project in Langford

New space secured for Sooke homeless

The shelter will be ready for residents on July 20

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Man found dead on Okanagan trail identified as Hollywood actor

GoFundMe campaign launched for man found dead at summit of Spion Kop

3 people dead in Prince George motel fire

Fire personnel believe the blaze was suspicious although investigation in early stages

B.C. sets terms to review police, mental health, race relations

MLAs to recommend Police Act changes by May 2021

POLL: Would you get a vaccine for COVID-19 when it is available?

With the number of positive COVID-19 tests skyrocketing across much of the… Continue reading

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

Almost 99% less land in B.C. burned this year compared to 2018

2018 was the worst year on record for wildfires

Most Read