According to a survey from the Parksville and Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce, 47.3 per cent of businesses have closed in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area and 57 per cent report being able to open again once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
The total in the ‘no’ category in terms of ability to reopen was 7 per cent, with a larger number of businesses ‘unknown’ at 39.8 per cent.
“I think there is an optimism in our business community in terms of being able to reopen, depending on who you talk to,” said Kim Burden, executive director at the Parksville and District Chamber of Commerce.
Burden said the information from the survey will help the chamber build a business recovery plan. The survey included ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answers, but also room for comment.
“We’re going to lose some businesses, which is going to have an impact,” he said. “It’s incredibly hard for people to sit in limbo, wondering when are we going to be able to open our business, when are we going to be able to attract customers to our stores.”
Burden said businesses are obviously struggling, and sitting in limbo can be tricky for owners. He said the only silver lining might be that businesses are finding new ways to operate and that the PQB community is supporting them through that — he said a big piece of local businesses surviving is community support through the COVID-19 situation.
“The next big step for businesses is being able to apply for the Canada Employment Wage Subsidy, so if anybody needs help with that, I’ve gone through the process of looking at all of the pieces that you need,” he said. “Applications open up on Monday the 27th, so I think that’s going to be a big help to the businesses that have managed to stay open.”
Burden said the recent opening of Oceanside Initiatives, which is a collaboration of business stakeholders in the region dedicated to local business retention and more, helped make something like this possible.
In other news Burden said people should keep their ears out for news about a virtual Canada Day celebration.
If your business is temporarily closed and you would like to include your input into the chambers’ ongoing survey results, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.