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City launches survey to assess COVID-19 impact on Hamilton businesses

The city of Hamilton has launched a survey to get feedback from local businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19. Lisa Polewski / Global News

The City of Hamilton, Ont., is asking local businesses to fill out an online survey about how the coronavirus pandemic is having an impact on them.

Norm Schleehan, the city’s director of economic development, says they’ve been meeting with representatives from the various Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) on a weekly basis, and while some businesses have been able to adapt, others have been devastated.

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“Obviously, the BIAs have been impacted from the on-the-street piece, especially with the social distancing measures that have been put in, and the closure of a lot of their businesses,” Schleehan told Global News Radio 900 CHML’s Bill Kelly Show.

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Those BIAs, as well as Hamilton’s three chambers of commerce, have informed the questions that are being asked in the survey, which is posted on the InvestInHamilton.ca website.

Schleehan said their goal is to determine the state of the local economy, as well as the needs of businesses and how aware those businesses are of existing municipal programs and initiatives.

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One of those initiatives is the HometownHub website, which launched last month as an online marketplace for Hamilton businesses that continue to operate digitally. Since then, more than 300 companies have signed up and are listed on the site.

READ MORE: Hamilton launches website to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19

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The survey is also the first step toward ensuring the road to economic recovery is as smooth as possible. Schleehan said it’s a starting point and more sector-specific surveys will likely follow this one, with the goal of taking concrete action based on the responses to those surveys.

He added that they’re looking for input from businesses of all sizes.

“We want to get an assessment of what’s happening across the economy as a whole,” said Schleehan. “Because it is having impacts, not just on small business, but on large business. Supply chains for the larger companies are starting to be affected.”

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Despite the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, Schleehan said the city continues to be approached by companies that want to invest in Hamilton and understand that this is not a long term situation.

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“They’re understanding we are going to get out of this, and from a long-term perspective, people are still making investments and looking to invest in the city.”

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