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Coronavirus: Okanagan businesses concerned with financial futures amid pandemic

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Coronavirus: Okanagan businesses concerned with financial futures – Nov 13, 2020

Small businesses that have survived the pandemic so far are now facing more challenges as COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise within the province.

Dave Willoughby, owner of Doc Willoughby’s Pub in downtown Kelowna, says it’s been a struggle to stay afloat.

“Without the federal funding that we’ve received with the wage subsidies and other grants through the bank – we wouldn’t have been able to stay open,” said Willoughby.

“We’ve had to work hard to keep a level of business where it makes sense to stay open.”

Read more: B.C. breaks records again with 617 new COVID-19 cases, 167 in hospital

Statistics Canada released a report on how businesses are doing during the pandemic and what some are facing in the coming months financially.

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The report says nearly to one-third of businesses in Canada do not know how long they can continue to operate at their current level of revenue.

“It’s going to be tough for the next six months. Since summer ended it’s been very slow,” said Jeffrey Blower, Kelowna’s Kelly O’Bryans Neighbourhood Restaurant’s owner.

“And that’s for the whole downtown core (in Kelowna) and there’s restaurants shutting down every week. It’s scary.”

Establishments like Kelly O’Bryan’s Neighbourhood Restaurant or Doc Willoughby’s Pub depend on late-night service which has been taken away.

Read more: How to support small B.C. businesses

Other businesses are stretching their skills and services to attract enough clients to get by, such as Samuel Galvez and his tailoring business.

“We had to adapt so much,” said Galvez, owner of El Zorro Tailoring. 

“Our rack used to be full of prom dresses and wedding gowns but this year was almost none.”

Galvez along with the owner business owners are unsure what their future will look like during a second or even third wave of COVID-19.

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“I’m here five, six in the morning till about eight o’clock at night, everyday, including Sundays to be able to cope and to pay rent,” Galvez told Global News on Friday.

“It’s very, very stressful because every day you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

The report also says for around 30 per cent of businesses, revenue is down 30 per cent from last year, while around 25 per cent reported that their revenues were down by 50 per cent or more.

You can read the full report Statistics Canada here.

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