Canadian small businesses struggle again amid COVID-19 capacity limits, CFIB says

Click to play video: 'B.C. could see substantial new COVID-19 restrictions'
B.C. could see substantial new COVID-19 restrictions
WATCH: BC could see substantial new COVID-19 restrictions – Dec 21, 2021

Surging COVID-19 cases brought on by the spread of the Omicron variant have put a damper on the “most wonderful time of year” for small business owners, as multiple provinces reinstate tough public health restrictions.

Dan Kelly of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) said that last month, the organization surveyed 4,514 small business owners and found 36 per cent were back to normal sales.

But now, with capacity limits in place, he says that “Any little glimmer of hope that many businesses saw at the end of this two-year tunnel are quickly being extinguished.”

Read more: Omicron fears force Canadian businesses to prepare for the worst — another lockdown

Starting Tuesday, tighter gathering and capacity rules are in place in Manitoba, where health officials said climbing cases due to Omicron were expected to exceed its resources for notifying most close contacts.

Story continues below advertisement

Quebec has announced earlier closing times for bars, restaurants entertainment venues and movie theatres as it reported a new single-day record of 4,571 COVID-19 infections on Monday.

Calling the situation “critical,” Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube said the fast-spreading COVID-19 Omicron variant has changed everything, as vaccines that offered 70 per cent protection against symptomatic infection from the Delta variant are believed to offer 30 per cent protection against Omicron.

Click to play video: 'Holiday plans upended as provinces expand Omicron restrictions'
Holiday plans upended as provinces expand Omicron restrictions

B.C. has limited capacity to 50 per cent at venues that hold more than 1,000 people, but is extending its cap on fees charged by food delivery companies in an effort to help the restaurant industry.

Newfoundland and Labrador, meanwhile, has limited bars to 50 per cent capacity and restaurants to 75 per cent with physical distancing. The province also sent kids home Monday as schools closed early in response to rising caseloads.

Story continues below advertisement

Ontario implemented its new public health orders Sunday, which see restaurants, retailers, gyms and other indoor settings operating at 50 per cent capacity.

Sponsored content