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Greater Sudbury businesses reporting job cuts, financial losses among COVID impacts

Twenty-three per cent fear they could go out of business
(Stock photo)

Greater Sudbury’s entrepreneurs are feeling the hit of COVID-19 on their businesses.

Of the more than 300 who responded to a recent COVID-19 Business Impact survey, 23 per cent worry the pandemic could put them out of business and 48 per cent said it will significantly impact their bottom line, with 87 per cent reporting a range of financial losses.

The majority of respondents are private sector operators.

The results represent a snapshot of the city and area’s business community through the month of April.

The monthly Business Impact survey is a joint effort of the City of Greater Sudbury, the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, and Workforce Planning for Sudbury & Manitoulin.

“At this point, it is impossible to say how much of this will be temporary or permanent,” said Reggie Caverson, executive director of Workforce Planning for Sudbury and Manitoulin, in a May 13 news release.

“However, what we can say is that local businesses are trying to do everything they can to support their workforce, to adjust their business operations, and to remain viable during these unprecedented times.”

Companies reported that, since the province released its list of essential services, they’ve collectively laid off 2,300 employees in full-time, part-time, seasonal, and contract positions.

Most respondents have adjusted their operations to increase their online presence and minimize risk of exposure to staff, changed their hours of operation, are working remotely, or have implemented increased sanitization protocols.

Some have retooled to produce personal protective equipment or barriers to support workplaces with essential workers.

While businesses said they were aware of government initiatives to help support business, nearly a third of respondents said the programs wouldn’t help them.

Local businesses identified initiatives such as rent and tax deferrals, and wage and rent subsidies, as helpful to their business.

The COVID-19 Business Impact survey will also be conducted in May and in June, and Sudbury businesses are urged to participate so that impacts of the pandemic can be better understood.

A full report on the April survey is available here.