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Thunder Bay-area businesses take a weighty knock from COVID-19

More than 90 per cent of businesses experience sales drop, survey shows
Thunder Bay (Port Arthur)

A majority of businesses in the Thunder Bay district have experienced a decrease in sales due to the effects of COVID-19.

Survey results collected in late April indicate 91 per cent of area businesses have felt some degree of a sales drop, with 45 per cent being forced to close temporarily, and 41 per cent imposing social distancing measures.

These are the first results of a six-month project between the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, North Superior Workforce Planning Board, Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Corporation, and the Northern Policy Institute (NPI).

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In a news release, Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce president Charla Robinson wants "tailored" government supports for the region.

“The results clearly show that our businesses have been hard hit in the early days of COVID-19. This information is vital to our advocacy for support programs that will help with local business survival and recovery.”

The survey will be repeated each month through September in communities across the region.

Respondents are strongly encouraged to participate in the survey each month to show how the effects of COVID-19 evolve over time for businesses.

“Repeat participation is strongly encouraged,” said NPI president Charles Cirtwill in a statement. “Monthly participation provides data that will help us identify the effects on businesses over a long period of time. Are things getting better or worse? Are people taking advantage of the programs offered?"

The group say the information gathered will be used in advocacy work to help shape federal, provincial and municipal government policies, and may also be used by community partners to identify workforce and business needs and developing supports for the region.

The second round of the survey is open to businesses of all sizes and can be found at