Perth County surveys indicate some businesses are unaware of available COVID-19 support

PERTH COUNTY – The Economic Development & Tourism Division in partnership with InvestStratford conducted three surveys across the pandemic to monitor the ongoing impacts on the business community. The purpose of the surveys is to understand the types of support businesses need to come up with a program and advocacy on their behalf.

The release of the results of the third Business Impact Business has revealed a lot of information about how local businesses continue to cope with the current situation and the shifting restrictions on their business operations. The third survey revealed a strong concurrence in provincial and federal support programs as well as resilience among businesses to adapt to operations. Emotions in the heart of the business community reflect mental stress as the long -term nature of the pandemic wears off.

Justin Dias, manager of Economic Development and Tourism, guided the Perth County council through a presentation on May 20, reflecting on all three surveys while highlighting the results of the third survey.

The first business survey on COVID-19 was launched as the pandemic was declared and emergency measures were rapidly evolving. The second survey followed the announcement and implementation of numerous provincial and federal government supports and programs.

The second survey took place after CERB and the wage subsidy program and other supports were more stable in place and as businesses prepared to emerge from the first wave of the pandemic.

Between the second survey and the launch of the third survey, Economic Development and Tourism staff conducted a series of business check-in calls to identify issues for businesses that may not be easily reflected in the surveys and to provide a one-on-one outlet for businesses to share concerns, resources and problem solving.

“I would say that the announcement of the opening of the Tourism Support Grant last week … was a significant point of concern that we heard from businesses, especially businesses in the tourism and residential sector that were left with little give business support, ”Dias said.“ The announcement of this program a few months ago and then the welcome announcement of the opening of the application portal … (will) help to alleviate many of the difficulties. concern that businesses feel and express this survey. I think we might get a different result if we investigate even this week compared to the beginning of last week. ”

Shortly after the launch of the third business impact survey, the province announced the latest stay-at-home arrangements that greatly impact the business environment. Perth County staff decided to keep the survey open to provide an outlet for businesses and keep an open communication channel for any new and emerging challenges.

More than three-quarters of responding businesses are small to medium-sized with no more than 20 employees

The impact on responding businesses remained significant and only a handful of respondents indicated that they were able to relatively maintain the business as before.

Businesses indicated that they used a variety of methods to ease the impact of the pandemic including layoffs, emergency loans or grants and cuts or shutdowns of operations.

CERB, the wage subsidy and small business grant are the most accessible programs

There is a relatively high rate of businesses that are successful when applying for funding that show relatively low barriers to acceptance.

Respondents said there were a significant number of support programs that they were not aware of. Dias suggested that a more targeted approach may be needed for lesser-known support programs to ensure that eligible businesses take advantage of the support.

Financial supports will remain a top priority for businesses including property tax and utility assistance as well as general cash flow assistance.

Nearly 75 percent of responding businesses indicated they needed to lay off up to five people. Despite the layoffs, nearly half indicated they hoped they would get post-pandemic again.

More than half of the respondents of the third survey said they expected they could fully recover or that they had recovered and 35 percent remained unsure if they would recover.

Dias said there is a sense of stress in businesses with a pandemic after more than a year of varying levels of restrictions, reflecting the general population.

Enhanced incentives, as well as marketing and promotional support, were cited as useful recovery supports in COVID that are indispensable.

“In conclusion … there’s nothing significant left that we didn’t expect to see, which I think is an observation in itself,” Dias said. “There aren’t some burning underlying issues that we’re not aware of and we look forward to doing more analysis in terms of some of those programs that are not accessed or don’t know about to make sure we get that information to the community. business. ”

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He noted that survey responses were lower for the third survey than the previous two.

“I think we can attribute that to some survey stress and I look forward to launching another round of phone check-in calls as we get into that kind of more focused and sustained recovery response,” he said. by Dias.

“People are tired in a lot of ways these days,” Coun said. Daryl Herlick. “Great work on gathering data there.”

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