Coronavirus is hurting small businesses. Here’s how to help

Small businesses are feeling the effects of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Half of small businesses reported a drop in sales due to COVID-19, a recent survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) found. What’s more, a quarter said they don’t think they could survive a month with a loss in income of more than 50 per cent.

Restaurants and bars were ordered to close or switch to only providing take-out in parts of the country as of Tuesday, March 17, when leaders declared states of emergency in provinces including Ontario, Alberta and B.C. Gyms, daycares, spas and retailers have also shut down as health officials urge social distancing.

But even before closures, small businesses were feeling the effects of the new coronavirus outbreak, said Lisa Kramer, a professor of finance at the University of Toronto.

“These short-term impacts are large and unprecedented in recent memory.”

How to support small local businesses

According to the CFIB survey, the sectors most negatively affected by coronavirus-related closures include hospitality, arts and recreation, retail and personal services.

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