The COVID-19 pandemic is taking its toll on Summerland’s business community, the chamber of commerce president says.
“I predict there are going to be a lot of casualties on Main Street and in other areas,” said Ron Kubek.
He said he has already learned of some in the downtown area who have decided to close their doors permanently, and expects to hear other similar stories, from within Summerland and elsewhere.
The federal government has announced initiatives to help individuals and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but there have been delays between the announcements and the actual payments.
“It takes a long time to get the subsidies,” he said, adding that some businesses can’t afford to wait.
In addition, while the municipality of Summerland has postponed its deadline for paying property taxes, businesses are still losing out on potential revenue during the pandemic.
For some, two or three months without revenue will be too long, Kubek said.
He added that the pandemic will have significant and long-lasting effect on the economy, lingering well after the restrictions have been lifted.
“There are going to be a lot of holes in main streets across the province,” he said. “Poverty is probably going to end up killing more people than the virus.”
David Hull, executive director of the Summerland Chamber of Commerce, said entrepreneurs and small business owners are doing everything they can to remain in business after the pandemic is over.
“Entrepreneurs are, by nature are fiercely strong,” he said. “If businesses shutter due to COVID-19 it’s likely the last resort.”
Hull also believes the business sector will be different once the pandemic is over.
“You’ll see changes that will permanently alter the landscape,” he said. “We’re never going back to what we had on Feb. 1, 2020.”
At the same time, Hull is optimistic about the post-pandemic world.
“At some point, the economic tide will rise,” he said.
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