Niagara’s Economic Rapid Response Team (ERRT) now has a clearer picture of the local impact COVID-19 has had on Niagara’s business community, thanks to the completion of its second Business Impact Survey.Over 1,300 businesses, representing over 47,000 employees from all sectors and municipalities completed the online survey, administered between May 15 and June 5. Respondents shared the effects COVID-19 has had on several aspects of their businesses, including employment, revenue and expenses, and business status as well as their future outlook and recovery.
In March, the team administered a preliminary survey to gauge the immediate effects of the pandemic. Today’s results help expand upon that data and offer a more detailed analysis of the economic effects of COVID-19.
Key survey findings:
- 745 respondents reported a combined loss of $425.1 million. Extrapolated across the entire Regional economy, total revenue losses are estimated to be $7.8 billion. Many businesses are either at risk of imminent permanent closure (7 per cent) or vulnerable to closure (28 per cent).
- The pandemic has disproportionately affected Niagara’s tourism-related industries. Given the prominent role this sector plays in Niagara’s economy, unique supports and advocacy efforts will be needed to support Niagara’s recovery.
- Businesses have made long-lasting changes to their operations that will require support going forward, including increased use of personal protective equipment (PPE), modified work hours, altered products or services, and lower staffing requirements.
- Businesses will require a wide range of supports to recover. Although many are looking to governments for financial relief, many are also seeking promotion and marketing assistance, advocacy and support to other higher levels of government, and information and leadership from municipalities.
"There’s no question that Niagara has been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. These survey results will help to quantify that impact, design Niagara-specific solutions, and advocate for the supports and resources that will be essential to Niagara’s economic recovery." ~ Valerie Kuhns, Acting Director, Niagara Economic Development
"There’s never been a more important time to ensure we’re listening and responding to the unique needs of our local businesses. I’d like to extend my sincere gratitude to the many businesses who took the time to share their experiences with us. Your input will go a long way in making sure Niagara has the knowledge and the tools to help our businesses endure and recover during this turbulent time." ~ Regional Councillor Diana Huson, Planning and Economic Development Committee Chair