It is very tough for the hospitality sector and for those small operations that cater to the private sector.

News 100 redBy Staff

March 23rd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The financial damage hits different sectors of the economy. Restaurants don’t have customers walking through the doors but they are coping with takeout business. Tim Hortons has all the chairs on the tables but you can get a cup of coffee and a sandwich.

There are private business operations that are service based – there isn’t much in the way of fallback support for them.

Here is the story of one private sector company. It is painful.

The morning was busy with some work ideas and talking with people (I’m actually losing track of what day it is); this afternoon I had a 2 hour nap (unheard of!!). My response to you would not be a simple – “all is OK” .

People give me food and I’m enjoying making meals. The rent is paid through the end of March due to a fluke cash opportunity. And interesting conversations with people about potential collaborations in the future seem to keep happening.

Small business week

If steps are not taken soon we could see the hollowing out of the small business sector.

The flip side is that business would seem to be tough in the future – and I’m honestly unclear as to how that may unfold. One thing I do try to do is live my life from what unfolds naturally – and in this environment I need to be “impatiently patient” – since the way forward is completely murky.

Yes there is financing available – I spent all of Friday researching it and kind of wish I hadn’t – since by the end of the day it was a complete 180• degree change for me and was so disappointed in the government response.

Telling small business to apply for BDC support at rates between 5.05% and 17.05% doesn’t have an ounce of a creative solution in it. Harper did a better job in 2009 with the $10,000 Home Renovation Tax Credit bumped up to $14,000.

Yes there is EI for small business owners – although at this point I have no idea if I will qualify – although I will apply.

Reality is that the big pressure for small and medium business is rent and property taxes (which can be deferred yet still need to be paid). Forcing business to apply for debt to cover these two items when the government is the one who let months go before implementing any type of restrictions to people travelling and returning to Canada and are now forced into a crisis – leaves me speechless.

Add to that there are landlords with deep pockets who would like nothing more to get rid of some unattractive older leases – and it puts incredible pressure on tenants. It’s one thing for a business to own their building and defer mortgage payments. Landlords have a business to run – and they need to make their mortgage payments.

There needs to be a creative solution that explores ways of sharing the burden between landlords, tenants, municipalities for property taxes, and federal government on the rent (they got us into this mess).

Sorry if this email sounds grumpy – I’m simply sad that there isn’t one ounce of creativity in leadership.

We are not identifying the company or the owners – that’s not the important part; what matters is the hollowing out that might take place.

Bromides from the support groups staffed by people who are going to be paid for the duration of this crisis isn’t enough.

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2 comments to It is very tough for the hospitality sector and for those small operations that cater to the private sector.

  • Stephen White

    “Bromides from the support groups staffed by people who are going to be paid for the duration of this crisis isn’t enough.”

    Right you are. So, where in this crisis is the Burlington Chamber of Commerce? All well and good that their website has a list of hyperlinks on who to contact for assistance, but so what? Ditto the Downtown Burlington Business Association. Nice cutesy videos on Home Workouts, but people whose businesses are going down the toilet want and need so much more. No point telling us to shop local when most of us can’t leave their house due to social isolation.

    About time the business community in this City “bellied up to the bar” and started to provide some real leadership instead of just mouthing platitudes. They can start by actively lobbying for significant, far-reaching changes at the provincial, federal and local levels, including:

    1) foregoing paying business and property taxes in the second and third quarters of the year;
    2) cutting payroll taxes to zero for six months for small to medium-sized business;
    3) instead of registering for assistance how about direct payments to small to medium-sized businesses to assist them in meeting their financial obligations;
    4) demanding the federal government take direct action and order large Canadian owned businesses to repatriate jobs from overseas back to Canada. Either move them back or face stiff financial tax increases and penalties;
    5) eliminating personal income taxes for one year for all Canadians earning less than $35K.

    And since this pandemic has been exacerbated by the intransigence, incompetence and blatant negligence of the Chinese government, how about pitching to the U.N. to ask China to pay financial reparations to countries around the world for the mess they’ve created? At the very least, let’s cut all foreign aid to China. We provided $18.6 million in 2015, $16.2 million in 2016, and $9.2 million in 2018. I can think of better places where this money could be spent right now here in my City.

  • Penny Hersh

    I refused to purchase hand sanitizer ( 60 ml) from a local shop because what would normally cost $2.00 was being sold for $5.00. Hand washing is the best thing but I was interested in keeping something in my purse when I had to go grocery shopping.

    I know that these are hard times for business, but when something like this happens in your community at this point in time it is upsetting. I will never use this business again.

    People will remember this when things go back to normal ( whenever that is).

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