How are local businesses being affected?

Edmonton businesses are struggling, with 50% indicating they may shut down.

The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce has been sending out a weekly survey to its members, to better understand the impact of the pandemic. The most recent results were collected between April 20 and 26. 

Local businesses have indicated that they are still struggling and there is a lot of uncertainty around the future. More than 50% expect to go out of business during the pandemic. To make matters worse, 61% had layoffs during the fourth week of the pandemic. 

“I think I’d use the term ‘alarming,’” Chamber president Janet Riopel told CTV News. “We’re just saying that week over week, this is getting worse.”

Non-essential businesses were initially ordered to close by Alberta's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, on March 27. As of April 16, only 13 businesses had received orders to comply with the measures, indicating many are taking the restrictions seriously. On May 14, certain businesses, including hair salons and restaurants, were allowed to reopen with restrictions under the Stage 1 guidelines set out by the Alberta government. 

Despite the concern over how COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on the local economy, there are some bright spots. 

Small businesses are banding together more than ever before, teaming up to create platforms which offer products from multiple vendors like Good Goods Co. or Steve & Dan's Fresh BC Fruit. There are also uplifting initiatives to support the city's business community, like Edmonton Made's Power Hour — where they matched every local gift card purchased between noon and 1 p.m. on April 9. (Edmonton Made posted on April 17 that it had "received a much greater response than it expected" and had missed some entries, but would not match any further gift cards; after an outcry, it apologized and said it would honour all valid entries.)

Some businesses have also pivoted to help fight the pandemic, such as Gear Halo, which is producing barrier masks for health-care workers. And many vendors have quickly shifted to offering contact-free pickup and delivery as a way to bolster their sales. 

Published By:
Emily Rendell-Watson

Emily Rendell-Watson

Friday, April 17, 2020



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For the latest updates on the COVID-19 pandemic, see,,, and the World Health Organization.