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HomeNewsQuesnel's Business Support Hotline is being recognized province wide

Quesnel’s Business Support Hotline is being recognized province wide

It looks like Quesnel’s business support hotline has been a success during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amy Reid, the Manager of Economic Development and Tourism with the City, went over the most recent results at this week’s City Council meeting.

“Only 7 percent of our businesses reported that they were down and were worried that they would have to close their business.   31 percent said that business was down but that they were adjusting,  37 percent said that business was down temporarily but is now pretty much back to normal, 23 percent said business was up, 2 percent said business was up and expanding.”

Reid said they connected with 291 businesses in total.

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The revenue numbers are also promising.

“Only 23 percent of our businesses would be eligible for the BC small and medium business grant due to a drop in revenue, 26 percent had some increase in revenue in 2020 compared to 2019, and 27 percent reported being roughly the same, the remainder had a drop in revenue but not enough to qualify for that grant.”

Reid also talked about some of the additional challenges that businesses noted.

“Inventory and supply chain concerns, that’s what is holding some businesses back at the moment, attracting employees especially during the CERB period, the COVID-19 protocols, and always having to adjust, and then just general COVID exhaustion, I think the community feels that, but the business community especially.”

Mayor Bob Simpson wondered what the numbers would like in a “normal” year.

“It would be very interesting to somehow continue to track this kind of data year over year, because I would be very curious what would a normal year look like, because there are businesses in a normal year that struggle.   To have only 7 percent down and at risk of closure, I don’t think that that is far off from what a normal year would likely be.”

Councillor Laurey-Anne Roodenburg, also the First Vice President at the Union of BC Municipalities, noted that the program’s success had been recognized across the province.

“We know this program has been absolutely amazing.   Even from my perspective, we’ve talked about it at UBCM, it was talked about twice at the BC Economic Development set of meetings that just happened, and I am actually going to be speaking about it again with BIA BC.   We’re talking about how the north is dealing with it.   It’s about how businesses can work with government instead of working in silos.”

Reid said that there is a generally positive picture in Quesnel, relative to what they’re hearing around the province, although she also recognized that Quesnel still did have some businesses that are really hurting, and there have been people laid off in the community.

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