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Restaurants, hotels could take more than 8 years to get back to pre-pandemic levels

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Overall, 30 per cent of Canadian small businesses reported their operations had returned to pre-pandemic levels

Even the best-performing sector, agriculture, only has 57 per cent of small businesses reporting revenue back to normal, according to the federation. Wholesalers follow at 39 per cent, then finance, insurance, real estate, leasing and retail at 35 per cent, it said. Overall, 30 per cent of Canadian small businesses reported their operations had returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Apart from hospitality, other sectors that underperformed the overall Canadian private sector, were enterprise and administration management companies with only 20 per cent reporting normal operations, only 23 per cent of arts, recreation & information businesses were back to pre-pandemic levels, and just a quarter of businesses operating in the natural resources sector had recovered all of the lost ground.

The pandemic’s first wave drained the rainy-day funds of many businesses and some aid programs were limited to loans, further hamstringing their options, Gaudreault said.

“So if a second wave hits us and we go back to certain business restrictions that had been lifted over the summer, this is then a dangerous place because the resilience won’t be there as much as the beginning of the pandemic and that’s where we might start to hit a rough patch,” the researcher said. 

The estimated average recovery period to reach pre-pandemic revenues is one year, five months, across all sectors, according to the federation. Natural resources companies might take two years, construction one year, 10 months; manufacturing one year, two months and recreation like golf courses and gyms a year and a month, the group says. 

“All Canadians can support local,” Gaudreault said. “Go on their neighbourhood’s main street a few times a week to support their local businesses. Those are things we need to do. Otherwise we’re going to continue on that L-shaped recovery and it’s going to be super tough for businesses.” 

Financial Post

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