Businesses around the BC region are ready to get back to a new normal and to start doing more business than last year. Despite making it through last year there are still many businesses around the region that might still be at risk of closing.
There are already a variety of shops that have closed for good, even well-known establishments too that couldn’t weather the storm of COVID-19.
During just the first few months of COVID-19 there were more than 14,000 businesses in the BC region that closed. There were many more to come.
Eventually we saw that more than 25,000 businesses would be closed around the BC region.
A great deal of those who did close were also unsure if they would ever reopen again. One survey found that about 40 percent of those in Vancouver who shut their doors were uncertain if that reopening in BC would come again for them.
That might have meant trying to go for online sales or investing more into their own property spaces to do outdoor dining, anything that could help to keep them afloat during the severe economic downturn that came with the pandemic.
Vancouver is a city that has a strong tourism industry and when international travel changed that instantly meant that many shops were looking at a drastic reduction in business. From salons to restaurants, retail outlets, and other places, they all dried up and sales drastically declined. That had a trickle-down effect as well to other small businesses in the region that cater to those businesses.
The BC Reopening Plan
BC officials have indicated that a BC reopening is on the way. If things go well then we could see more easing of those COVID-19 restrictions sometime this year. That might even be around summer, though that is highly optimistic given the COVID-19 variants that are spreading and accounting for an increasing number of cases in the province today.
The BC Restart Plan for the BC reopening has previously been announced, which comes in separate phases for that BC reopening which would take place gradually. Still, authorities encourage Canadians to stay home who are sick, avoid non-essential travel, and there are other COVID-19 restrictions that are still in place right now. But there does seem to be growing optimism with many questioning when that BC reopening will further unfold.
The province has already passed through several stages of that BC reopening plan. But still you can find a variety of businesses are restricted or even closed for business, like casinos in the region. There does appear to be more confidence though as we have been moving through those stages.
Some reports suggest that a good number of those in BC approve of these measures to move forward, while others have suggested we might be moving too fast. As far as opening the border with the U.S. for example, some say it might be too soon.
We still have businesses and anti-lockdown advocates protesting around the province, they recently had a Kelowna Freedom Rally to protest the restrictions, and we have seen the same in different regions of the country. They want the economy to open more, with restrictions to be eased, as they’re worried about what it might mean if those changes aren’t made.
Not all businesses will be able to survive an indefinite lockdown. Many weren’t prepared to closure that came for the many months that they were forced into last year and for a great deal of small businesses in BC that means never coming back.
Slowly we have seen things change with more services and shops reopening as a part of the gradual BC reopening phases.
Aside from anti-lockdown protests there have also been anti-mask rallies across the BC region as well. There are hundreds of people who have been seen at one rally or another, in Vancouver, Kelowna, and other areas around Greater Vancouver and BC.
One recent survey found that about 29 percent of respondents said they want to see BC reopening happening quickly, while others are okay with a slow gradual BC reopening to come. Those who are struggling more financially are likely to want a solution to come quicker rather than later, as opposed to those who might have the means to wait it out.
Even if things do reopen it doesn’t mean people will be comfortable with rushing out to go to the salon or gym, surveys show there is still a bit of nervousness when going to those places because of the pandemic. More guidelines are expected to be announced soon on a further BC reopening and what that might mean for things like indoor religious services and more outdoor social engagement etc. If things get worse with the COVID-19 variants then that could also mean a slowing of the BC reopening timeline.
There are still businesses around BC right now that have no clear idea when they might get the green light to open again. Officials have indicated they hope for a new normal by summer but that might be optimistic thinking, unless things go well.
If things go according to their plans though we could see more of a BC reopening with the coming weeks. Because of that uncertainty there are a variety of pandemic restrictions in BC that are not going to be lifted just yet. By summer we might see some more easing of those restrictions to changes with social gatherings and more.
Hurt the Most During Pandemic in BC
It has been found that slightly under 1 in 5 individuals in BC have said that their finances are moderately or significantly better now since before the pandemic.
But roughly 33 percent say that their financial situation is significantly or moderately worse. And these circumstances might play a meaningful role in how ready people are to get back to a new normal and get more aggressive with any BC reopening. Not everyone has been impacted the same and for some they need that BC reopening to happen a lot quicker than the others might.
At least for now, BC officials are expressing much more optimism than they were around this time last year. If things continue to go well, with vaccination distribution and decrease in cases etc, then we could see that BC reopening become realized much quicker.