Latest chamber business survey reveals desire for continued government support amid pandemic

The survey — the fourth in a series dealing with the pandemic’s impact on the bottom line — touched base with those operating 1,401 chamber-member businesses, including 78 in Kamloops.

The latest survey by the BC Chamber of Commerce has found that just more than half of business owners queried in Kamloops have used some form of government support.

The survey also found businesses expect substantial negative impacts should the government programs expire too quickly.

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“The survey responses point to concerns around the duration of government supports, as the fear is that government support programs will expire prior to a return to normal business levels,” Kamloops Chamber of Commerce president Tyson Andrykew said.

“We will require our elected officials in both provincial and federal governments to be nimble and efficient in their decision-making on the future of these programs, and that they ensure that extensions in these programs are considered if we continue to see this severely reduced economic activity.”

The survey — the fourth in a series dealing with the pandemic’s impact on the bottom line — touched base with those operating 1,401 chamber-member businesses, including 78 in Kamloops.

While the provincial government has a $1.5-billion recovery plan, business owners sat they are not particularly confident the recovery plan will help their firms succeed or survive.

According to the survey, only 18 per cent of business owners surveyed are confident, compared to 43 per cent that are not confident.

Kamloops business owners have fared better than the provincial average on a few key findings:

• Kamloops businesses have laid off 4.2 employees in the past two weeks, compared to the B.C. average of 5.7 employees.;

• Fifty-six per cent of Kamloops businesses polled are utilizing the government support programs, compared to the B.C. average of 65 per cent.;

• Eight per cent of Kamloops businesses polled do not anticipate bringing back all/most employees back, in comparison to B.C. businesses as a whole, at 13 per cent. 

The Kamloops Chamber of Commerce asked what Kamloops-specific challenges require municipal-level support to overcome current challenges in doing business.

Here are some responses:

• “Outdated bylaws that impede business adapting to new normal. Example: parking stall requirements.”

• Change the mindset of residents to be more receptive to tourism activity in the community. Local businesses need tourism support to survive and cannot rely on the buy local initiative currently being promoted.”

• “Reduce red tape for small businesses looking to pivot and stay afloat with innovative ideas.”

The complete Kamloops-specific report can be found on the local chamber’s website, which can be found here.

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