Small businesses struggle as more are forced to close in response to COVID-19

The list of businesses required to close are growing by the day.

During a press conference in Halifax on Wednesday, Premier Stephen McNeil announced effective Thursday, personal services and fitness establishments including hair salons, barber shops, nail salons, body art establishments and gyms must shut down.

This follows the announcement from Tuesday that restaurants would have to close their doors by Thursday, leaving only the ability to offer take-out or delivery. All drinking establishments are also required to shut down.

So far, retail is allowed to remain open. But already many stores are choosing to close, from larger chains like IKEA, to smaller stores like Biscuit General Store on Argyle street in Halifax.

The decision to close has been difficult, but safety is cited as a top priority. And  for many, sales just aren’t there.

A recent survey by CFIB has found that 50 per cent of small businesses have reported a drop in sales due to COVID-19, with a quarter saying they won’t survive a month if the pandemic continues to significantly cut their income.

For the Maritime Tartan Company, a small businesses that runs out of a home in the North End, March was supposed to be a busy month.

“We were supposed to do some work for the Junos, the East Coast Music Awards, and for the cruise pavilion and a lot of small tourist stores,” said owner Sherrie Kearney. But over the past week that’s all been cancelled.

“We’ve pre-ordered of course fabric to make all these things,” said Kearney. “Now we don’t have the orders.”

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