Canadian Manufacturing

Social distancing, customer safety, access to PPE top list of SME concerns: CFIB

Half of business owners say they will need to make at least 75% of their typical sales to make it worthwhile for their business to stay open through the summer

May 8, 2020  by CM Staff

TORONTO — Small business owners say that managing social distancing (64%), keeping up with cleaning (55%), making customers feel comfortable (53%), knowing what the rules are (52%) and access to PPE (48%) are their top concerns as governments start to lift restrictions and reopen the economy, finds a new survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

“Making more sales is mission critical for businesses who are trying to survive, so turning the corner on shutdowns is welcome news. It also brings practical challenges like figuring out how to make social distancing work, finding enough hand sanitizer and talking to employees about coming back to work,” said Laura Jones, executive vice-president at CFIB, in a prepared statement.

Other survey results include:

  • Three-quarters say it is critical to make more sales soon to survive and be less reliant on government subsidies
  • Half of business owners say they will need to make at least 75% of their typical sales to make it worthwhile for their business to stay open through the summer
  • More than three quarters would prefer that governments create general guidelines rather than prescriptive rules for how businesses should operate when they reopen

CFIB has a number of resources available for businesses to help transition to a new normal, including:

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  • A “We’re Open” sign with information for customers to keep everyone safe that can be customized and links to provincial guidelines.
  • A new “PPEs for SMEs” Facebook group where business owners who need PPEs can find other business owners who are selling it
  • One-on-one help from CFIB’s Business Helpline to help with HR and other issues, temporarily available free of charge to any small business owner in the country who needs it


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