Business community bracing for impact

Historic Olde Walkerville, Windsor. Blackburn News file photo.

As new restrictions come into effect, the local business community is bracing for another tough winter.

Windsor Essex Chamber of Commerce President Rakesh Naidu is worried some businesses may not survive another round of closures as many owners have already exhausted all avenues to keep their businesses afloat.

“They’ve kind of hallowed out their entire life’s savings, they have put everything in, they have borrowed from wherever they can, they are paying, in some cases, high-interest rates from lenders,” said Naidu.

According to Naidu, a recent student suggests that after the many rounds of government restrictions, Ontario businesses are on average 180,000 in debt. It’s estimated about 1 in 6 businesses will not recover.

Even though many businesses are allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity this time around, many businesses will choose to close because it is not worth the overhead costs to stay open.

As of 12:01 Wednesday all restrictions came into effect and will last until January 26. Restaurants and bars are now closed to indoor dining, gyms have been ordered to close and retail and personal service providers are only allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity.  A full list can be found here.

While Premier Doug Ford said programs will be introduced to support businesses, Naidu said businesses cannot afford a long wait period.

“They need ways to minimize the outflow of cash, they need processes to be streamlined, they need easier and faster access to programs,” said Naidu.