Statistics Canada will release its survey on the impact of COVID-19 on businesses in Canada on July 14, 2020. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Statistics Canada will release its survey on the impact of COVID-19 on businesses in Canada on July 14, 2020. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

One in five businesses face tough choices if COVID-19 lasts more than six months

Surevey results come as many businesses are looking at government programs or credit to remain afloat

A survey by Statistics Canada suggests that almost one in five businesses will look to further staffing cuts, bankruptcy or closing their doors if present COVID-19 conditions last for six months or more.

According to the survey released on Tuesday, 19.3 per cent of businesses could operate at their current level of sales and spending for less than six months but would have to take additional action if it lasts for a longer duration. Nearly 35 per cent of hotels and restaurants only have the runway for six more months of lockdown measures, says the survey conducted May 29 to July 3.

The results come as many businesses are looking at government programs or credit to remain afloat.

Almost 64 per cent of survey respondents said they were approved for outside credit or government funding programs such as Canada Emergency Business Account loans or wage subsidies. Less than 24 per cent of businesses said in the survey that their rent or mortgage payments were deferred during the pandemic.

While working from home has increased during the pandemic, only about a quarter of survey respondents indicated they would likely offer teleworking as an option going forward after COVID-19 spread is contained.

The version released on Tuesday was a follow-up to a crowd-sourced questionnaire on the Statistics Canada website, a collaboration launched in April, with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, that surveyed 12,600 businesses. The sample was not designed to reflect the overall Canadian economy.

The Canadian Press

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