COVID-19 to have “massive impact” on businesses: Centre Wellington chamber official

FERGUS – The financial impacts of the COVID-19 on businesses is going to be “massive,” said Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce general manager Dana Burdenuk.

“The financial impacts are going to be huge.”

For small businesses that means a cash flow problem.

“That’s going to probably be one of the largest issues for our small businesses is the cash flow,” she said. “If they are not producing or selling products or services and they still have to pay employees, cash flow is going to become a huge issue for them.”

She said the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce has made some additional information available to businesses.

“We’re trying to provide some practical workforce strategies and tools to help businesses through this,” she said. “And if we can do that and add value in that regard that’s what we’re here to do.”

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has also offered a few tips to help businesses approach changes happening during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The national chamber of commerce said businesses need to plan to include:

– staff absences for personal illness, ill family members, looking after children if schools close, feeling of safety being at home etc.) It may be the employee that decides to stay home or the government may authorize or require them to do so;

– disruption of essential services like information, telecommunications, financial services, energy supply and logistics;

– disruption to supply of necessary materials or contractors;

– a major increase or decrease in demand for products and services;

– cancellation or disruption of travel and cross-border movement of people and goods;

– cancellation of public meetings or gatherings like sports events, concerts or religious services;

– impact on the trade status of Canada or trading partners; and

– increased public fear that causes citizens to avoid public places, including front line retail and tourist–related attractions, restaurants and leisure businesses.

The national chamber had provided a guide to help businesses prepare for and manage the potential COVID-19 escalation in Canada as well as a templates for a crisis communications plan and a business continuity recovery plan. All can be found at

Burdenuk said it’s important to practice social distancing but it’s also important to support local businesses as well.

“It means taking precautions, being mindful of wiping your hands, using sanitizer, washing with soap and water … coughing into your sleeve or a Kleenex,” she said. “I think all of the precautions that we take are going to make the difference.”

Those who are sick should just stay home.

It’s confidence that’s key.

“We have to have consumer confidence and to do that we do have to maintain still somewhat of a regular day to day existence,” she said.

For businesses Burdenuk suggested posting their hours and consider different ways to take orders and have items packaged when the customer comes in for pick up.

“We all need to remind each other that we’re here to support each other,” she said.