Small business closures across Ontario

by: Kristy Kilburn, Tabitha Peters and Tess Ha

With covid-19 hitting small businesses, workers have found ways to keep busy and survive while staying at home.

Ever since March of 2020, the entire world went into a state of emergency because of the spread of covid-19.  Small businesses had to adapt to newer restrictions, and many people were forced to be laid off. After reopening places during the summer and then going into the second wave, lots of small businesses ended up going bankrupt. As Ontario was put into a stay-at-home phase in January 2021, small businesses struggled and are now looking to get grants just so they can keep their lights on.

We spoke to three workers in the GTA and Peel Region area

Nelson Bolarinho is a fitness trainer at Fitness Nation in Mississauga. After shutting the gym down, he had to resort to online classes. That was a challenge! He says it's not easy teaching clients at home using just a tablet, but it's still very productive on his end. He found a way to keep busy and still make money while Fitness Nation still remains closed. He spruced up his basement and bought new workout equipment to keep busy during lockdown.

The stay-at-home order for Toronto, Peel Region, and York Region was supposed to end on Monday, February 22, and businesses were eager to make sales again. But, that recently got extended for another two weeks according to the Ford Government.

Jiyeon Seo, owner of Nail by Yeon in North York, has been patiently waiting until lockdown is over. She’s taking this time to rest and to research more information about improving her business if another province-wide shutdown happens in the future.

Christina Miele from Ritual Hair and Beauty Salon says she can't wait to get back to work. Even though her business offered curbside pickup, they lost a lot of money and they can't wait to build back the business so it can flourish. During her spare time at home, she went back to school and is studying business at Humber College. She says online classes are different but she's very committed to getting her diploma.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business says that 181,000 small business owners considered shutting down since the new restrictions were put in place in January.

Perrin Beatty, CEO of The Canadian Chamber of Commerce says that they're looking for ways so that businesses can take action without waiting on the government's green light. Beatty says their group can help businesses with vaccinations and tests. Because if more lockdowns and restrictions happen, small businesses will be ruined.

So far, the Canadian Government is making sure that businesses do get their grants, and hopes everyone follows the new stages and restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

How small businesses are handling Ontario's lockdown

S@Y Television Reporter Tess Ha speaks with employees of small businesses across the Greater Toronto Area to understand how their lives have changed. She speaks with people from the beauty industry, as well as the fitness and health industry. Both of these industries are considered non-essential in Ontario and so, the employee's lives have truly been impacted.

Employees of small businesses share how COVID-19 impacted them


Every province in Canada has experienced how COVID-19 can quickly change the economy.

Small businesses were impacted greatly as their financial support is much lower than big-box retail stores. Due to this, many small businesses have had to change their operations. Many provinces implemented rules that allowed only a certain number of customers and employees in a store at a given time. This slowed down business and in turn, many small business employees were let go. This graph indicates how many small businesses remained fully open, fully staffed, and if they had normal sales over the past year.


Click on the image to expand.

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