Five businesses have closed in Castlegar since the start of the COVID-19 crisis in March, according to Castlegar and District Chamber of Commerce executive director Tammy Verigin-Burk.
Burk said results from a recent Chamber survey showed many businesses owners have faced challenges like loss of income/revenue, customers not following COVID-19 protocols, a decrease in the number of people visiting their store and fatigue and burnout with staff.
Businesses owners also expressed concerns about the unpredictability of the crisis in the months ahead.
“A couple of the businesses decided to close because they were worried about a second wave from the crisis,” said Burk.
“The businesses have decided to reopen in the spring or to re-evaluate what they’d like to do at a later date.”
Several other businesses said they were unable to open due to provincial health orders, WorkSafeBC standards, lack of employees or fear of reopening.
Despite the closures, Burk notes the crisis hasn’t hit Castlegar businesses as hard as other places.
“Castlegar has the fewest businesses I know of that have closed in the Kootenays,” said Burk.
“While it is very unfortunate when any business has to close, some business owners in Castlegar were already looking at closing prior to the crisis. One business owner was waiting to transition into a new store in the spring and thought it made sense to be closed now while another business owner recently moved to Nelson and she was on the fence of what her plans were.”
The businesses weren’t named in the survey because some hadn’t publicly announced their plans.
The chamber surveyed staff from as many of the 600 businesses in Castlegar as possible in May to get a better understanding of what issues they faced during the crisis and what help they needed.