23 Feb How is the ‘Freedom Convoy’ affecting small businesses?
The ongoing spread of COVID-19 has been affecting business at an alarming level, but there has been a new curveball thrown at businesses located in city streets, like Ottawa. The city and many others have had to deal with the recent ‘Freedom Convoy’ protest, contesting COVID-19 protocols and mandates.
What is the Freedom Convoy? The Freedom Convoy is a group of Canadian protestors that are fighting against the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and mandates. This protest started with truck drivers who were having issues with COVID-19 protocols, but the movement has since extended to other Canadians who are just tired of following these government-regulated rules. This group of protestors are looking for vaccine mandates, capacity limits, and all other safety precautions to be lifted.
The group is known for driving in their trucks with Canadian Flags, while honking their horns demanding for “freedom” (no more COVID-19-related mandates). There have been displays of very serious hate towards Prime Minister Trudeau and the Canadian Government – and they have been deemed a very serious threat to the public, hospitals, and government officials.
The Freedom Convoy has made stops in cities like Windsor, Ottawa, and Toronto – but this protest has been ongoing in the ByWard Market in Ottawa where many small businesses surround this protest location.
Small businesses have been greatly impacted by COVID-19. They have had to deal with mandates, capacity changes, closures, financial stress – and now these small businesses in Ottawa are being impacted even more because of the Freedom Convoy.
As COVID-19 protocols are lessening, these owners were looking forward to re-opening and getting back on their feet. However, the protestors have made the transition nearly impossible.
Some of the small businesses have admitted that they have received a multitude of cancellations. There are businesses admitting to a 75% drop in customers and others who say that this is the worst their business is doing since the beginning of the pandemic. People that would visit these businesses are leaving town because of the noise and the feeling they are unsafe.
The Ottawa Coalition of Business Improvement Areas (OCOBIA) has taken a survey to get a sense of how much this protest is impacting their businesses. The results were that 75% have lost revenues, 48% have closed, and at least 50% admit to having problems even getting to their jobs safely.
Where do small businesses go from here? The Canadian Government is doing their best to control the protests, but they are not certain that their methods will influence protestors to leave. Businesses that are impacted by the protest will have to lean into what they can control and continue to follow policies and mandates they have in place to keep themselves and their customers safe.
If you are a small business owner who needs help creating policies for safety protocols or vaccine mandates, please contact KCY at LAW by filling in an online consultation request or contact us by phone at 905-639-0999 to book your consultation today.