CFIB News Release: Social distancing, customer safety and access to PPE top list of practical small business concerns as provinces reopen

Winnipeg, May 8, 2020 – Manitoba small business owners say that managing social distancing (53 per cent), keeping up with cleaning (53 per cent), making customers feel comfortable (51 per cent), knowing what the rules are (47 per cent) and access to PPE (44 per cent) are their top concerns as the government lifts restrictions and reopens the economy, finds a new survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

“Making more sales safely is mission critical for businesses who are trying to survive, so turning the corner on shutdowns is welcome news. It also brings practical challenges like figuring out how to make social distancing work, finding enough hand sanitizer and talking to employees about coming back to work,” said Laura Jones, executive vice-president at CFIB.

Nationally, other survey results include:

  • Three-quarters say it is critical to make more sales soon to survive and be less reliant on government subsidies
  • Half of business owners say they will need to make at least 75 per cent of their typical sales to make it worthwhile for their business to stay open through the summer
  • More than three quarters would prefer that governments create general guidelines rather than prescriptive rules for how businesses should operate when they reopen

“Earlier this week, the Manitoba government started its phased approach to restoring services safely with many businesses being able to reopen on May 4,” said Jonathan Alward, CFIB’s director, prairie region. “It is clear now that many businesses able to reopen have not yet done so, so it is essential that small businesses have access to required PPE and other tools and processes needed to operate as safely as possible for their staff and customers.” 

CFIB has a number of resources available for businesses to help transition to a new normal, including:

  • A “We’re Open” sign with information for customers and keep everyone safe that can be customized and links to provincial guidelines at
  • A new “PPEs for SMEs” Facebook group where business owners who need PPEs can find other business owners who are selling it
  • One-on-one help from CFIB’s Business Helpline to help with HR and other issues, temporarily available free of charge to any small business owner in the country who needs it at

“The PPEs for SMEs idea came from a business owner on one of our webinars who couldn’t find masks. Another business owner said she could help because her dog apparel company was making them,” said Jones. “Governments, consumers and associations all have a critical role to play in helping small business owners with a successful, safe reopening of the economy.”

To arrange an interview with Jonathan Alward, CFIB’s director, prairie region, please call 431-998-4498 or email You can also follow CFIB Manitoba on Twitter @cfibMB.

For media enquiries or interviews with Laura Jones, CFIB’s executive vice-president, please contact Milena Stanoeva, Media Relations Specialist, at 647-464-2814 or email

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members (4,800 in Manitoba) across every industry and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at