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New polling data: Consumers feel safer shopping at small businesses over big box stores

93 per cent of Canadians support continuing to allow small retailers to serve a limited number of people

Winnipeg, December 8, 2020 – Nine in 10 consumers say that provinces should allow small, local retailers to remain open with a limited number of customers, according to new public opinion research conducted by Maru/Matchbox on behalf of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). CFIB urges the Ontario and Manitoba governments to swap current restrictions in lockdown regions with enhanced rules to allow small firms to open for in-store shopping with a strict capacity limit and recommends all provinces avoid blanket-style retail lockdowns at this critical season.

“If reducing time spent indoors in crowds is the objective, consumers understand that shopping in neighbourhood small businesses is a better choice,” said Dan Kelly, President at CFIB. 

Nearly three quarters of Canadians said they feel safer shopping at a small local business with reduced capacity than at a big box store such as Costco or Walmart.

  CAN BC AB SK MB ON QC ATL
If small retailers are required to be closed for in-store shopping, 'big box' stores should not be allowed to sell similar items either 78% 73% 77% 73% 85% 76% 82% 81%
The government should allow small, local retailers to remain open with a limited number of customers in the store at a time 93% 96% 88% 91% 86% 93% 95% 95%
I feel safer shopping at a small local business with reduced capacity, than at a busy 'big box' store such as Costco/Walmart 72% 69% 68% 79% 70% 72% 76% 76%
If small retailers are required to be closed for in-store shopping, 'big box' stores should not be allowed to sell similar items either 78% 73% 77% 73% 85% 76% 82% 81%

 

CFIB has proposed a "Small Business First" COVID-19 Retail Policy that would:
Allow all small retailers to open to sell non-essential items in-store (in Manitoba), but with very limited capacity for customers and public-facing staff
Limit customers to three per store for a fixed time for personalized shopping
Limit the store to three public-facing staff to help customers shop as efficiently as possible from a safe distance
Encourage pre-booking appointments, to avoid long lines outside the store
Require all businesses to sign the POST Promise 
Continue to encourage customers to shop by curbside pickup or delivery

“To date, no other province has implemented Ontario’s bizarre rule to shut tight small retailers who may have a few in-store customers per day while allowing lines to grow at big box stores selling similar goods. While Manitoba’s rules are equally restrictive on small firms, they are at least fair as big box stores are also prohibited from selling non-essential goods,” Kelly noted. 

“In Manitoba, its still not too late to save the important holiday season for small retailers,” added Jonathan Alward, CFIB’s director, prairie region. “Small businesses want to play an important role to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and can help do so by providing safe, controlled environments for customers and staff.”

For media enquiries or interviews with Dan Kelly, CFIB’s President, please contact Milena Stanoeva, Manager of Public Affairs, at 647-464-2814 or email public.affairs@cfib.ca.

To arrange an interview with Jonathan Alward, CFIB's director, prairie region, please call (431) 998-4498, or e-mail msman@cfib.ca. You can also follow CFIB Manitoba on Twitter at @cfibMB.

Source: Maru/Matchbox COVID-19 online tracking survey among 1,510 Canadian adults aged 18+ on December 4, 2020. Margin of error of +/- 2.5%, nineteen times out of twenty. www.marureports.com/coronavirus

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members 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. 
 

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