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Social distancing, customer safety and access to PPE top list of practical small business concerns as provinces start reopening

Calgary, May 8, 2020 – Alberta small business owners say that managing social distancing (56 per cent), knowing what the rules are (54 per cent), making customers feel comfortable (53 per cent), keeping up with cleaning (51 per cent) and access to PPE (38 per cent) are their top concerns as governments start to lift restrictions and reopen the economy, finds a new survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

“Making more sales 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.

Other survey results include:

  • More than three-quarters say it is critical to make more sales soon to survive and be less reliant on government subsidies;
  • Nearly 40 per cent of business owners in Alberta 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.

“Last week the Alberta government released its phased approach to relaunching the economy with some businesses being able to reopen on May 14,” said Annie Dormuth, CFIB’s Alberta provincial affairs director. “Once reopened Alberta small businesses want to ensure they prevent the spread and protect their staff and customers. That is why it is essential small businesses have clear guidelines on operating their business and access to required PPE.” 

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 offer

“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.”

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Annie Dormuth
Alberta Provincial Affairs Director
[email protected]

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members (10,000 in Alberta) 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

May 8, 2020

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