Covid 19 and Our Economy -
1 Year Later!
by Scott A. Sumner
It’s been about one year now since the onset of COVID-19 in our worldwhich has affected much of the economy. The first case in Canada was admitted to Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto after the 50 year old male had just traveled from Wuhan,China.Canada as of January 15th, 2021 has had 681,328 cases and 17,383 deaths. On January 13, 2021 Thunder Bay District Health Unit area has had 689 confirmed case with 83 active, 583 resolved and 23 deceased. There were 3 patients hospitalized with 2 in the ICI.
So what have we learned in the last year
I tend to ask a lot of questions to business people that you meet and there are always a wide variety of answers. Generally though COVID 19 has had far reaching implications for most people and business.
Air Canada is back in operation with jet service flying people to Toronto with it looks like 2 flights a day. On the other hand Porter Airlines has extended their complete shut down to March 29,2021 which
will mean over a 1year complete shutdown for them as they first grounded their planes on March 21st, 2020. Westjet seems to have 1 flight a day to Toronto. Overall the Thunder Bay airport traffic was tremendously down which is quite an economic barometer.
Hotel occupancy is down and some major hotels have had shut downs completely.
Restaurants have indoor seating restrictions again and can only offer >take out service which will be very difficult if in place for a long time.
Retail was coming back but the new lockdown means mostly curb side pickup.
Gyms had reopened with very strict protocols in place, but now are closed again.
It is sad so many deaths from COVID 19 have occurred across the world including Canada and our neighbour to the south.We have had most of our local deaths in a senior living home, which experience a significant Covid 19 outbreak
The most promising news for everyone is the arrival of Covid 19 vaccines. As reported last month in this publication they have started to be administered to high risk groups in Thunder Bay. It has been announced by Prime Minister Trudeau that they expect all Canadians will have the opportunity to be vaccinated by September of this year.That is great news although seems quite far away from today.I continue to be impressed with the job done by our governments. Prime Minister Trudeau and his government have done quite a bit could to try and soften the blow for Canadians. To have over 8 million people at one time receiving the CERB benefit and it being followed up by the Canada Recovery Benefit has to have been a big help to many families. The wage subsidy benefit of up to 75% of wages has helped businesses move forward as best as possible. It has been extended. The loan program of $40,000 available to some small businesses is a good program and has been extended. There is a top up of an additional $20,000 for some >applicants. There are many other financial programs which have helped many.
It is nice to see many press events with Canada and Ontario. The Thunder Bay municipal government have made many good decisions to respond to Covid 19. Our government leaders have worked well together!
We are lucky to have the Port of Thunder Bay which continue to experience excellent results during this time. Their services are in high demand and created decades high tonnage this year
So what’s next? What can we expect?It’s sort of hard to tell I think. How will the consumer react after all of this isolation protocol? Will they feel comfortable going to a restaurant, concert or movie again? Will you be able to socially distance 6 feet for the future? How will that affect the cost of doing business? Can a restaurant make it until normal conditions return? If you are flying to Toronto will you want to be on a packed flight. Could the airline make it on low occupancy and how will that affect ticket pricing?
It is definitely somewhat unknown and will require new ways of doing things specific to your business.
The best answer will be the vaccine for everyone which would allow for somewhat normalcy. Even then the average person may not want to return to the old ways.
I guess all of us will be watching as we continue on in this COVID 19 environment