How COVID-19 Affects Rural Business

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As times are changing daily, the challenges of doing business in rural areas grow
larger. Many businesses have successfully pivoted their products and services online, or
contact-free purchasing. However, not all businesses have the opportunity to do so.
They face many barriers, such as a lack of online knowledge, lack of personal resources, and
the largest being a lack of funding to initiate the above.

Many rural businesses have closed their doors upon hearing of restrictions due to COVID-19.
Most of these rural businesses are mom-and-pop operations that do not have the financial
resources or technology to shift their business online to keep up with the growing demand for
contactless retail. Many financial resources have become available to these businesses,
however, they must think about the long term effects of accepting business loans, keeping all of
their employees on staff during this outbreak, as well as maintaining safety as the priority.
Many businesses rely on seasonal events to generate enough income for the low
periods of business throughout the year. Now, many events have been canceled months in
advance, forcing owners to make hard choices such as layoffs, terminations, and permanently
closing their businesses.

1 in 4 Canadians do not have online literacy, meaning they just don’t understand the steps to
move their daily lives to an online platform. This translates into 6 million Canadians unable to
access the resources that are coming available to us.

These range from pivoting to an eCommerce platform to continue operations, applying and
understanding the new Canadian Emergency Response Benefit, getting factual information from
the internet through reliable websites, and even continuing their education for higher training.
With all of these changes, it is important, now, more than ever to help one another and offer any
support that you can. Whether it’s supporting a small business in your community, or lending an
electronic device to a neighbor to allow them to be connected to family.
You can make a difference in your community.

Stay safe, stay healthy.

Tristin Mabey

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