Omicron worrying restaurant owners in Ontario, B.C.

Restaurant owners have some serious and understandable concerns over the rise of the Omicron COVID-19 variant and the effect it may have on their business.

Infection rates and hospitalizations are climbing again across Canada and the U.S. due to both the Delta variant that has been present for the last few months and the newer Omicron variant.

Alignable’s Omicron Pulse Poll shows that 53 per cent of Canadian small business owners are worried that the latest COVID variant will hurt their recoveries. That’s higher than the level of concern seen in the U.S., where that figure was 44 per cent.

The most nervous business owners are those in hospitality and foodservice, who have been hit so hard throughout the pandemic already.

Travel and lodging topped the list as an astounding 70 per cent of these professionals said they’re worried about Omicron hurting their businesses. That was closely followed by 69 per cent of restaurant owners.

The majority of small business owners polled from Ontario (58 per cent) and British Columbia (53 per cent), have expressed Omicron concerns. However, only 36 per cent of Alberta’s business owners are worried about the variant. 

Alignable’s survey also asked what small business owners are doing to prepare for Omicron, and 40 per cent said they are increasing basic safety procedures, including wearing masks and urging people to stay six feet apart again. 

Other popular answers for this multiple-reply question were getting a booster vaccine (23 per cent) and investing more in marketing for their business (21 per cent). On the other hand, nearly a quarter of respondents (24 per cent) said they are not doing anything different.