How’s your global pandemic going? For many small-business owners across Canada, years of hard work came crashing to a halt this week when it became painfully clear that they would have to shut down their operations immediately and indefinitely because of COVID-19. A state of emergency has since been declared in Ontario, B.C., and Alberta, with bars, restaurants, and other non-essential services ordered to close.
While today the federal government announced a $82 billion federal-aid package (including a 10% wage subsidiary for business owners and access to credit), the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to continue to have major effects on the economy. Small businesses across the country have not only lost their incomes, they've had to say goodbye (for now) to their lifelong passion projects and lay off staff members who are like family.
Here, eight women and non-binary entrepreneurs tell Refinery29 what it was like to make the decision to close up shop and what Canadians can do to support local businesses during this difficult time.