A COVID-19 Economy Means Pressure for Live Venue Owners

One-third of Canadian small business fear they'll close in a month, including Calgary's Broken City
A COVID-19 Economy Means Pressure for Live Venue Owners
The impending economic downturn hastened by the coronavirus pandemic will not only affect artists, but small business owners as well — including venue owners. Some have identified a rash of closures in recent years as a crisis, and it's one that is poised to hit harder in the imminent future.

One such business is Calgary's Broken City, whose co-owner Andrew Brassard explained has lost around $45,000 in projected revenue since March 12. "It's such a complex situation, it really changes day by day. For the most part, I'm optimistic that we'll open the doors, but I'm not sure," he told the Calgary Herald.

As the Herald reports, a Canadian Federation of Independent Business survey of nearly 10,000 small business owners across the country found that one in three feel they won't be able to survive more than a month in current economic conditions.

Broken City officially closed its doors March 17. In a statement made that day, staff wrote that they were looking into the possibility of livestreaming performances that had been booked prior to the closure.

Brassard told the Herald that his first priority upon closing was to pay bar staff money owed, and cover insurance costs for the month, but wondered what would happen without a steady stream of revenue.

"At the end of the day, we're going to need support somehow," he said. "Unfortunately, so far what the government's done definitely doesn't support the bar industry."

The Canadian federal government's $82 billion aid package, announced last week (March 17) by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, includes $27 billion in direct support for individuals and companies and $55 billion in tax deferrals for households and businesses.

A few provinces eastward, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has allowed licensed bars restaurants to sell alcohol with food takeout or delivery orders between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m., effective immediately. Alcohol may also be sold for takeout or delivery through a third party, such as a food delivery service or ordering platform, with no application process or required fees.

Read about how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Canadian artists and follow Exclaim!'s list of Canadian music and film events affected by coronavirus.