Commercial sector is taking a terrible beating - the arts community isn't even being heard from; Performing Arts Centre is looking at a hole in the revenue side of more than half a million.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

April 22nd, 2020



Anita Cassidy, Executive Director of the Burlington Economic Development Corporation gave city council and very thorough briefing on just what the commercial sector was up against.

The focus was on the hospitality and tourism sectors.

It was not a pretty picture.

Annita Cassidy Hoey retirement

Anita Cassidy, Executive Director of the Economic Development Corporation.

Cassidy reviewed just how that wave that has engulfed us got here. It all started in China last November. We have all heard the rate at which this spread and the impact it has had – what’s important at this point is to realize that this pandemic is going to change the way we do business – quite what that shape the change takes is something we will be determining.

November 2019 – First Case Wuhan China
March 14, 2020 – Burlington Parks & Rec Facilities and Agencies closed to public.
March 16 – All City Facilities closed to public,
March 17 – Ontario declared emergency and closed

• All bars and restaurants to take out only
• Schools and Childcare
• Recreation facilities, libraries and theatres

March 21 – Federal Government Closed Border to non-essential travel
March 21 – Mayor Meed Ward Declared an Emergency in City of Burlington
March 24 – Province mandated closure all non- essential businesses for 14 days.
March 30 – Province extended mandated closure all non-essential businesses until April 13.
April 3 – Province reduced list of essential businesses.

Less than three weeks and the world as we knew it had been turned upside down.

The Premier moved into overdrive and has been transparent in making information available.

Cassidy, relying heavily on Toronto Board of Trade, set out what we know and what some people expect.

Impact length soc dist

Well over half don’t think they can last more than three months.


Hit to GDP


Speaking for what is being called Team Burlington – representing the Chamber of Commerce, the Burlington Downtown Business Association, the Restaurant and Hospitality group and the Economic Development Corporation Cassidy pointed to the Team Burlington COVID-19 Virtual Business Support Forum Series, a video conference series to provide businesses of all sizes with an opportunity to ask questions and hear from subject matter experts, as well as key leaders and decision-makers from all levels of government.

Business Strategy & Planning with DeGroote School of Business – April 28.

Angelo B

Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna

Angelo Bentivega, a small business operator and the Councillor for ward 6 asked Cassidy how council could help. “I realize,” he said “that for many of the small business owners that this is not only their business that is at risk – their major investment is also at risk.”

Everyone realizes that some operations that locked their doors three weeks ago may never get to open those doors again.

Moral support is about all the city can offer – the province and the federal government have programs – they all seem to ave strings attached to them.

BoT impact staffing

Burl labour demogrph

Eco implications

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2 comments to Commercial sector is taking a terrible beating – the arts community isn’t even being heard from; Performing Arts Centre is looking at a hole in the revenue side of more than half a million.

  • Stephen White

    Moral support and a business seminar. Is that it? Is that all Team Burlington has to offer? In the words of a song from the immortal American Blues singer, the great Peggy Lee,”Is that all there is”?

    Here are some free ideas Team Burlington can “run up the flagpole”:

    1) hire a website designer, create a central website, and have them work with all the small, at risk businesses in Burlington that do not currently have a website or internet presence. The website designer can help them create an ad or posting promoting their services, hours of operation, contact information, etc.
    2) on behalf of small business owners at severe risk, collectively approach their landlords and ask them to accept a reduced rental payment through the end of the year. Half a loaf is better than no loaf. If the “at risk” businesses go under the landlords are left trying to rent property in a depressed market.
    3) 2 hours free parking downtown from the time things open up to the end of the year.
    4) Approach the Burlington Post and the Burlington Gazette, and purchase advertising space in both printed and electronic format on behalf of the most severely “at risk” businesses to promote their products and services. Default to those with no internet presence or website.
    5) identify those business owners who want/have to sell, and facilitate discussions/meetings with recent immigrants or those wishing to buy a business.

    If Team Burlington doesn’t like the preceding, then fine: come up with some ideas of your own. However, for God’s sake, don’t just sit there and mouth platitudes like “We’re all in this together”. Moral support is wonderful, but it doesn’t put food on the table, pay the bills or keep a roof over one’s head. This is an existential crisis, and it’s high time the captains of industry in this community started demonstrating some real leadership.

  • Rob Allan

    I’m confused with the headline “the arts community isn’t even being heard from; Performing Arts Centre is looking at a hole in the revenue side of more than half a million”.

    The “sensationalist” heading is not addressed in the article!