WINNIPEG -- New numbers show it could take years for small businesses to recover from losses related to the COVID-19 pandemic in Manitoba and across the country.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released revenue recovery projections based on current progress which shows it will take more than a year for most small businesses to recover, though for some it could take up to eight years.

Like many small businesses, the Amsterdam Tea Room and Bar has been shaken up by the pandemic, starting with the forced closure in the spring.

“This year since March has been pretty bleak,” said Mark Turner, the owner of the tea room.

Since reopening, Turner said customers have returned both inside and out, but he said he believes it will take years to get back financially to where he was pre-pandemic.

“It’s still a bit of a struggle, especially now we'll be losing the patio and we’re going to be just inside at less than half capacity,” he said.

The new projections from CFIB show it will take smaller Canadian businesses on average one year and five months to return to normal revenue levels based on how the recovery is going now.

There are a number of sectors where the recovery timelines are longer:

  • The restaurant and hotel sector, estimated recovery in eight years and three months
  • Staffing agencies and building management, estimated recovery in five years and four months
  • Law firms and accounting, estimated recovery in two years and seven months
  • Finance, insurance, real estate and leasing services, estimated recovery in two years and two months
  • Construction, estimated recovery in one year and 10 months
  • Dry cleaning and mechanics, estimated recovery in one year and six months

Jonathan Alward, the director of provincial affairs for the Manitoba branch of CFIB, said the projections don’t factor in: a vaccine, restrictions being lifted and people taking proper measures to keep cases numbers low.

“If it’s safe for you to do so, we certainly need everyone going out and supporting small businesses right now," Alward said. "It’s critical to this recovery that we all think about."

Turner is thinking about it and feels, while a full recovery will take time, it is possible.

“That’s the dream," he said. "I’m confident that we can get back there.”

Other CFIB stats for Manitoba show 74 per cent of small businesses are now open and 49 per cent are fully staffed.