Calgary small businesses scramble to survive coronavirus pandemic

The COVID-19 crisis has brought a huge blow to a lot of small businesses in Calgary, many of which are now in a desperate fight to survive.

“So slowly, one by one, we had to lay off our employees — everyone.”

After being closed for nine days, the restaurant has since reopened, responding to calls from customers wanting to purchase meals.

In compliance with a provincially-ordered closure of dine-in restaurants, Tiffin is relying on deliveries and other ways to serve people.

The pandemic has also brought big changes at the Bridgeland Market, a grocery store and deli.

“Mostly it’s curbside pickup,” store owner Yousef Traya said. “You can call and you can pick up your order and you just honk and we bring it out to your car.”

The store, which has been around since 1981, has also introduced a new delivery service.

The coronavirus crisis is also bringing major challenges for the family-owned Pisces Pet Emporium, which has had to lay off several staff members.

She said the store is providing an important service to people in self-isolation who need to continue providing proper care for their pets.

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“These animals still need to eat, these animals still need to chew on things,” Watkiss said. “A lot of animals have specialized diets — you can’t get that at the grocery store.”

She said the pandemic has also brought some new business to her store.

Constant change is now the only constant for many small businesses, as they take whatever steps they can to stay afloat.

“Every day is a new day — we don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow,” Bhatt said. “But it’s OK, we are all together, sailing in the same boat.”

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