Penticton survey shows more than a third of residents' jobs have been affected by COVID-19 - InfoNews

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Penticton survey shows more than a third of residents' jobs have been affected by COVID-19

A normally bustling Penticton Community Centre pool parking lot sits empty as the city deals with the COVID-19 pandemic. City council heard today nearly 40 per cent of working residents are being affected by the pandemic.
April 23, 2020 - 11:42 AM

Nearly 40 per cent of Penticton’s working residents have been impacted by COVID-19 pandemic measures, a recent survey by the City has revealed.

More than half the respondents also indicated they might not be able to pay their utilities and property taxes on time.

Penticton city council got a snapshot of early economic damage being caused to the city and its residents at a special meeting of council today, April 23.

Residents and business people were polled about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their financial situation between April 9 and 16.

City communications officer Philip Cooper told council 37 per cent of Penticton resident’s employment status have been impacted by COVID-19, with a least a quarter of residents surveyed saying they were impacted as a result of self-isolation.

The survey heard from 1,046 residents. Of those, 28 per cent were 65 or older, 53 per cent aged 40 to 64 and 19 per cent aged 20 to 39.

Cooper said 51 per cent of respondents were unsure whether they would be able to pay their City utility bill in two months’ time, and 52 per cent of respondents who said they were directly impacted by the pandemic reported they may not be able to pay their property taxes on time.

Cooper said those supporting the continuation of current capital projects in the city preferred those of an environmental nature, including flood protection and restoration of Penticton and Ellis Creeks, updating of climate action plans and the lake to lake bicycle route.

The City’s business survey divided respondents into consumer contact and non-consumer contact categories. The City received 330 responses, 294 of which were from Penticton.

Cooper said 75 per cent of the consumer contact based businesses indicated a "significant" economic impact compared to 53 per cent for non-consumer contact based businesses.

Almost half of the businesses surveyed responded to COVID-19 by closing (49 per cent) while 42 per cent reported increased cleaning procedures.

Nearly half of all businesses surveyed indicated they felt they could only continue operations for another one to three months under current conditions, with 64 per cent expecting to experience losses of 80 per cent or more during the pandemic.

Cooper said the top three ways the City could support business included:

  • providing a three month utility grant relief fund for residents
  • defer property taxes without penalty
  • refund business license fee for 2020.

Cooper said the survey results, unlike many City polls, only captured "a moment in time" as economic conditions and forecasts were changing daily due to COVID-19.

"It has a short shelf life," he cautioned council.

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