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Small businesses in Hay River – like all businesses everywhere – have taken a hit from Covid-19.

However, it is at trying times like these that the strength of small businesses in Hay River shines through.

As far as we can tell, business has continued on in Hay River, although not as usual, of course.

Some businesses have cut back hours and some jobs have been impacted, and virtually all have had to adjust to government restrictions on their operations, especially the number of people allowed into buildings.

Small businesses come and go all the time, so it is not easy to know which may have been the most impacted by Covid-19 unless they say so. When it closed in April, Yuki Japanese restaurant very clearly said it was because of lost business due to a government ban at that time on dining in at restaurants.

Other small businesses seem to be surviving, as they like everyone else wait for the pandemic to pass and better times to return.

Of course, there is no way of knowing how many businesses might have started this year but didn’t because of the economic uncertainty created by Covid-19. If that has happened, we hope the would-be entrepreneurs are just keeping their powder dry and will be ready to go for their business dreams once the pandemic has passed.

We always admire people with the entrepreneurial spirit. It undoubtedly requires a combination of cash and courage, and you can sometimes lose your cash, but never your courage.

So we completely understand if some entrepreneurs are holding off for a while. We would also do that, if we had any cash or enough courage to think about starting a business.

It has been a challenge for everyone in the year of Our Lord 2020. (Just as a side note, we checked if we were correctly using ‘in the year of Our Lord 2020’ after writing the previous sentence. It turns out that A.D. – as in 2020 A.D. – stands for Anno Domini, a Latin term which translates to ‘in the year of Our Lord.’ Honestly, we never knew that.)

But back to business.

The year 2020 A.D. has proven that small business in Hay River is resilient.

We’re not going to gloss over the fact that Covid-19 has been difficult for everyone, but having to face hard times is not the question, since hard times happen.

How you face hard times is definitely the most important thing.

So during this Small Business Week – observed across Canada from Oct. 18 to Oct. 24 – we all should appreciate the contributions of small business to the economic health of Hay River and the NWT.

According to the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), which sponsors Small Business Week, a small business is defined as having from five to 99 employees.

Needless to say, that would include the vast majority of companies in Hay River and the NWT.

So the economic success – and survival in 2020 – of small businesses is important to everyone.

It is encouraging to see that they appear to have been able to adjust to Covid-19 and continue on in the face of the pandemic.

Surviving during hard times is a sure sign of a strong small business sector.

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Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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