COVID-19 Has Taken A Bite Out of the Signage Business
Sales of signage and similar print advertising has gone down 40% since lockdowns started in Ontario, Canada in April 2020. Matt Jackson is the owner and operator of Jackson Signs (https://www.signshopbrantford.com/). He recently crunched the numbers and compared his company’s revenue over the last 5 years. He found s significant decrease in sales. Matt says that customers are not only calling less but are not purchasing larger packages as businesses typically do.
The COVID-19 a global pandemic on March 11, 2020 by the World Health Organization. On March 17, Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency in Ontario and ordered daycares, bars, restaurants, theatres, private schools and some non-essential businesses to be closed. Brantford Ontario was put into a complete lockdown of all non-essential businesses on March 23, 2020. On July 20, Brantford passed a mandatory mask law, and on July 23 the city was put into stage 3 reopening. Matt Jackson says that business has not been the same since the lockdowns started in March.
While many essential services were permitted to remain afloat during the lockdown, the signage industry was not afforded this luxury although physical distancing was not an issue.
According to Mr. Jackson, “Signage companies don’t need to get close to customers to do their work. There is the odd time when I may be in the same room as a customer, but the process mostly involves communicating by email, printing the signage, and installing it. At all of these stages of the process it’s not necessary to be in close proximity to customers. “
Several cities in Ontario are now facing a second wave of Coronavirus cases which is raising the alarm with Public Health Ontario. On Saturday October 10, several regions in Ontario including Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa were put into a “modified Stage 2” lockdown where restaurants, bars, gyms, casinos, cinemas, museums and similar venues were ordered to close down.
Matt Jackson says “for restaurants and gyms it’s not easy to make sure everyone is physical distancing, but in my line of work its easy. If business like mine can stay open, at least we’ll keep the economy going.”
The Federal government has provided assistance to individuals and businesses affected by the lockdowns, but Matt says It’s not the same. “My business income has been substantially decreased even though the lockdowns in Brantford have been lifted. We’re trying hard to stay afloat but we’re afraid of what will happen if a second wave hits Brantford and if we’ll survive it”
CBC reported news of many high-profile companies have sought insolvencies and bankruptcies due to COVID-19 including Reitmans, Aldo, DavidsTea, Cirque Du Soleil, Mendocino, Sail, and FlightHub. As of June 2020, there were over 24 major retailers in Canada that were either closing their doors for good or declaring bankruptcy.
Matt Jackson says he hopes Premier Doug Ford will be careful about imposing future lockdowns and ensure local companies can stay in business if they can prove social distancing is not an issue.
When asked if he has any message for Brantford business owners, Mr. Jackson says “don’t be afraid to get your advertising projects done, especially if the company you choose practices social distancing, wears a mask and frequently washes hands and equipment—in these precarious times, it’s worth it advertising as much as possible.”
As of November 4, 2020, there are over 246,000 cases of COVID 19, with 10,328 deaths. Premier Doug Ford had also ordered that effective Monday October 18, York Region will move into a modified version of Stage 2 for a period of 28 days, but is currently considering re-opening parts of the province.
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