While the pandemic is hitting merchants head-on, an entrepreneur from Rimouski has decided to show his dismay by writing “Company at the end of its breath” in large letters in the window of his business.
“It was a big pang in my heart when I put the letters in the window, but what has to be done, has to be done. We’re in survival mode, ”said Jean-Martin Beaulieu, owner of the Beaulieu Collections boutique in Rimouski.
To survive the pandemic, the entrepreneur had to resort to various provincial and federal government programs. So far, the entrepreneur has received a grant of $ 20,000 from the federal government and has accumulated some $ 140,000 in loans from both levels of government.
“These loans, I will have to repay them eventually. […] We are small SMEs, we do not make $ 150,000 in net profits per year, it will take 10 years to pay back all that, to make another profit, ”he told TVA Nouvelles.
He hopes that his initiative will snowball and that other traders will follow suit, display their dismay and mobilize so that the government hears their cry from the heart.
“We want answers, we want to be heard, we want a plan, we want to know where we’re going! The provincial government has an incredible opportunity to take the bull by the horns before all this falls, ”he added.
The Rimouski-Neigette Chamber of Commerce and Industry agrees.
“At the federal level, there are many programs that exist, but the Government of Quebec, which is taking coercive measures, their help is slow in coming. The programs exist, but it is a long time before it ends up in the coffers of our merchants, ”said the president of the Rimouski-Neigette Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Guillaume Sirois.
A desired color change in the east
Elected officials from Eastern Quebec were numerous on Monday to request relaxations following the current confinement.
“I think there was an effort to be given now, but after the curfew period, we should return to the yellow zone,” said the mayor of Sept-Îles, Réjean Porlier.
“If we can get up more quickly and have a more sustained economic recovery at home, why deny it”, added the deputy for René-Lévesque, Martin Ouellet.
The mayor of Rimouski, Marc Parent goes further. “Let us take advantage of the opportunity that is offered to us now, secure Eastern Quebec, take advantage of the very low number of cases to restart businesses,” he suggested.
The decision has not yet been taken by the government, which assures us, however, that aid programs would be enhanced if the confinement were to be prolonged.