Rimouski wants to reboot its economy as quickly as possible

Rimouski souhaite redémarrer son économie le plus rapidement possible

The mayor of Rimouski wants the restart of the different economic activities in the territory of his city as quickly as possible.

April 24, 2020 19h04

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Rimouski wants to reboot its economy as quickly as possible

Rimouski souhaite redémarrer son économie le plus rapidement possible

Johanne Fournier

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The mayor of Rimouski wants the restart of the different economic activities of his city as quickly as possible. For Marc Parent, the companies and the shops that are not identified in the list of those considered essential by Quebec must be able to re-open because some of them are at the edge of the abyss. “We can’t consider living in a fishbowl for the next year”, lance-t-il.

“The closure of shops and businesses mean that several people have seen their income substantially reduced, positioning these people in situations which, often, could be precarious”, if ” sad Mr. Parent. It recalls that in mid-march, when the government ordered the confinement of the population, Quebec has witnessed a great movement of solidarity. “We all worked together and it was locked, supports the mayor of Rimouski. Currently, it’s probably the time that will be the most difficult of this whole saga associated with the COVID-19, the déconfinement.”

Marc Parent insists on it.”The situation will never return to normal. What has been experienced in the past and what we are living now, these are very different realities. The obligation to maintain strict hygiene measures will remain as long as a vaccine has not been distributed to the entire population.”

Herd immunity

The mayor approves “the need to create a herd immunity so that the ratio of spread of the virus may decrease, as mentioned by prime minister François Legault. “The Bas-Saint-Laurent, with its 34 case, is clearly the area least affected by the COVID-19,” said Mr. Parent. It is certain that the restart of the economy, the reopening of shops and, in the longer term, the reopening of the regions, will bring additional cases. Experts are of the opinion that a certain percentage of the population will be contaminated by the COVID-19 to be able to limit the damage in the longer term.”

If Marc Parent endorses the concept of herd immunity, it nevertheless recalls that a portion of the population must avoid contracting the virus: the elderly, who account for 85% of the deaths related to the coronavirus. This does not prevent the elected to affirm that older persons should be able, also, to go out and “continue to live”. It therefore exhort the merchants, and entrepreneurs from Rimouski to reflect on the possibility to offer time slots to give exclusive access to this customer.

Explosion of applications for financial assistance

Two weeks after the announcement of the program of an emergency fund by the government of Québec, the Société de promotion économique de Rimouski (SOPER), who is the manager for the RCM of Rimouski-Neigette, has received 200 applications for financial assistance, for a total amounting to$ 2 million. For the body, it is a never-before-seen, since it treats an average of 150 cases per year. “It gives a bit of an idea of the workload,” says the president and ceo of the SOPER. According to Martin Beaulieu, the challenge of all businesses is debt, or even debt. “The companies that are currently most affected are those services, which need a constant flow of customers, specifies-t-it. Restaurants and hair salons are extremely at risk.”

According to the boss of the economic development organization, these business people are eagerly waiting for the program related to commercial leases, as announced by Ottawa. “We know that the 1st of may is approaching quickly, raises Martin Beaulieu. It is clear that for the businesses that are tenants, the program of direct support will make all the difference because the largest item of expenditure is often the rent.”

Businesses ready to raise

The SOPER is not currently managing any record of bankruptcy or companies that have had to close their doors due to the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. “Most of the contractors have put in place the tips that have been given by people in the economic domain: they have preserved their cash, ensuring you spend the least possible and to review their business model,” says Martin Beaulieu, adding in the same breath that no one has rose-colored glasses for much.

Anyway, he feels that the contractors rimouskois prepare for the recovery. He hopes to give the lie to the forecasts from a survey conducted by the canadian Federation of independent business, which has predicted 25% of businesses could not get through the crisis if their incomes fell 50% over a period of a month. “It really is this fight that we are in the process of engaging with companies in Rimouski, drops Mr. Beaulieu. The stakes of recovery are many.”

Opening of the regions

In the opinion of Martin Beaulieu, economic activity will not start the next day. “Some companies and businesses will choose to re-open more quickly, others more slowly,” he warns. It should be borne in mind that in some companies, their suppliers may not be open and that they lack certain components to be able to operate. For other companies, it is necessary that they expect to have a minimum number of customers to be able to open. It is necessary to respect it and encourage those who are open.”For his part, Marc Parent ensures that the City of Rimouski intends soon to implement the various projects included in its three-year plan of infrastructure.

In addition, if the mayor of Rimouski does not wish the opening of the Bas-Saint-Laurent, for the moment, the CEO of SOPER recalls that the economic survival of Rimouski depends largely on the region. “Rimouski is a city of services, which serves a large part of the East-du-Québec, in advance Martin Beaulieu. The business assets of Rimouski is close to$ 1.3 billion and the Rimouskois consume nearly$ 600 million. Therefore, there are a lot of people from outside who come to eat in Rimouski, and there are a lot of companies rimouskoises that are open to the world.”

Le Soleil

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