CALGARY -- Instead of imposing restrictions on small businesses in Alberta for a third time, an advocacy group is calling on the province to consider other options to combat the rising wave of COVID-19 infections.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business, in a recent survey, found that two-thirds of small businesses would use COVID-19 rapid tests on customers if it otherwise meant they would have to close their doors.

The CFIB says provincial governments have "millions of rapid tests sitting in warehouses" and now is the time to implement policies to use them.

"It is unconscionable that over a year into the pandemic governments continue to rely almost exclusively on blanket lockdowns," said CFIB president Dan Kelly said in a release last week.

"The first two shutdowns were devastating with one in six businesses considering permanent closure, for an estimated 181,000 permanent small business closures expected across the country. A third round will only ensure that number grows higher."

To make matters worse, the CFIB also says a number of governments, including Alberta, have closed grant applications "as new lockdowns loom."

"Lockdowns do not stop bills from coming in," Kelly said. "Small businesses are tired of being a scapegoat for governments’ lack of planning or foresight.

"Too often businesses are closed to send a message to the public to stay home while there is scant evidence that shopping at a local store, getting a haircut or having dinner with the family is a real danger to public health."

calgary, alberta, small business, covid-19, covid

You can also learn more about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on small businesses by consulting the CFIB's Small Business Recovery Dashboard.