Charlottetown, PE – The Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce responded to the Province’s recently released economic and fiscal update.

“PEI’s diverse economy, population growth, and our ability to manage Covid-19 cases has allowed us to weather the pandemic better than other jurisdictions, however there is a harsh reality that settles in when you see a decrease of 3.9%,”said Penny Walsh-McGuire, Chamber CEO. “While a number of areas of our economy continue to show momentum, the economic growth that PEI has celebrated over the last few years has taken a major hit in just six months.”

With the number of people unemployed increasing by 8.2% from 2019, the Chamber notes that the broad reach and impact of the pandemic on PEI’s tourism sector should not be downplayed.

“The devastation faced by our tourism and hospitality industries including accommodations and food and beverage is contributing to the decline in employment and the economy overall, but it goes beyond those service industries. Transportation, tour operators, meetings and conventions, culture, sporting events, attractions, some retail, related suppliers and services. The list goes on,” says Walsh-McGuire. “The restrictions on tourism visitation combined with an almost overnight transition to work-from-home have created a ‘perfect storm’ for many businesses.”

The Chamber adds that government supports for business have been timely, however bridging through the fall and winter months with less reserves and uncertainty about 2021 is going to be a huge challenge.

“The adaptability and resiliency that our business community has shown is remarkable,” says Walsh-McGuire. “With that, many are still struggling to make ends meet under the current conditions and many will be making some tough decisions about their future. It will be incredibly important for government and industry to work closely together over the coming months as the results of this work will have a lasting impact on our communities and PEI as a destination.”