Half of respondents said the pandemic has left them with fewer assets and less work

B.C. may have avoided the worst ravages of COVID-19, but the outbreak has hit many residents where it hurts. On behalf of BCBusiness, Mustel Group recently asked 530 British Columbians how safely they think the provincial government is reopening the economy—and if the pandemic has affected them financially.

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From a safety perspective, B.C. residents feel confident about the provincial government’s approach to reopening, says Mustel Group general manager Josh O’Neill, who notes that more than one quarter of poll respondents were very confident.

The takeaway: “B.C. has received wide praise for its steady-handed response to the pandemic, which may explain the high degree of confidence among the general public in the government’s back-to-work strategy.”

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Across all regions of the province, half of households have been financially impacted, most often resulting in less assets and/or savings, reduced work hours and/or pay, and job loss.

The takeaway: “These figures illustrate the staggering financial impact of the pandemic on B.C. households and its pervasive effect on all parts of the economy,” O’Neill explains.

Those under 35 years of age were most likely to be financially affected and least likely to express confidence in the government’s ability to address the safety of residents and businesses.

The takeaway: “It’s not a huge surprise that this group may have some reservations about how well prepared we are to get back to work,” O’Neill says. “They’re the most likely to be employed in areas of the economy that potentially carry a higher risk of exposure to the virus, such as retail sales and the restaurant industry.”

Residents 55 and older were most likely to be very confident in the provincial reopening strategy and among the most likely to have seen a reduction in financial assets and/or savings.

The takeaway: “This group is the most likely to be affected by the pandemic’s impact on the financial markets and hoping to get the economy restarted sooner than later to avoid further losses to their retirement portfolios,” O’Neill says.