Edmontonians avoiding downtown more than other Canadians, survey shows
EDMONTON -- Canadians are avoiding downtowns more than ever before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new survey.
Among the six urban centres included in the survey, Edmonton leads the way with three out of every four people surveyed saying they don't like going to the city centre.
Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal were also surveyed.
The results, released by the Association for Canadian Studies on Monday, suggests that the change could be destructive for businesses.
Tarek Selak has relied on his food truck in downtown Edmonton for his main source of income for the past five years.
“We try to go to the street and we face, there is not too many people walking the street, not too many business and too many food truck on the street,” he told CTV News Edmonton.
His revenue has dropped 75 per cent, so he’s turned his focus to catering.
“Still it’s very hard because there is too many competitors now and less customers.”
"The existing challenges confronting cities have grown exponentially as governments have ordered reductions in the size of [gatherings] and social distancing," a release from ACS reads. "Such measures have presented considerable difficulties for businesses that depend on a high volume of circulation and therefore welcomed crowds."
“What we’re hearing a lot of from different businesses is they recognize it’s time to adapt,” said Nick Lilley of the Downtown Business Association. “They’re gonna need to be innovative particularly as we look into the winter months.”
Eighty per cent of the people who said they were avoiding going downtown also said they were very afraid of contracting COVID-19.
The study also found that women were more likely than men to avoid downtown.
The survey was conducted by Leger for the ACS between Sept. 18 and 20, 2020. More than 1,500 Canadians participated using a web panel.