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A man wears a protective face mask as he walks past a opened restaurant patio on Granville Street in Vancouver, on May 20, 2020.

JONATHAN HAYWARD/The Canadian Press

A survey of British Columbia businesses finds barely one-quarter believe they can open and operate profitably as the province gradually eases COVID-19 restrictions.

More than 1,300 member businesses of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, the BC Chamber of Commerce and the Business Council of British Columbia were asked about the second phase of B.C.’s restart plan.

A statement from the board of trade says 26 per cent expect to open and operate at a profit while 75 per cent worry about attracting customers.

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Other concerns include a lack of cash to meet expenses or new safety standards and the board says 55 per cent also say restarting their business will take at least two months.

But owners now report an average of just 12 layoffs, down from 43 in mid-March, and the board says that likely shows the effect of wage subsidy programs.

About 43 per cent of businesses say they think they will need government incentives to continue operating.

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