COVID-19: Montrealers working 'different' jobs left with no income as virus spreads
MONTREAL -- With the reign of bloggers, Youtubers and influencers quickly becoming the norm, long gone are the days (for some) of working regular nine-to-five jobs.
These kinds of 'out of the box' jobs seem to work out perfectly for many people -- but what happens when a pandemic like COVID-19 rolls around?
For fashion blogger Sophie Montminy and her husband, Dino Masson, the owner of YUL Fitness, things have taken a downward spiral business-wise since the arrival of the virus in Canada.
"Right now, we’re trying to cope with everything. We’re trying to understand what our possibilities are," she told CTV News. "The first thing I’m trying to do is reach out to our bank and financial people who have invested with us to try to stop our payments and see what we can do to make sure it doesn’t impact the business."
Not only has the Quebec government forced the closure of all gyms, bars and other places where people could congregate, many companies have also taken it on themselves to shut their doors as a way to keep both employees and customers safe.
That means fewer partnership opportunities during a time when summer campaigns are usually ramping up.
"A lot of events and festivals have been cancelled, so for me, it’s an important time of the year for fashion," Montminy said. "I was in discussions with businesses who wanted to have campaigns coming out in March and April. Now, it’s all gone."
In typical blogger fashion, Montminy hasn’t shied away from sharing her family’s experience on social media -- still finding a way to connect to her more than 10,000 followers each morning through Instagram Lives.
"Of course we have money saved, but not much if it’s going to be more than two month," she lamented. "I don’t even want to know. If it’s more than two months, I don’t know what’s going to happen."
She says the main thing that is keeping her going right now is seeing the joy on her son Massimo’s face when he sees each morning that both his parents are home with him.
"If I have the minimum for him, that’s all I need. All the superficiality doesn’t cross my mind, so if I have the basics, it’s going to be OK," she said. "So many parents are in the same spot as us. I can’t believe that the government wouldn’t be there for us."
QUEBEC FINANCIAL HELP PROGRAM
Earlier this week, the Quebec government announced it would be providing financial compensation of $573 a week for a maximum of two to four weeks to anyone in self-isolation who loses revenue and doesn't qualify for employment insurance (EI).
Since they are small business owners, Montminy and Masson don’t qualify for EI. However, they are not in self-isolation, so they are waiting to find out if the government will offer any help specifically to people forced to close up shop because of COVID-19.
"They want to try to help the little businesses, so I’m sure the gym will be on the first line of the people they will help because they were the first to close," she said, adding she is also working to get in touch with her bank about their mortgage. "That part is really stressing me out. How are we going to pay all of our bills?"
In addition to their own loss of income, Montminy says her heart is aching for the people who work underneath her and her husband.
"They don’t have jobs right now, so for me, it’s a big source of stress. We really love them and we want to make sure they are also OK," she said. "It’s kind of a domino effect in my head."
Anyone concerned about their health or who have symptoms associated with COVID-19 -- coughing, fever and difficulty breathing -- should call the Info-Coronavirus phone line at 1-877-644- 4545.