From the streets of downtown Montreal to the bedroom communities of the West Island, many businesses are closed as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads, their employees furloughed.

One lingerie merchant owner has closed her two shops and is now trying to survive with online sales and phone orders — something that’s novel for the independent company.

“There is definitely an economic impact on myself, on my employees. And not just right now. This scares me as to how long this is going take,” Debbie Donelle, owner of Lingerie DEBra, told Global News via Skype.

Donelle is the only worker in her shops as the seven other employees have been sent home. Donelle is still issuing them paycheques adding up to 75 per cent of the salaries but that could end by the end of the week.

“It could be that I keep that I’m going to have to lay them off. It could be that I keep them on my payroll but again reduce that amount because I can’t cover 75 per cent,” she said.

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Global News has learned that the employment insurance claims during the week of March 16 to 22 hit 929,000 — almost double the previous week.

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