SASKATOON -- Close to half of Saskatchewan businesses closed because of COVID-19 surveyed by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) are worried they may not reopen when the pandemic ends.

Among closed businesses, 44 per cent of owners said they are unsure if they will be able to reopen, the CFIB said in a news release. That's higher than the national average of 32 per cent, the CFIB said.

While CFIB lauded steps that have been taken to help shore up businesses during the pandemic, the organization's president says more measures are necessary.

"Putting in place a 75 per cent wage subsidy was terrific news and we are already hearing from business owners who have delayed layoffs as a result," CFIB president Dan Kelly said.

"Stress among business owners is very high and it’s critical that the wage subsidy and other measures are accessible to as many businesses as possible to avoid a flood of permanent closures in the weeks and months to come."

The survey also found 50 per cent of businesses are shut down in Saskatchewan and 19 per cent are partially shutdown.

According to CFIB, the average cost of COVID-19 for Saskatchewan businesses surveyed is $156,000.

The survey received 9,678 responses from small businesses across Canada and has a margin of error of +/-1.0 percentage point, 19 times out of 20, CFIB said.