Many people are stocking up on supplies and with good reason. While panic is not warranted, prudent preparation is. The economic impact of this pandemic will be painful for many people, but the small businesses who are just getting by may be the hardest hit. There will likely be a desire for many families to isolate themselves and this could have a disastrous effect on our local economy.
Our request is that, if you need to shop, we ask you to consider supporting your local small business.
Our community is better when it is full of thriving and vibrant small businesses. They are the ones who support your lacrosse or baseball team and the ones whose families go to local restaurants and shops.
Please consider them in the coming weeks and months as the response to COVID-19 unfolds.
Coming together as a community
In times of uncertainty there is a tendency for people to isolate themselves and especially considering the implications of being together. This pandemic, and its financial implications will cause many people a significant amount anxiety and stress for people.
As a community we have a choice about how this will affect us, now and in the coming weeks and months. We may not see each other face to face as much as we used to, but that doesn’t mean that people don’t need social contact. It is critical for mental health and well being and an important factor in mitigating anxiety, stress and overwhelm.
We at the chamber encourage you to stay connected with the people you care about through encouraging messages and regular check ins via phone, skype, or other means. When we fail, we tend to fail alone. There are a lot of elements of the current situation which we have no control over but if we follow the advice of the health professionals, we will get through this.
Also, if we continue to support each other as the financial impacts begin to show themselves, we can make sure that no one gives in to despair, and that when we get to the other side of this crisis, we are a stronger community for it
What public-facing businesses can do
Public Health officials continue to advise that the risk of infection in Canada remains low but the public is worried. Show that you are taking steps to protect the health of customers and employees.
Step 1 – Take these actions
- Have hand sanitizer available for your customers.
- Regularly disinfect surfaces, especially commonly touches surfaces like doorknobs. Here is a link on how to clean to prevent the spread of the flu. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/school/cleaning.htm
- Make sure that your staff is regularly washing their hands with soap for 20 seconds.
- Instruct your staff to stay home if they are sick.
Step 2 – Make sure your customers know you are taking these actions
- Print and post signs in your store explaining the steps you are taking to protect their health
- Be seen to be taking the steps (like cleaning surfaces while customers are in the store)
- Communicate on social media the steps you are taking
Step 3 – Get Creative
Explore ways to limit exposure for your customers. Could you do a pick up service where people phone in and you get their order ready for them and they just have to pick it up? Is delivery possible by harnessing Uber, Lyft or your staff? Can you partner with a neighbouring restaurant to harness their delivery service?
As the saying goes necessity is the mother of invention. There may, in fact, be little you can do depending on your circumstances, but just because the answer isn’t obvious, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Harness the collective intelligence of your staff and see if there are ANY actions you can take to mitigate the impact of COVID-19on your business.
As always, your Chamber of Commerce remains committed to helping the business community. Please feel free to reach out to us for links to sources of credible information regarding COVID-19, links to resources, and/or to share your concerns and best practices.
Our Official Statement – March 13th
We are closely monitoring the ongoing conditions of the COVID-19 virus and associated economic impact and we take the health and safety of our members seriously. At the time of posting this statement, the Public Health Agency of Canada has assessed the public health risk associated with COVID-19 as low for Canada, with continued reassessment as new information becomes available.
Regardless of external events that arise, it is best to be proactive and have a plan. We have compiled the following resources and links to support your business planning.
Be informed with the most current information on COVID-19 please visit:
Whether it is a public health issue, natural disaster, or other emergencies, it is important to be prepared and ensure you have an up-to-date business continuity and disaster recovery plan. Here are some other resources to assist you in your planning.
- Business Preparedness Checklist COVID-19 (GVBOT)
- Business Pandemic Influenza Planning Checklist (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19 (World Health Organization )
- PreparedBC: Guide for Small Business (Government of B.C.)
Templates and Tools
- PreparedBC: Emergency Plan for Small Businesses (Government of B.C.)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): Managing the impact on global supply chains (EDC Webinar March 12, 1 p.m.)
Government of Canada COVID-19 Information Service
- Phone: 1-833-784-4397
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
New West Events
We continue to welcome guests to our events. However, based on the recommendations from health officials, please do not attend events if you are feeling sick or have recently returned from an affected area. In addition, consider not attending if you have underlying health conditions that may be impacted by a respiratory illness.