COVID-19: Navigating Re-opening Local Businesses

As businesses are navigating the guidelines set out by the government, Public Health Officer, and WorkSafeBC, some are also experiencing extreme criticism from local residents about re-opening after nearly two and half months of being closed.

Although re-opening our economy is daunting to many, every business is working hard to follow the guidelines and directives. Many of the requirements come at a high financial and human resource cost, leave their employees feeling vulnerable and affect overall business viability.

We are so lucky to live in BC during this time, with the strong leadership and communication skills of Dr. Bonnie Henry and compliance by BC Residents our Province has been exemplary in flattening the curve. We must continue trusting her leadership and support businesses as they adjust to comply with the new business environment.

Business owners are aware that it is not “Business as usual” and need locals to be understanding and supportive through this trying time.
Now is the time to help businesses find a way through, it is the time to practice patience with employees who are doing their best to learn and adapt to the new processes, it is the time to be patient with inefficiencies and wait times (there is nothing efficient about the new measures many businesses need to take), it is the time to be understanding when a business does not have all their products available because supply chains are being disrupted, and it is definitely the time to respect signage and physical distancing measures that businesses have in place to protect their customers and staff.

I understand fear (or lack of fear) is a big piece of this, but as an individual, you have the choice to go out into any environment or avoid it if it makes you personally feel uncomfortable.

If you are looking for ways to support local businesses but are not quite ready to be out in public spaces, there are a number of ways you can do so - phone/online ordering with curbside pick-up, take-out, choose local services and trades, review your favourite businesses on google, trip advisor or yelp, purchase locally produced products and food etc.

In the words of Dr. Bonnie Henry “Be Kind, Be Calm, Be Safe”

Jessica Harkema
Executive Director
Salt Spring Chamber

May 25, 2020 3:14 PM

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