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Downtown PG supporting local business, holding ‘virtual Summerfest'

Downtown Prince George has been working to support businesses in the city's core during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Downtown Prince George has been working to support businesses in the city's core during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Downtown PG president Eoin Foley and executive director Colleen Van Mook gave an update to city council on Monday about the work the organization is doing.

"Certainly COVID-19 has thrown a wrench into our plans this year, as it has for everybody," Foley said. "

Foley, who is the co-founder of Nancy O's and Betulla Burning, said many of the downtown's businesses – especially those that rely on customers coming through the door – are struggling.

"At this time we're just making sure we are keeping the doors open and surviving," he said. "Without some of the government assistance, a lot of those businesses wouldn't be open, because they depend on being at 100 per cent (capacity) to stay open."

Van Mook said the organization has shifted gears this year, putting less emphasis on events to supporting businesses adapt to the changing requirements and promoting cleaner streets.

"It's not forever, it's for now," she said. "We have a lot of fighters in our downtown businesses. Everyone has had to think differently and we wanted to help our businesses... I guess the word is pivot."

Downtown PG created grant programs to help businesses buy supplies or install barriers in order to meet their safety plans to reopen. In addition, they created a second program to help businesses increase their online presence and engage in e-commerce.

Downtown PG is also offering gift card sales for downtown businesses through its website, downtownpg.com, Van Mook said.

 

VIRTUAL SUMMERFEST

One of Downtown PG's signature events, Summerfest, will still be happening – in an at-home, virtual form.

Van Mook said theme of Summerfest 2020 is "take it home." Residents can order a free family fun pack online, and special Taste of Summerfest meals from local restaurants online at downtownpg.com.

The free party packs are available to order until July 8 at 5 p.m.

"Take it home to your family and have downtown meal and enjoy it with your family in your backyard," Van Mook said.

Then on July 12 starting at 11 a.m., the website will feature a "virtual Summerfest" – local music, entertainment, crafts, cooking classes and more, Van Mook said.

The virtual event will be available to stream for at least a week after July 12, so residents who miss it on the Sunday can still enjoy it, she added.

"This is a really great idea for Summerfest," Coun. Terri McConnachie said. "Don't let the opportunity pass, just because of COVID(-19)."