Social distancing has Prince George residents electing to stay at home, but have been assured that going outside and running errands can still be routine.
As businesses shorten hours to help flatten the curve on coronavirus (COVID-19), some consumers may not be aware that a lot of local shops and restaurants are open and have services they can still provide.
The Prince George Chamber of Commerce (PGCC) has created a #SupportPG campaign to help members and other businesses in ensuring long-term health and safety.
“We had heard some anecdotal information from some Chamber members and some other not-for-profits in town and so, while this was an idea born out of needing to do our best to help where we can help, it did certainly play into some feedback from our members,” explains CEO Todd Corrigall in an interview with PrinceGeorgeMatters when asked about the concerns local businesses had expressed about the pandemic’s effects.
“There was a big survey that we helped to facilitate from the BC Chamber that went across the province and I believe had over 9,000 responses, and that’s now been sent to the provincial government for their information to start developing some plans. Obviously, there’s a great deal of fear.”
As of yesterday (March 19), there are four confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Northern Health’s jurisdiction among 271 across B.C.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has reiterated people can still go get groceries and other essentials, but to not hoard over products that others may need during this crisis as well.
From the PGCC’s perspective, Corrigall says he doesn’t want to discourage residents from finding deals to take advantage of, but believes the community has an obligation to support each other mentally, emotionally and economically.
“What’s important to remember is every dollar that is spent here at a local business is kept here locally, whether that’s through the employment, through the purchasing of goods, the sponsoring of our kids’ sports teams and activities,” he said.
“When we get to these critical points when there’s less and less dollars and less and less shoppers, we need to make sure that we’re spending our money more wisely so that we’re ensuring the health and safety of our entire community over the long term.”
Earlier this week, Justin Trudeau also announced $82 billion that will be allocated to businesses across Canada to help keep them afloat for the long term.
Corrigall believes this is a very diligent, positive approach from the Prime Minister.
“What I really appreciate about what they’ve released is that they’ve recognized that there’s an immediate need, but the recovery process from this is going to be much longer than the immediate need. So, their allocation of, I believe, $27 billion in the immediate term with the residuals of that coming as part of the recovery process, I believe it’s probably a strategically correct approach to doing this because we don’t know yet what that recovery process looks like, what time that will take and what’s going to be needed.”
When asked how he’s coping with the COVID-19 outbreak, Corrigall admits he’s had his moments of fear and anxiety.
“I’m a new father and there’s concerns around that, but, you know, the one important piece to remember is that we’re all in this together and there are supports that we can all access out there.”
More information about the #SupportPG campaign is available on the PGCC’s website.
The list includes everything from grocery stores to fitness and health services.