Local businesses adapting to COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic – and the public health measures put in place to combat it – are having a major impact on how local companies do business, Prince George Chamber of Commerce CEO Todd Corrigall.

The outbreak is challenging businesses at every level – from massive, multinational corporations down to local family businesses, he said.

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"Everything a large business is thinking about, a small business is facing too," Corrigall said. "If your budget is $50 million or $50,000, you're facing the same things. It's just a matter of scale."

Many businesses in the city have already announced temporary closures, reduced hours or restricted operations – like restaurants offering drive-through or pick-up service only.

How big an impact that will have depends on the nature of the business, Corrigall said.

"Retail has an obligation to their bottom line to remain open," he said. "(But) a small business that is office based, like an engineering firm, you're not relying on walk-in traffic. It's much easier to find solutions (for staff) to work from home."
Local businesses are looking for innovative ways they can continue to deliver services, even if not in the usual format, he said.

The chamber of commerce's web site (www.pgchamber.bc.ca) will host a list of local companies that are currently open, and what services they are offering.

The announcement of government stimulus packages to help the economy through the crisis are good news, Corrigall added, but it will depend on how easy those programs are to access and what they offer.

At the end of the day, what businesses need "is money," he said.

"For a small retail store trying to pay their staff it might be a short-term bridging loan (that is needed,)" he said. "Hopefully the government will continue to work with other levels of government and business to make sure people are getting the help they need."

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