A BC Chamber of Commerce COVID-19 Business Impact survey where 90 per cent of respondents considered their business impacted by the crisis saw widespread participation from Cariboo businesses, according to Brad Severin, executive director for the South Cariboo Chamber of Commerce.
“Our members have shown increasing concern as the public health situation continues to change. A number of our members have closed their doors entirely: the Red Rock Grill is closed until further notice, the 100 Mile Nordics have closed their lodge, though one can still purchase a pass through their honour box and the skiing remains excellent.”
Cariboo Regional District libraries and offices have temporarily closed their doors as well.
Closing doors isn’t uncommon, as 49 per cent of survey respondents said they will be “temporarily shutting down” their offices.
Some businesses are offering new services, according to Severin.
“Andre’s Electronics is providing free delivery for any product they carry in store.”
Increasing safety precautions including wearing gloves, hand sanitizer and properly disinfecting surfaces are becoming the standard as businesses in the South Cariboo actively combat the spread of Covid-19, says Severin.
“These are just a few examples of how businesses in our community are taking initiative and doing what they can to get ahead of Covid-19.”
The COVID-19 Business Impact survey saw over 7900 responses province-wide. Over 83 per cent of those impacted are seeing a “drop in revenue, business or deal flow” while 91 per cent anticipate a further “decrease in revenue in the near-term.” A further 64 per cent of respondents indicated they expect to reduce their staff by over half while a quarter says they’ll be reducing staffing by 100 per cent.
In terms of what will help local businesses, the familiar mantra of social distancing to “flatten the curve” to decrease the immediate intake of infected individuals in health care facilities remains true and is proven to be effective, says Severin.
“For food services, consider taking out rather than eating in, or even ordering delivery. Avoid peak business hours at any store, the more people in one place, the easier the virus spreads. Consider shopping at smaller, independent stores – some have the same products as major grocery stores but far less demand, and would thank you for the business. Make use of delivery services such as those provided by Andre’s and other businesses.”
In addition to all of this, many businesses are offering gift cards, which are a good option instead of cash – it limits personal contact and provides the business a quick injection of funds to cover staffing or operational costs during these uncertain times, says Severin.
“The South Cariboo Chamber of Commerce will provide as many resources as possible to our members as they become available. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out.”