Oceanside Initiatives has announced a plan to help businesses in the area get through the difficulties associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kim Burden, executive director of the Parksville and District Chamber of Commerce, said the plan includes financial aid, advice and more. The idea is to help local businesses reopen and ramp up their businesses now that B.C. is set to move into Phase 2 of its COVID-19 plan.
“It’s not really limited, we want to make sure that all of our businesses have access to the things that they’re going to need,” he said. “Whatever it is going to take for them to reopen, we don’t want to lose any businesses in our community.”
Oceanside Initiatives put on a virtual meeting on May 14 where they announced the plan. Blain Sepos from Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism went over how they are working to support local businesses with promotion, coaching and advocacy.
Graham Truax and Jennifer Hufnagel from Innovation Island presented the Digital Economy Response Recovery Program, which aims to help with the economic impact of COVID-19 on small to medium businesses.
Burden said he hopes the recovery plan, coupled with their buy local campaign, will give businesses a chance to bounce back. The chamber conducted a survey leading up to the announcement that asked what supports businesses need to reopen, which the plan was then based on.
“We still lose 70 per cent of our retail dollar to other communities and if we could just change that by 10 per cent, we’d really be doing a lot of good in terms of helping our local businesses,” he said. “If we’ve got businesses where they need admin assistance, if they need a safe meeting space, if they need help with their advertising and their networking, if they need education, if they need training – we’re not putting a lot of limits on things.”