Many lives and businesses have been affected by the havoc caused by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past four months.
As employers, employees and customers enter into stages of reopening businesses, everyone involved requires support.
“We need to support each other, to shop locally and to rally behind every effort to keep our community healthy, stable and successful,” says Powell River Chamber of Commerce president Telis T. Savvaidis. “We intend to encourage those efforts.”
Savvaidis says nobody can deny that an uncertain future means finding ways and means to adapt to what is known as the “new normal.”
“Shopping habits have radically changed as folks have self-isolated,” he adds. “For example, dining out was once an automatic and weekly habit for many, but that’s changed. Now it’s become a carefully considered decision.”
Reopening any business has become a huge planning and implementation process for employers, employees and in many cases, even for customers and clients. Taking risks is nothing new for those in business, but the odds of failure have probably never been higher, according to Savvaidis.
“Chamber of commerce staff and the board of directors are committed to being there as businesses reach out for encouragement and for practical assistance in helping them get back on their feet, and payroll,” he says. “Other practical and readily available tools include many online resource options; anyone can contact us if they need help accessing these.”
Many community organizations have adapted to this “new” reality, just like the chamber has. Getting back to business must include adhering to all protocols set out by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and the provincial government.
“It’s no secret that ‘business as usual’ no longer exists; still, in the midst of the discouragement that inevitably accompanies these conditions, we need to be strong,” says Savvaidis. “Keep in mind that the chamber exists to try to help in any way we can, even if it’s just pointing people in the right direction. Powell River Chamber of Commerce, as well as residents of our community, are genuinely thankful for all that businesses are doing to assist our economy to get back on its feet.”
Savvaidis says large and small businesses here and across the province are reinventing themselves while realistically doing so within the constraints of the current reality.
“We extend our sincere congratulations to everyone, both business owners and shoppers,” he adds. “Powell River has a well-earned and enviable record of being a community that’s committed to one another and to our mutual success. Never before have we needed or acted in a manner that supports an ongoing demonstration of what we can accomplish as we work together.”
As Powell River Chamber of Commerce prepares for its first-ever virtual meeting and annual general meeting, Savvaidis, on behalf of the board, is encouraging area residents to keep safety in mind.
“We ask you to be safe, keep calm and carry on,” he says, “but with precautions.”