By: Jesse Heinrichs
Vagueness around relief options, and unforeseeable closures have local businesses in a tight spot according to Daniel Holden, general manager at the Kimberley and District Chamber of Commerce.
“The businesses have been hit hard,” said Holden, during a phone interview on March 31.
“You can see just by walking around town that not a lot of places are open.”
Holden said most of those businesses are going through forms of relief, either federally, provincially, locally or through the banks. He said they are trying to work out how to stay viable until things transition into a recovery phase.
“The problem is the information seems to be changing, and there’s new things coming out, and you don’t get all the information when new things are announced,” said Holden.
Business owners aren’t sure whether they should be waiting on all of the information to be solidified before moving forward, or if they should be applying for programs as they come out.
“It’s a bit of a tricky one, but we’re looking at doing an online business community forum with Cranbrook, Kimberley, and Canal Flats to hopefully address these issues,” said Holden.
Locally, there is already an initiative for helping business whose doors are shut, but are still open in some way, shape, or form said Holden. A website called closedbutopen.com lists all of the stores in Kimberley and Cranbrook that are still operating under modified conditions.
Holden said that even though many stores may look shut, people are still able to purchase bikes, or meals, or whatever else they may need.
“It’s great to see that some [businesses] are doing well, some are surviving, but we’ve got to help the ones that have had to pretty much shut up shops,” said Holden.
He said that the chamber is busy looking at things they can do in the recovery phase, but until they see an end date, there’s not much that can be publicized.
“At the moment we encourage people to stay at home, and stay healthy,” said Holden
He said there will be plenty of time, and information, available to promote business and activity once the chamber gets an all clear, but that at the moment it’s impossible to know when that will be.