Nelson & District Chamber of Commerce Newsletter – July 2020

Government support still critical to BC businesses as Phase 3 of the economic restart continues

The COVID-19 Impact Pulse Check #4. We received 1,401 responses – and the results are available here.

Here’s what you told us

While British Columbia has entered phase three of its Restart Plan, two-thirds (65%) of businesses surveyed are using some form of government support. Businesses expect a substantial “second wave” of negative impacts should these programs expire too quickly.

Impacts on Businesses

  • Impacts on businesses from the COVID-19 pandemic are similar to those reported in previous Pulse Check. The most common impact continues to be decreased sales volume, reported by 75% of businesses.
  • 40% (higher proportion than in the past) reporting increasing operating costs, likely due to reopening or expanding operations. This level increases to over 50% of medium and large businesses.
  • On the positive side, 36% (up from 31%) have increased their digital or e-commerce presence, and small groups have introduced new products or services (15%), advanced new marketing projects (10%) or advanced new research and development (6%).

BC Government Recovery Plan and Support

  • Businesses are not particularly confident that when the province launches a recovery/rebuilding plan, the provincial government’s plan will help their business succeed through the COVID period (only 16% said they are confident or very confident that the plan will help them succeed)
  • Two-thirds (65%) of businesses are using some form of government support program to assist during COVID. The most useful program has been the CEWS program, followed by CERB and CEBA (Canada Emergency Business Account).
  • Only 28% of businesses on government support expect to return to normal once the government support programs end.

Workplace Changes/ Remote Working

  • The key barriers to getting employees back to the office or workplace are social distancing requirements (38%) employees’ reluctance to return to the workplace due to safety concerns at the workplace (35%) and to a slightly lesser extent from getting to and from work (22%).
  • In terms of lasting changes to their workplace anticipated as a result of COVID-19, the most common are increased reliance on digital means for communications, meetings, etc. (55%), and expanding or implementing work from home policies (44%). Considerable proportions also expect to reduce the number of employees at the workplace (31%), and reduce their office space needs (22%).

View the full report.

If you’re interested in additional breakdowns, we have deep dives available for:

Open for Business…Be safe and Respectful

Nelson and Area businesses have been busy establishing safe dining and retail practices with Covid-19 protocols in place .  These restaurants, pubs, craft breweries, coffeeshops and retail businesses are being enjoyed by locals and visitors alike, sitting on outdoor decks and patios enjoying a beverage or a nice meal after shopping.

Nelson is certainly Open for Business, and look forward to seeing you this summer and fall.

If you wander down Baker Street you will see a   busy downtown, with much of the vibrancy you would experience on a normal summer day, and that level of activity has given pause to some individuals that the pandemic is over and we don’t have anything to worry about.  For many operators, their prospects might be shifting as they reopen and begin seeing more people returning to outdoor patios, shopping, camping hiking and enjoying local attractions like ziplines, rafting, paddleboard, kayak and bike rentals.

We think…Busy…that’s great!  But there is still a segment of the local community that are concerned with the added activity and occasional complacent social distancing measures, so we continue to walk the line. We can not afford to get complacent with our retail or dining operations.

Our businesses are in a very precarious position and could close permanently with a failed or partial restart.

We simply cannot afford another closure. While we should be excited about where the province is at we should be under no illusions that COVID-19 is gone.

So businesses and consumers alike have to ensure we are respecting protocols and ensuring that this vibrancy e are enjoying can continue, without the threat of sector closures once again.

We are far from out of the woods.

The Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce is proud to operate the Nelson and Area Visitor Centre located near the west entrance of Nelson at 91 Baker Street in the Railtown District.

The Visitor Centre has taken all necessary safety precautions and are following Worksafe BC and the Public Health Officers Safe Business protocols, and we look forward to seeing you.If you are looking to connect with a local tourism expert, check out our welcoming visitor centre located in the Chambers restored heritage train station at 91 Baker.

Beginning Saturday July 18th, the Chamber will open our parking lot at the Visitor Centre to host an artisans Market. 

We know the challenges facing all sectors, and the Arts sector has been hit especially hard.  This Artisans Market will take place at the same time as the Farmers Market at Cottownwood Falls, so you can pop by both anytime between 9am-2pm. We expect this opportunity to grow through the summer.

If you know an Artisan that has been trying to get their product out there, call the Chamber at 250 352 3433 to get details and register. Space is limited..

To read the full newsletter, click here.


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