It’s a difficult time to be a small business owner. Half of the independent restaurants in Canada are not expecting to survive the pandemic, 13,400 businesses have closed in Vancouver, and the Canadian economy is predicted to recover slower than in the US.
With small businesses making up a huge 95% of businesses in BC, it’s clear that we need to do whatever we can to support them as they start to reopen safely.
Business Improvement Associations (BIAs) across Vancouver have announced the launch of their Open With Care campaign, which encourages Vancouverites to start giving back to their favourite neighbourhood shops and restaurants. The 22 BIAs across the city, which represents 22,000 businesses in neighbourhoods like Gastown, Cambie Village, and West 4th, are carefully rolling out the plan with the highest safety protocols in mind.
These businesses have been suffering from the pandemic, and while many are likely relieved to open, they ask that Vancouverites visit with care and consideration for others’ health.
Executive Director of the Yaletown BIA, Annette O’Shea, says she knows her members are excited to open for business to return to (almost) as usual.
“Our businesses in Yaletown are the heart of this community. From the boutique shops, to the restaurants, to the people that work inside them, the businesses in Yaletown are what give this community life. We are thrilled to see them opening again, and furthermore, doing it with care and health and safety at front of mind, to ensure the well-being of their staff and customers,” says O’Shea.
Businesses across the BIAs will be reopened while adhering to strict health and safety measures as outlined by provincial health authorities to ensure the health and wellness of customers and staff.
Visitors can expect to see restaurants returning to 50% capacity and stores enforcing rules and restrictions to support social distancing.
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Businesses reopening will also have to strictly comply with the Provincial Health Officer’s guidance to employers and businesses about how to reopen in a way that ensures worker health and safety, in accordance with the BC Centre of Disease Control.
Protocols include prohibiting workers who are sick and returning recently from Canada from working and identifying hazards and developing measures to control exposure. Workplaces must also be updated for a higher standard of cleanliness and hygiene.
The Open With Care campaign will officially run for the whole month of June. The hope is that everyone can shop, dine, and relax with care, but to make that happen, business owners have also requested that those heading back to stores and restaurants be as patient as possible as staff get used to new practices.
Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Vancouver City Councillors will be heading to the businesses themselves to support local.
Mayor Stewart, who will be shopping in his local Yaletown neighbourhood commented in a press release, “With businesses taking necessary precautions to keep their staff, customers and the community safe, we can all be rest assured that health and wellness are the top priorities for reopening. Our city is filled with amazing businesses, restaurants and shops. We should be proud of our local entrepreneurs and continue supporting them as we move forward together.”
Can’t wait to help local businesses get their feet back off the ground? Check out your BIA’s website for up-to-date hours and information about your favourite local spots.