The mayor of View Royal has sent out a plea to community members to support local businesses as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
In a public letter, Mayor David Screech called small and local businesses the heart of the View Royal community, pointing to the over 350 businesses in town that employ hundreds of people.
“I think for the majority of our local businesses it’s very difficult times,” Screech told Black Press Media.
“Anything we can do to support the businesses in our communities will help them reopen and be strong when all of this is over.”
New Statistics Canada figures show that more than half of all businesses say their revenues have dropped 20 per cent or more, with some businesses recording declines of more than 70 per cent because of COVID-19.
Industries such as accommodation and food services, arts, entertainment and recreation and retail trade have been hit hard, according to Statistics Canada, while just over 40 per cent of businesses in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting reported either no change or higher revenues.
In Screech’s letter, he suggests supporting local businesses by continuing to buy and order from them, making pickup or delivery arrangements where available. He also suggests purchasing gift cards and supporting regional or Island-based farmers and producers at local grocery stores.
If possible, Screech says to continue to support and pay service providers like dog walkers, tutors and cleaners, and pre-purchase personal services like haircuts, manicures and massages for future use.
“With this whole pandemic and crisis maybe we need to re-evaluate how we go about procuring goods in our lives and the businesses we support,” Screech said. “Let’s think about where our dollars are going.”
Mayors from 11 municipalities in Greater Victoria met on a Zoom call and discussed what reopening businesses will look like, Screech said.
He said the mayors expressed a desire to have some sort of uniformity between municipalities when restrictions ease and things start to open up again to the public.
“I think we’re a long way from knowing what it’s going to look like,” Screech said. “People have been wonderful and supportive and have done all the things they’re supposed to. We need to continue to do that a little longer and follow provincial direction on how we open up again.”