A dwindling number of businesses around Chemainus remained open as of Wednesday morning due to the implications of the COVID-19 virus.
“It changed so quickly over the weekend,” said Chemainus Business Improvement Association executive director Krystal Adams. “We’re just going to see that continually change.”
Changing compliance regulations made it increasingly difficult for bars, restaurants and food-related businesses – other than the main grocery stores – to remain open.
Nic’s Cafe, Owl’s Nest Bakery and Bistro and the Willow Street Cafe were among the latest places to temporarily close.
“We are here to support our businesses and the community during this difficult time,” Adams added.
“Many Chemainus businesses have chosen to close, however, some businesses remain open operating under strict guidelines for sanitizing high touch surfaces and enforcing congregation policies of limiting occupants. Many staying open are offering revised hours or inventive ways to shop like purchasing a gift certificate now – to be used at some later date – like Beyond The Usual or drive-up shopping from Sandpiper (Gardens and Glass).
“Due to the ever evolving nature of this pandemic we thank those shopping in the community as we know the small businesses will be hit the hardest during this time. Please stay safe, practice social distancing and continue with consistent hand washing while circulating through town. We wish you health and safety.”
Businesses are coming up with innovative ways to still offer goods or services such as the Maple Lane Cafe.
“Maple Lane is making meals and delivering,” indicated Julie Stevens. “The cafe is closed to the public at this time. Anyone can order the take and bake meals.”
Maple Lane is offering a meal drop-off service dedicated to seniors.
“This not only ensures the population segment most at risk for COVID-19 is limiting any potential exposure, but also that they are consuming healthy meals in a time when they may abstain from food for the simple fact of fear of exposure or inconvenience,” noted Adams.
The impact on small business will be significant if the pandemic forces a prolonged shutdown.
“We have to be mindful that larger chains have a ‘rainy day fund’ or even a ‘pandemic fund’, but smaller businesses often have no planning for large scale closures or anything like this in their financial structure,” added Adams. “That is why it is so important to ensure that when this is over and we return to a form of normality, that we support those small businesses like never before.”
In the meantime, “we will be publishing out a weekly list of businesses that are open and what services they are providing,” she indicated.