BC is starting to do a careful re-opening…
We hope you are doing well and staying healthy. I learned today that a local business owner had no idea that there were any supports for closed-down businesses! I was a bit blown away by this news, but it goes to show that there are people out there who are not as connected as you are (if you’re reading this, you’re connected!). If you’re talking to other local business owners, please do a check-in with them and ask if they are doing ok and if they are aware of the various programs that can provide financial support! Feel free to ask them to look at the Chamber of Commerce website and sign up for these newsletters whether they are a member or not.

I want to thank you for taking the time to read these newsletters, I hope they have provided value to you over the past few weeks. If you feel they are of value, then I have a request for you… please ask others in your business circles if they are members of the Esquimalt Chamber of Commerce, and if not, tell them about how we are providing useful information to you and your community. Suggest they join the Esquimalt Chamber and they too can be contributors to their community.

In the meantime, I have some news about how the province is going to roll-out the re-opening process, so please read-on! If you are able to, please drop us a line and tell us about how you are doing, what challenges you are facing, and if you’re doing anything interesting to help your business make it through these strange times. The more info we have about you, the more we are able to advocate for you and share information with decision-makers to help grow a strong and resilient Esquimalt.

Stay safe, stay kind, stay strong!

President, Esquimalt Chamber of Commerce

Re-opening your business – with a plan
Certain types of businesses are going to be allowed to re-open under strict conditions over the next few days under BC’s Restart Plan. More info can be found at this link.

We are entering what is being called Phase-2 of the COVID-19 response which will include re-opening of the following:

  • Restoration of health services
    • Re-scheduling elective surgery
  • Medically related services:
    • Dentistry, physiotherapy, registered massage therapy, and chiropractors
    • Physical therapy, speech therapy, and similar services
  • Retail sector
  • Hair salons, barbers, and other personal service establishments
  • In-person counselling
  • Restaurants, cafes, and pubs (with sufficient distancing measures)
  • Museums, art galleries, and libraries
  • Office-based worksites
  • Recreation and sports
  • Parks, beaches, and outdoor spaces
  • Child care

The information you need about how and when to re-open will be made available on the WorkSafe BC website. Employers will need to develop a plan that reduces the risk of exposure to the virus. That plan will address how:

  • Your workplace is organized and arranged
  • Some specific activities are carried out
  • You clean and sanitize
  • Changes and precautions will be communicated to everyone at the workplace

We recommend that you make your plan visible in the workplace to provide confidence to your staff and customers that you have a plan in place. More information about your plan can be found at this link.

WorkSafe BC also has a great FAQ section that addresses:

  • COVID-19 safety plans
  • Knowing when to reopen
  • Controlling exposure

These topics are addressed at this link.

Finally, to the best of our knowledge, specific information about the re-opening of each sector will start to roll-out on the WorkSafe BC website starting on Friday May 15th. So… keep your eyes on the WorkSafe BC website and the BC Restart Plan website (links also in the text above).

One-stop for provincial and federal COVID-19 financial support programs
There are a lot of federal and provincial support programs. They change all the time, and some new ones are still being released. The BC Government has put together an up-to-date list of the programs for individuals and for businesses sorted by sector.

Take a few minutes to check out this linkand go through all of the summaries that might be of assistance to you.

Please be aware of what is available. If you don’t need assistance yourself, be a community ambassador by sharing this information with business owners you meet… please don’t assume they are aware of this information. As I found out today, there are people out there who still need this information.

Business Support Summaries
A number of agencies have compiled lists of resources that you might find useful. Here are a few of the better local ones:

The Esquimalt Chamber of Commerce Resource List: click here.
The Township of Esquimalt has important information and an address from the Mayor at this link
The Provincial and Federal Government Resource List is at this link.
VIATEC is keeping their list up to date – resources for everyone at this link.
Neighbourhood Small Grants – up to $500 for small community projects that keep people socially connected.

ThinkLocalVictoria has partnered with Van City Credit Union to bring you SupportLocalYYJ You can register to have gift cards sold through their site. VanCity covers the processing costs, so you (as a business registered with them) receive FULL VALUE from your gift cards that they sell for you.

More Critical Resources
for Chamber Insurance Members

If you have Chamber Insurance you may have access to the Business Assistance Services which provide free HR, Legal, and Accounting services, advice and coaching.

Information and resources. The Chamber Plan is running a series of webinars and there is lots of good information about managing your business through COVID-19. Click this link to see what they have to offer. If you are not a Chamber Plan member, you may want to consider becoming one… they are a great resource for small business.

TeleDoc – Don’t forget that Chamber Insurance Members have access to the TeleDoc Service. In these difficult times, getting in to see a doctor can be a challenge, but having 24/7 access to licensed physicians who can diagnose and prescribe by phone or video can be a real help.

You also might need to know how layoffs and reduced hours affect your employees benefits. Chamber Insurance has been very accommodating, but for up-to-date information related to your particular circumstances you should connect with them.

For more information about your plan, or to get connected with the Chamber Plan, contact your agent Sheila Airey,  sheila@jackinsurance.ca or Rob Jack, rob@jackinsurance.ca or call the Jack Insurance office at 250-383-9866.