There isn’t a business in Hope that hasn’t been affected by COVID-19 says Hope’s new economic development officer Lyle Downey.
Across Canada, millions of people have applied for assistance after losing their jobs and economic activity has ground to a halt for many sectors as a result of the pandemic. AdvantageHOPE, the tourism and economic development arm of the District of Hope, is working on short-term measures to keep local businesses afloat and longer-term, to recover after the economic shock of the pandemic.
Downey started working at AdvantageHOPE March 16, halfway through his first day on the job things he started working at home in response to COVID-19. This hasn’t stopped the organization from reaching out, he said, to every business in Hope online or by phone.
Of 28 businesses who’ve responded to an economic support survey the organization put out, all have been affected by the pandemic. A full 75 per cent have seen a reduction in revenue, others have seen a disruption in the supply chain or public fear leading to customers avoiding their location. Downey is hoping to hear from more businesses affected and are keeping their survey open for this purpose.
For the short term, Downey said support comes in the form of providing resources for local businesses to become economically stable. “Making sure that the business community is aware of the loans and subsidies and offerings that the government has available,” Downey said, is key to this.
For the medium-to-long term, Downey said AdvantageHOPE is putting together a plan to stimulate Hope’s economy once health concerns subside. What this looks like, Downey said, is a “collaborative system” where governments – municipal, Indigenous, regional, provincial and federal – work with the community through a soon-to-be created economic recovery committee.
The committee will be operating throughout the pandemic and will continue for six months afterwards.
Applications are open for members of this committee that will include, apart from government representatives, representatives of local businesses, non-profits, chamber of commerce and other interest groups. The application closes April 15.
For more details on AdvantageHope’s response to COVID-19, pick up next week’s edition of the Hope Standard.