Essential Pandemic Resources
Welcome to my first column in the Fernie Fix! It is my hope to use this space each month to provide some supports, resources, and tips to our vibrant local business community. Of course, this year has been one of the most difficult in recent memory to navigate through as a small or medium business. A seemingly unending avalanche of COVID-19 information, updates, support programs and business data continue to flood our inboxes daily. It can be a full-time job just keeping up with it all and has frankly become overwhelming at times.
This month, I will attempt to distill all of this down to three essential pandemic resources for any business owner or manager operating in BC. Having spent most of the past eight months trying to keep up with all this, I believe these three authoritative resources are the most comprehensive and helpful.
Before we jump into this list, I would like to take a moment to talk about the COVID-19 safety protocol basics in our local businesses. This month, the Fernie Chamber is launching a campaign to raise awareness about the importance of getting back to basics as we head into the winter ski season. We all realize that our ability to meet and gather outdoors in the colder months will be diminished. This means spending a lot more time indoors. We must all double down on our commitment to each other to regularly wash/sanitize our hands, maintain a physical distance of two metres from those outside our bubble, and to wear a mask when physical distancing is not possible.
The politicization of wearing masks is unfortunate, and while it is certainly our last line of defense against COVID-19 – it is also optically a confidence builder among local and visiting consumers. Yes, there is no municipal or provincial mask mandate here and there are many businesses doing an outstanding job of maintaining physical distancing. But we must remember that most of our visitors come from southern Alberta and in some of those jurisdictions, masks have been mandated for quite some time now. It is confronting to people from those regions to arrive in a destination like Fernie where masks are not as common. I would encourage you to consider having your staff wear masks while on shift this winter for this very reason – we need to build confidence that it is safe to interact with Fernie businesses. Let’s go above and beyond the rules, and show our community that we care!
Here are your top three business resources for navigating the pandemic:
1. Work Safe BC (worksafebc.com)
The province’s definitive resource for health and safety in the workplace during the pandemic. There is a wealth of information including industry-specific advice on creating and updating workplace COVID-19 safety plans and protocols.
The provincial tourism Crown corporation has been providing industry with countless resources and education opportunities through the pandemic and is an excellent reference point for local Fernie businesses.