Kathy Somerville, responding to the Premier’s announcement this week that the province is ready to re-open, says now they’re just trying to make sure things are safe…

“I feel, talking to the businesses, their concerns are about safety, safety for themselves, safety for their employees and safety for their customers.  That’s where WorkSafe BC, I spend a lot of time discussing this with them, working with Community Futures and the Business Support hotline is going to be a big part of that as well, teaming up not only for the programs that were available for the businesses but now the safety going forward to re-open.”

To that end though, Somerville says finding the necessary personal protective equipment may take some work…

“The availability for products going forward is pretty slim, we’re looking into that. The BC Chamber has been on board with that as well.  We have to make sure we have enough product going out there, whether it’s the screens, the gloves, the masks, whatever that looks like.   Each sector is going to be a little bit different, I mean the hair salons are going to be a little bit different than walking into a retail outlet.”

Somerville says some businesses are definitely going to need some financial assistance and she says the BC Chamber and the BC Government are working on that.

“It isn’t just one sector, there are some different areas that, there are still 36 percent of the businesses that have received nothing, absolutely nothing, and it is crucial that they get some help. It’s just an ongoing process, it’s a learning curve for all government, for all businesses, for all of us, it’s a new way of living, it’s a new way of being, and we just have to be patient, but we will not stop.”

Somerville says they’ve created a Northern BC Chamber group, to give the north even more of a voice.

She says local residents can also help…

“More than ever, more than ever, I will say it again, it is crucial we get out there and support our local businesses. If we want them we have to be out there for them, we have to be supporting them.”

The Quesnel and District Chamber of Commerce has 310 members.