It appears for the most part that Quesnel is back to business in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a report from City Council last night.
Amy Reid, the Manager of Economic Development and Tourism, provided a Covid-19 Business Support Team update….
“What we found with our callouts now is about 60 percent of businesses are back open as they were pre-Covid, full staffing levels. About 11 percent are still closed, whether they’re mandated to be closed or just not ready to open quite yet, and some are open but with modified hours or modified staffing levels.”
Many of those businesses that have come through the other side in tact did so with the help of the Business Support Team.
Reid also provided an update to what extent the
“We’re at an average of about $16,415 that those businesses were able to get. Over 70 percent of them were successful in getting some sort of funding support. And when we apply that out we’re at about 3.6 million dollars that was brought into Quesnel in funding support through the Covid-19 programs.”
That number was met with a collective gasp at last night’s meeting.
Councillor Laurey-Anne Roodeburg expects that number to grow…
“That number is still going to carry on because a lot of those programs are extending, so when you think about it that is a fair chunk of change coming into our community. And I know with some of the calls that I made, some of the businesses hadn’t even applied for the program yet because they were trying to get themselves set up to be open and doing what they need to do to make their business successful. Some of them hadn’t even had time to apply for these programs.”
Roodenburg also noted that, in talking with some of her Business Improvement Association colleagues around the province, that they were probably the first one on the ground with this program.
Councillor Mitch Vik, a business owner himself, noted that many businesses in Quesnel were likely saved with the outreach of the Business Support Team.
The Business Support Hotline was launched back on April 6th and is a partnership between Community Futures, the City, the Chamber of Commerce, and the West Quesnel and Quesnel Downtown Business Associations.
Reid says they contacted 755 businesses in total, there were 218 intake forms completed, 113 referrals were made with 126 follow up connections.
She says the hotline team is hoping to wrap up calls by the end of June, although she says the line will remain open with Community Futures staff providing further assistance as needed.