Peter Chirico, President and CEO of the North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce, knows that the Ontario-wide lockdown beginning on December 26 is the right thing to do.
“We have to look at it in the big picture of things and hopefully, this is going to save lives,” Chirico commented.
Regardless, Chirico hopes that local businesses will still earn the support of the community as many of them will be forced to shut their doors for at least two weeks.
“Make sure you do everything you can within your own power as an individual to shop local,” he urged. “Boxing Week is certainly always busy but if we have to delay Boxing Week until January, so be it.”
Premier Doug Ford announced the province-wide lockdown on Monday, relegating any non-essential businesses to shift to curbside pickup or delivery service.
The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit’s region will be under a two-week lockdown, ending on January 9.
Chirico adds the restaurant industry normally sees a lull in the days following Christmas, but they too will need support.
“This is their quietest time of year after Christmas, and hopefully they’ll survive through that. I encourage people to still continue their takeout orders from restaurants,” he said.
During the pandemic, Chirico says many business owners have had to retool how they do business, usually involving an increased online presence.
Chirico thinks the businesses that have already shifted operations will be the ones best-equipped for the second lockdown.
“Certainly, I think if people haven’t changed the way they do business in these past nine months, they should have at least had that preparation,” he said.
Chirico adds the Chamber of Commerce is available to business owners to get assistance in accessing resources and government funding to help stay open.
The province-wide lockdown will go into effect at 12:01 AM on December 26.