As Fernie weathers a dramatic increase in positive Covid-19 cases several business are being directly affected and forced to close their door. This is devastating news and the Fernie community wants to support our wonderful small businesses however many people are not willing to take the risk at this time.

When the spread slows and people have their vaccine we’re going to see a huge unleashing of pent-up demand for restaurants, hair salons, theatre tickets, the arts, and events–although several businesses aren’t look so good right now.

Supporting Fernie’s local businesses is more important during this crisis that ever before, please support them when you can. We do need to keep Fernie’s vibrant and energetic local business community alive, they are the foundation of our community. Local small business owners are your neighbours, their kids attend our schools, they support other businesses and volunteer. Fernie needs these businesses to prosper to keep our community and economy healthy.

Of all businesses in Canada, 98% are small businesses, and these 98% employ nearly half of the people in the country’s private sector. The collective importance of these small businesses in the Elk Valley is comparable to that of Teck Resources.

A large number of Fernie businesses are doing what they can to offer products and services during these tough times. Those shops and stores that are open are adhering to very strict B.C. health guidelines to ensure the safety of customers and staff. These local business allowing customers to visit their retail for direct purchases and are offering delivery-based drops offs, or offering their products and services online.

Please do what you can at this time as the line between community health and the small business economy is complex. Everyone’s Covid-19 perspective is unique to their level of risk, some of us have high risk and choose to to be extremely safe. It’s not a time to judge others, it’s a time to work together and follow local health guidelines to get us through this. Shopping local have never been more important to our community, be smart and do it safely.

Fortunately Tourism & Hospitality Businesses in Fernie who are being affected by Covid-19 can apply for the Small & Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant. Grants of $10,000 to $30,000 are available to small and medium sized businesses impacted by COVID-19, with an additional $5,000 to $15,000 available to eligible tourism-related businesses.

Even if a business does not meet all of the criteria, owners are encouraged to complete as much as of the application form as possible and submit it so that program personnel can evaluate the application and work on a possible approval. If eligible, businesses will be asked to develop a recovery plan and outline how the grant funding will be used. Professional service providers are available to help businesses with the recovery plan as needed.

Learn more here about how to apply for the grant here.

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