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Opinion

What you can do

Small businesses in Vernon, BC have been devastated by the COVID19 outbreak. To reduce the spread of the disease, many closed their doors.

“The decision to close has been a difficult one. But we want to do our part to protect our staff and customers and all members of our community.”

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Businesses are reducing hours, moving to takeout only, and closing down in accordance with provincial guidelines.

But they’re hurting. They still have to pay rent, utilities, staff, and invoices. Many can’t afford to be off work for a day, much less weeks.

Here’s another way you can help Vernon businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak

Yesterday, we talked about buying gift certificates, online, and takeout. These put immediate cash in business owners pockets! (So keep doing it)

But here’s something else you can do: write your elected officials.

Here’s a sample letter I just wrote to Mel Arnold (MP) and Eric Foster (MLA):

Can you take a few minutes and write your MP and MLA now? Feel free to use this text as a template for your email:


Hi Mel,

I’m glad the government has announced funding to help Canadian businesses in the midst of the COVID19 outbreak.

However, here in Vernon BC, small businesses have already closed their doors and are haemorrhaging cash. The new wage subsidy helps a bit, but most have already had to lay off staff.

The immediate problem is they need access to capital, just to keep the lights on.

The announcements about “saving the airline industry” and “helping the big banks” worry me.

The first people to receive assistance should be main street businesses: restaurants, cafes, pubs, main street shops.

They’ve been hit the hardest: many don’t have shareholders, investment accounts, or cash reserves.

They’re dying right now. They needed help yesterday.

Here’s what business owners need right now: grants and loans. They need operating capital.

Also: I’d like to see rent subsidies/forgiveness for shops who have had to shut down.

Sincerely,
Your name

PS: I’m not in favour of an airline bailout unless there are lots of strings attached:

  1. We (the taxpayers) become the majority shareholders
    regular airline employees get assistance first (before execs)
  2. There’s a ban on share buybacks
  3. CEOs have their salaries and bonuses frozen

Contact information for elected officials in Vernon, BC:

Let’s make sure that government aid doesn’t just go to megacorps. Let’s advocate for our friends and neighbors who own businesses on main street.

Cheers,
Justin Jackson

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