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Whistler Chamber Responds to new Health Orders

 

April 22, 2021

On March 31, 2021, Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC’s Provincial Health Officer, announced a series of health orders that would have implications across the province.

The Whistler Chamber posted a response by Melissa Pace, CEO, and organized ongoing weekly Advocacy in Action discussions in partnership with the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) to help understand challenges facing local businesses and assess what steps to take to best support the business community.

A special Food & Beverage panel discussion was held, where it was evident the effects of the new restrictions have been felt well beyond Whistler. Panelist Ian Tostenson, President of the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association (BCRFA), shared that short-term losses were expected to amount to roughly $500 million across B.C.

Throughout discussions, consensus among Chamber Members and panelists was that health orders were announced without sufficient time for preparations to be made. What resulted wasn’t just a scramble to adjust work schedules and logistics, but also a blow to employee morale.

Concerns with regard to staffing have been common, with many Members expressing that when tourists return to Whistler, they’re likely to face a staff shortage.

Another major theme emerged regarding the benefits of fully vaccinating all Whistler residents & workers. Whistler Mayor Jack Crompton was in attendance for a Chamber discussion, and was able to secure provincial backing for the mass vaccination of Whistler, which was initiated last week at the Whistler Conference Centre.

Recent discussions saw Members grapple with the ethics of admitting guests who defy health orders and arrive from outside the Sea-to-Sky community. Options are also being explored to encourage the expansion of the provincial Circuit Breaker Grant to include businesses in tourism sectors that aren’t covered presently.

Whistler’s collaborative spirit was on display, with resources pertaining to accessing subsidies being made available.  Whistler Community Services Society (WCSS) Executive Director Jacki Dickinson also drew attention to financial and mental health resources available for those in need, and emphasized the importance of asking for help during these times. Whistler’s collaborative

We will continue to keep our Members updated. In the meantime, keep checking in on our COVID-19 Resources & Guidance for Whistler Businesses page, where you can find our recent advocacy work, recordings of our Advocacy in Action webinars, and regular COVID-19 blog updates alongside our carefully collated resources.

Member input sessions guide us as we focus our efforts to make business better for YOU, our Members. As always, please reach out with any questions or concerns to chamber@whistlerchamber.com.

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