Editorial: Stand together to bolster community’s economy

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Hope that the COVID-19 virus “curve” is being flattened has been ignited by fewer new cases being reported in B.C.

Except for two major outbreaks at a penitentiary and two poultry plants on the mainland, other confirmed case numbers have been dropping, showing that physical distancing and other measures are having a positive impact in this province.

What is not so hopeful is the short and longer-term effect those measures are having on the economy and the financial lives of many individuals and families. Results of a survey conducted by the Salt Spring Chamber of Commerce found that 40 per cent of 96 responding business owners felt they would not survive the current crisis.

But just as heeding directives of health authorities and governments has had a clear and positive impact on slowing the spread of the virus, the economic situation can be improved by individuals’ actions.

We encourage everyone whose financial circumstances have not been so negatively affected by COVID-19 to help keep money flowing in our community. A number of restaurants are offering takeout and delivery services, including those whose menus are printed on the back page of this issue of the paper. Some storefront businesses and entrepreneurs are able to sell their products if contacted by phone, email or online. Buying gift cards now for redemption later is also extremely helpful.

This week sees the first of a series of Driftwood “Standing Together” ads promoting the importance of shopping locally, featuring photos of island business owners and community leaders. We hope they will remind our readers to make an effort to support local businesses and the people who own them. They are an integral part of our community.

Island generosity is already showing up loud and clear through the Salt Spring Island Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Relief Fund. The fund has received more than $150,000 of its $200,000 goal since being launched March 26, and more than $80,000 had been disbursed as of Monday. The foundation’s board and staff are extremely grateful for support received so far from individuals, businesses and local government.

We hope everyone with means will find a way to help keep community businesses and families afloat until some semblance of normalcy returns to daily life.

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