CHARLOTTETOWN, PE – The Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce is working with its members and government officials to support efforts and identify businesses’ needs to safely reopen as part of the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Tuesday, April 28, the provincial government, under the direction of Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, released its Renew PEI Together plan for easing PEI back to business. This plan outlined four phases to ease public restrictions, marking milestones in time where the businesses can reopen with the necessary adaptions to protect customers, clients and employees from possible exposure to COVID-19.
The Chamber has advocated for and welcomes this plan and is now working on behalf of its members to seek and advocate for further clarity of, and the rationale for, the protocols outlined in the document.
“The Chamber had been advocating for an ease-back to business plan amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and was pleased to see it presented earlier this week,” said Chamber Interim CEO, Gerard Adams. “Our primary concern has been and remains the health and safety of employees, customers, clients and the greater public. After hearing from members, we know there are areas where further clarification is needed for businesses to, under the direction of this plan, safely reopen.”
Adams added that the Chamber has, in particular, heard concerns about the expectations outlined for the restaurant, retail, automobile, private care, and event planning industries.
To assist members in understanding the rationale of decisions in the Renew PEI Together plan, the Chamber hosted a webinar with Dr. Heather Morrison on Thursday morning. Over 225 members of the business community virtually attended the event.
“Thursday’s webinar was an excellent opportunity for members to have their questions answered directly by Dr. Morrison,” said Chamber Board of Directors President, Dawn Binns. “We would love to see opportunities like this continue for our members and felt there was a strong willingness from Dr. Morrison and her team to do so.”
In addition to Dr. Morrison’s webinar, the Chamber held a productive virtual meeting Friday morning with Premier Dennis King and Minister of Economic Growth, Tourism & Culture, Matthew MacKay. At the meeting, the Chamber reiterated members’ concerns and identified solutions to continue to facilitate open dialogue between the business community and provincial public health officials as the stages of the recovery unfold.
“Everyone in this meeting agreed we are in uncharted territory, and no one is going to be perfect throughout this process. With that said, we did identify the opportunity going forward to increase communication between the business community and public health officials – so that we can all work together to find creative solutions for safely opening businesses and still protect public health,” said Binns. “We felt this suggestion was well received and look forward to supporting our members in this process in the days ahead.”
The Chamber is now reaching out to members to identify further questions and opportunities regarding the Renew PEI Together plan. They will work with government and public health to find creative, adaptive solutions for businesses to safely operate in the confines of the Island’s new normal.