Executive director of the Fernie Chamber of Commerce, Brad Parsell.

Executive director of the Fernie Chamber of Commerce, Brad Parsell.

Extended orders to have ‘significant impact’ on normally lucrative season for Fernie

Executive director of the Fernie Chamber of Commerce Brad Parsell said businesses needed to be tapping in to government assistance now

The extension of provincial public health orders through the Christmas and New Years period is going to have a big impact on the fortunes of Fernie’s businesses according to executive director of the Fernie Chamber of Commerce, Brad Parsell.

“Obviously it’s going to have a significant impact on the usually pretty lucrative Christmas and New Years Holiday period,” he said. “It’s definitely now set the stage for a very tough holiday season.”

Parsell said that businesses in Fernie and the wider Fernie community needed to be thinking of the future, now that that lucrative period had a dampener on top of it.

“We need to triple down on the shop local thing. Not just purchasing gifts locally, but trying to support restaurants and bars by eating there and getting takeout, delivery,” he said, encouraging locals to also consider stay-cations. “I know it sounds funny but you can be a tourist in your own town. Supporting local is now more important than ever after yesterdays news.”

Parsell also said that mental health would be a major concern over the coming weeks and months.

“The holidays are already a grim and lonely time for a lot of folks in our community, so now with the restrictions in place through the holidays, I worry, frankly, about peoples’ mental health.

“I think its worth encouraging folks to check in on people with a text or a phone-call, watch out for your neighbour, organize a games night on zoom with some friends – do whatever you can within the guidelines, but I worry about the less fortunate in our community through these holidays now that we can’t gather outside our own household.”

The Fernie chamber along with many others had attempted to push for a more regional approach to restrictions like the ones that have been imposed province-wide, said Parsell.

“A whole bunch of folk out there that tried to push for a more Lower Mainland-centric response, and hoped that we could avoid this, but obviously it didn’t come to pass.

“It is what it is, I just want to make sure all of our businesses are thinking about the future, and try to remain solvent. I don’t say that lightly – this is the most serious time for Fernie businesses since March – this is a really important revenue season.”

Parsell said that given the new orders were over such an important time for Fernie, businesses that would be raking in tourism dollars now needed to be looking at what government supports there were.

“I talk to too many businesses now that haven’t taken advantage of any of the government aid and the support like the wage subsidy. If there’s anybody that’s in that boat still – this is the time to make sure you’re applying for all of that.

“The government had put all this stuff on the table, people should be taking it.

“The last thing I want to see is anyone close. We’ve come this far as a business community.”

READ MORE: 74 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health



scott.tibballs@thefreepress.ca
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