COVID-19 means it’s more important than ever to support New West businesses

Lee Brooks was on his way to grab breakfast to go from a fast-food drive-through when he had a change of heart.

Instead, the New West resident decided to go to Greens and Beans Deli in Sapperton.

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“I realized local businesses need support, so I made a turn and came down to see them and have breakfast here,” he told the Record. “I am a local business as well. It actually works well – local businesses supporting local businesses.”

That’s something Brooks encourages other citizens to consider when doing business or making purchases.

“I say wherever possible, support your local businesses always,” he said, “but definitely in times like this.”

Kendra Johnston, executive director of the Downtown New West BIA, said New West independent and small businesses need the community’s support now more than ever. In response to COVID-19 concerns, she said many have adapted to offer products and services in a safe way. 

“There are several ways to support them including ordering online, calling ahead to arrange pick-up/delivery, amplifying their message online, or buying gift certificates now for later use,” she said. “The Downtown New West BIA website will maintain a list of businesses offering delivery/take-out options that we will update daily.”

Rnold Smith, CEO of the New Westminster Chamber of Commerce, also urges community members to support local businesses if they need to shop.

“Our community is better when it is full of thriving and vibrant small businesses. They are the ones who support your lacrosse or baseball team and the ones whose families go to local restaurants and shops,” he said in a press release. “Please consider them in the coming weeks and months as the response to COVID-19 unfolds.”

The City of New Westminster’s response to COVID-19 includes the creation of several working committees, including one that will focus on addressing local economic impacts.

Mayor Jonathan Cote said it’s not going to be easy to support businesses during periods of isolation, but where possible, he urges residents to consider the difficulties that local businesses are facing.

“As we emerge out of this crisis though, I think it is going to be so important for residents to be able to support the local businesses in their community,” he said. “I know there is going to be a tremendous amount of stress on small businesses in New Westminster.”

On Twitter, Cote tweeted a list of ways community members can support local businesses. These include: buying gift cards from local businesses so they get the revenue now (you can use them later); shopping online or by phone (some businesses are now offering delivery or pick-up services); ordering take-out and delivery from local restaurants; and buying baking, grocery and produce from local businesses.

With so much uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, there are fears some businesses won’t survive.

“At this point, we don’t know how long this is going to last, where this is going to go, but it is going to have significant impacts throughout the community,” Cote said. “I am very fearful it is going to have impacts to a lot of residents’ employment, impacts to a lot of businesses. I am deeply concerned about that.”

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