Jeff Bray is the executive director of the Downtown Victoria Business Association. (rickcollinsphotography.com)

COLUMN: Downtown Victoria welcomes you back

Jeff Bray

Downtown Victoria Business Association

These last few months have been challenging and surreal. For some of us, this time has meant new working arrangements, home schooling the kids, social isolation, and anxiety. For many downtown business owners and employees, there is also grave concern for the future of their establishments, income, and jobs.

Some businesses, like bars, restaurants, and personal services, were ordered to close. Many others opted to close for the safety and well-being of the community. The economic hardships suffered by these businesses is unparalleled. Thousands of employees lost their jobs, and the uncertainty of when, or if, those jobs will return weighs heavily on their shoulders.

British Columbians — especially Vancouver Islanders — have, with Dr. Bonnie Henry’s leadership and the provincial government’s response, fared better than most North American jurisdictions. As a result, we find ourselves at the onset of reopening the local economy.

ALSO READ: An honest and open conversation about Pandora Street

Downtown businesses are keen to welcome you back.

They are working tirelessly to implement all guidelines being set by the provincial health officer, Island Health, and WorkSafeBC. Business owners’ top priority is the safety of customers and staff. Just as we have confidence shopping at the grocery store, pharmacy, and other essential services, downtown businesses recognize the necessity for the public to feel safe shopping and dining downtown.

It is critical that now, more than ever, we support our local businesses. The best way to help our Victoria economy is to spend our dollars in Victoria. We have one of the best mid-sized downtowns in North America, and if we all focus on making local buying decisions, we can recover faster and stronger.

ALSO READ: COLUMN: Every little bit counts as businesses face ‘devastating’ time

Unlike in previous years, tourism will not be a major focus of downtown for 2020. This year, locals have the opportunity to fill that void and enjoy our beautiful region. This includes, as they reopen, supporting tourism-based businesses in downtown. These businesses need economic activity in order to rehire laid-off staff, purchase from their local suppliers, pay for ad space in radio, TV, and in the local papers, and to pay taxes to municipal, provincial, and federal governments.

Downtown Victoria looks forward to inviting you downtown for a day of shopping, wandering, sipping, eating, discovering, and connecting. Your dollar has more power and value than ever before. So please, if you have the means, support local businesses.

Jeff Bray is the executive director of the Downtown Victoria Business Association.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich police see spike in excessive speeding compared to previous years

Nearly 100 excessive speeders caught since January 2020

Colwood branch drop-off to continue throughout summer

COVID-19 safety measures remain in place

Welcome to grilling season: Saanich firefighter talks barbecue safety tips

Grills should be cleaned, serviced prior to use, firefighter says

Cycling scavenger hunt comes to Tweed City

Cyclists scour Oak Bay for clues in Bike to Work Week event

Colwood woman launches Adopt a Grad

Facebook page aims to support students during pandemic

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

$200,000 Maybach impounded after ‘L’ driver caught excessively speeding in Vancouver

Meanwhile, the supervisor sat in the passenger seat, police said

Most Read