Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps is bringing an emergency motion to city council this Thursday to find ways to invest back into local businesses, amidst rising COVID-19 fears.
“Let’s stop buying online,” Helps said in a statement posted to her blog. “Let’s shop local. Heck, let’s even do some of our holiday shopping now, really, really early.”
Helps said many small businesses have begun reaching out to the City, asking for support through the global epidemic that has shut down the majority of social events and encouraged social distancing.
At Thursday’s Committee of the Whole, Helps and Coun. Jeremy Loveday will ask council to approve the motion, directing staff to take a look at the City’s powers to support small business and jobs in a way that helps the local economy ‘recover stronger and more resilient than before’.
Helps says she’s seen what she describes as a ‘massive slowdown’ in visitors to Victoria.
The federal government has discouraged international travel, cruise ship travel, and gatherings of more than 250 people to name a few actions taken. With Victoria’s cruise ship season delayed until at least July 1, Helps says storefront customers are slowly decreasing.
“Now’s the time to show them our love,” she said. “While debating these issues and looking for solutions at City Hall, I hope we see Victorians out in the city, enjoying all of the wonderful experiences our small businesses have to offer – of course practicing the social distancing that Dr. Henry recommends.”