• Airdrie Chamber advocating for business reopening in video campaign

    Whatever wind may have been left in the sails of Alberta businesses that have to remain closed during current government restrictions was stilled last week when Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced, on behalf of the government, that those restrictions would remain in effect.  

    Restaurants, pubs, bars, lounges and cafes, entertainment businesses such as bowling alleys and casinos, gyms, and fitness facilities along with many other businesses remain closed and have been since the mandatory restrictions were put in place effective December 13th.  Businesses are becoming more and more desperate as restrictions continue.  Last week, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said that one in six Canadian small business owners, or about 181,000, are seriously contemplating closing.  

    The Executive Director of the Airdrie Chamber of Commerce Marylin Aalhus has heard from a lot of closed businesses and many feel they may not last another month under the restrictions.  The Chamber has already been asking the government for clarification on why some businesses have been allowed to stay open while others have been forced to close.  Now they're taking that advocacy a step further.

    "We're asking Chamber members to work together to put a face to business with a video campaign," Aalhus says.  "So we actually put a call out to our members and will be reaching out to the business community, just asking if they'd be willing to participate in a video campaign that we will be sharing with our local MLAs and with the task force from the Government of Alberta."

    Production of the video will take place at Airdrie Puppy Pals from January 26th through the 28th.  Business people in Airdrie are being asked to participate to make the government aware of just how dire the situation has become.  

    There is another way for people to get involved even if they don't want to be part of the video.  "We drafted a letter that we're also asking individuals to sign.  Really, the feeling behind the letter is, let's open safe sales and services and not just rely on subsidies.  This has been over ten months in the making and we feel that, in order to actually allow these businesses to succeed, the band-air approach just isn't working.  We need businesses to actually be open in order to succeed."

    If you're interested in being part of the production you can schedule your video time HERE.   

    Aalhus says once the video is complete they plan to present it to Airdrie-East MLA Angela Pitt, Airdrie-Cochrane MLA Peter Guthrie, and the government's COVID-19 committee by this Friday or early next week.  Earlier advocacy efforts had the Chamber speak to both MLAs, as well as Airdrie Mayor Peter Brown.  All three encouraged them to continue to offer solutions and ideas to the government.

    "Obviously, they feel that businesses need answers, that businesses need a plan," Allhus explains, the adds, "Unfortunately, this is feeling like a band-aid approach.  We're giving you some subsidies, which are not nearly what are needED to keep these businesses afloat.  They (Pitt, Guthrie, and Brown) equally were hoping that, with this advocacy, we could get some answers."

    Written by Keith Leask, discoverairdrie.com