The Downtown Vernon Association responded to the COVID-19 pandemic Friday, March 13. (File photo)

COVID-19: ‘For most of us, we have no backup plan,’ North Okanagan business says

Downtown Vernon Association urges public to support local businesses

The Downtown Vernon Association is encouraging residents to shop local amid growing concerns surrounding COVID-19.

The health and safety of downtown residents, workers and visitors is of utmost importance to the organization and it says it’s closely monitoring the evolving situation and will inform stakeholders of relevant changes.

“The first priority is to take appropriate steps to limit the spread of COVID-19 and ensure our entire community remains healthy,” the DVA said in a statement.

But local businesses in Vernon are already feeling the effects of the novel coronavirus and many have turned to social media to encourage residents to shop locally.

“We’re willing to go pick up people’s vehicles and bring them down because at this point we’ll go under,” said Chelsey Langlois at Vernon’s OK Tire. “It’s just scary”

Malea’s Esthetics posted a Facebook story explaining the reality of small businesses if a mandatory lock down is required.

“For most of us, we have no backup plan, no sick pay, no vacation time,” the company wrote. “When we are not at work, we make zero dollars and still have rent due.

“If you are in the position, please support small businesses during this difficult and uncertain time.”

The DVA echoed this sentiment.

“Our community health as a whole depends on working together, and our small businesses are the lifeblood of the downtown Vernon economy,” the DVA wrote. “We want to make sure they continue to stay successful while maintaining appropriate public health safety measures.”

The DVA is continuing to work with the City of Vernon, health authorities and other organizations and are adjusting plans and promotions as necessary.

“We appreciate your support of local downtown business community and look forward to welcoming everyone back to #DiscoverDowntown soon.”

READ MORE: UPDATE: Coronavirus concerns prompt event cancellations across the Okanagan

READ MORE: Vernon Aquatic Centre shuts down hot spots; pools, weight room still open


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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