Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria
May 6, 2020
Phase 2 will allow the following under enhanced protocols:
  • Medically related services
  • dentistry, physiotherapy, registered massage therapy, chiropractors
  • physical therapy, speech therapy, and similar services
  • Office-based worksites
  • Retail sector
  • Hair salons/barbers/other personal service establishments
  • In-person counselling
  • Restaurants, cafes, pubs – with sufficient distancing measures
  • Restoration of health services
  • Re-scheduling elective surgery
  • Museums, art galleries, libraries
  • Recreation/sports
  • Parks, beaches and outdoor spaces
  • Child care

Phase 3 - will depend on the rate of transmission remaining low, and could start as early as June
  • Domestic film industry
  • Hotels and resorts
  • Movie theatres — but not large audiences

Phase 4 - Will begin once there is a vaccine, mass immunity or effective treatments
  • Concerts, pro sports and large events and conventions will be allowed
  • International tourism
New date! Join Chamber CEO Catherine Holt and Jamie Sawchuk, BC Government and Public Service Leader at Deloitte as they discuss how businesses can prepare now for recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.
Please note new date
Friday., May 8 | 10:30-11 am
Restaurants face tough — but open — road ahead
BC's restaurant industry's plan to get back to business offers a good model for every sector trying to find their footing in a new economy.

Ian Tostenson, CEO of the BC Restaurants and Foodservices Association, was Chamber CEO Catherine Holt's guest yesterday for a fireside chat on how the industry can survive the pandemic.

Tostenson said his industry acted quickly after the province's Public Health Officer asked restaurateurs for ideas on reopening. The first step was to research best practices across North America and then convene an "A-Team" of top thinkers in the sector. The result was an extensive plan that has been presented to the province.

Solutions might include plexiglass allowing for separation for guests waiting to be seated, as well as people dining at tables. Restaurants would also have strict protocols preventing the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

"I think all of us have a real privilege to be part of the regeneration of this economy and taking it straight on, making it whatever we want because there are no rules," Tostenson said.

During the Fireside Chat, Chamber members were able to ask a number of questions such as what impact the new rules will have on pricing. Tostenson said customers can expect a fair price that balances the need to cover costs and keeping customers coming back. There could also be larger patios for outdoor seating, as long as municipalities show support.

"It's going to be a really tough road back for most restaurant owners, unfortunately," he said. "But I think the good news is we are going to open the roads up fairly quickly."
BC Restaurants and Foodservices Association: Member since 1996
Butchart Gardens leads the way with soft opening
Butchart Gardens quietly opened its doors on Monday. The region's most popular attraction has introduced strict rules to keep visitors and staff safe, says CEO Dave Cowan. The opening is a test run to help determine the best way to feasibly operate under the new normal.

"In future, we will be able to assure visitors that our protocols to handle increased capacity have been built on incremental experience, and there is no better way to ensure safety than to base procedures on reality," Cowan wrote in an email he shared with The Chamber. Cowan noted that safety remains paramount as the country and world struggle to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. "This tough reality means we have to be smart about how we collectively rebuild our regional and national tourism economy."

Rebuilding trust will be imperative for the visitor economy, specifically garden tourism, which contributes more than $300 million to BC's economy
Butchart Gardens: Member since 1976
Tourism is a vital part of our local economy and was one of the first industries to feel the effects of the current pandemic.

Join Chamber CEO Catherine Holt and Paul Nursey, CEO of Destination Greater Victoria, as they talk about how Greater Victoria's tourism industry can recover in the face of the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

About the Series:

As part of The Chamber's commitment to getting businesses back to work, Chamber CEO Catherine Holt is hosting experts and government officials. This is your opportunity to get answers on pressing issues and the information you need to help you manage through these unprecedented times. For previous fireside chats, click here.
Please check our   Events Calendar   for   other events and updates on tools and suggestions to get through to the other side.
Chamber chair shares his COVID-19 story
John Wilson, chair of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce and president and CEO of The Wilson’s Group of Companies, recently shared the difficult story of how his business has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The story was part of an ongoing series in the Times Colonist.

"The year 2020 marks 40 years in business for Wilson’s Transportation. Never did I think this is how we would be spending it when late last year we began making celebration plans for this significant milestone for our company and our family. Like many others, rather than celebrating, we are just trying to survive."
Wilson's Group of Companies: Member since 2004
Times Colonist: Member since 1961
Federal loans don't need personal guarantee
The Chamber continues to hear from members about unexpected hurdles they face trying to access government relief programs. In one case, a financial institution asked for a personal guarantee from a business applying for a Canada Emergency Business Account.

This is not necessary and, if you have been asked to do so, contact your financial institution to have this removed so it does not affect your personal credit.
Saanich extends roadside stand for 45 days
Saanich is working on helping businesses that might be able to safely operate roadstand stands to help get through the pandemic. On Monday night, Saanich council voted to have staff report on allowing certain types of roadside stands. In the meantime, without naming the specific business, Saanich has granted an extension to Foxglove Flowers so it can continue to operate its roadside flower stand while Saanich works on a longer-term fix. The issue came to a head after a complaint led the municipality to order the stand be shut down within 30 days.

The Chamber encourages neighbours to support local businesses during these difficult times, and thanks Saanich for supporting innovative approaches that allow businesses to continue to operate during these uncertain times.
Foxglove Flowers: Member since 2006
District of Saanich: Member since 2019
Mother’s Day Tips
With Mother’s Day just around the corner, check out these five tips to give your mother a special gift while continuing to support local businesses. 

  • Send a bouquet of flowers from a local florist or garden centre.
  • Buy her a restaurant gift card to treat your mother in the future, or order her delivery as a surprise.
  • Purchase spa/hotel gift certificates for a future weekend getaway. 
  • Get her the latest novel and set up a video chat to discuss the characters.
  • Buy her a box of chocolates or sweet snack at a local candy shop or, if that's not her taste, order some local wine or beer.

Be sure to visit our Chamber Member Service Updates page for more inspiration, and to see which Chamber members are offering updated services during this time.
Let us know about updates to your hours or services
We've created a webpage to help your customers keep track of updated hours and services as a result of COVID-19. If your changes are not yet listed, email  to have your information added.

Click on a category below to find innovative ways our members continue to serve Greater Victoria.
Connecting employers with employees today
The Chamber is proud to have featured over 200 jobs on our Job Board since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. We continue to offer this service free of charge to employers using the code SUPPORTYYJ.

The Chamber is receiving recognition for this program internationally and are working with various organizations to encourage other chambers and associations to help local essential service providers and employees get connected.

If you have any difficulty posting, please email We will get back to you ASAP on the next business day.

All jobs posted to our job board have been vetted by a member of The Chamber team.
Thanks to our friends at H2 Accelerator, we have a new ad campaign you'll see online. It encourages out-of-work locals to pitch in at businesses that need help.
Members Around Town
Hearts flying over YYJ

Heart flags are flying over Greater Victoria, and Chamber members have helped make this symbol of hope a familiar sight. The Flag Shop and Capital Iron are now selling heart flags with proceeds going towards the Rapid Relief Fund . Flags are selling quickly , and people are encouraged to order their flags soon. 
Capital Iron: member since 2004
Flag Shop: member since 1993

All connected for good was demonstrated beautifully as TELUS Communications worked with The Cridge Centre for the Family to make sure families remain connected through this crisis.

Tablets were donated to support seniors in assisted living, low-income families, brain injury survivors, and women and children in transitional housing who have left abusive relationships. The Cridge Centre for the Family serves more than 2,000 client per year in seven distinct programs.

At a time when people are facing isolation, the tablets are an excellent resource helping clients connect to their families, and allowing them to access support networks and online resources.

The Chamber is proud to have facilitated this partnership, and we would like to thank TELUS for their kind donation.
TELUS Communications: member since 1962
The Cridge Centre for the Family: member since 1995
Community Support Fund

Community Micro Lending has launched Phase 1 of their Community Support Fund. This phase aims to raise $50,000 for small enterprises in Greater Victoria and the Capital Regional District. The fund aims to support the independent business community in the form of small, community sourced, no fee, no interest loans between $250 and $2,500.

Community Micro Lending: member since 2020
Mental Health Week

This week is Mental Health Week , and this year highlights the importance of reaching out and staying connected. Chambers Group Insurance is providing free mental health resources, that can be accessed for free at any time, here .  
Chambers Plan Insurance: member since 1998

The Bay Centre's #FeedOurCommunity campaign has announced that with every grocery kit purchased from Earls Kitchen & Bar , The Bay Centre will donate a custom grocery kit through the United Way of Greater Victoria . The kit will be given to a local family or senior in need, and will continue from now until May 11.
Earls Kitchen & Bar: member since 2010
Bay Centre: member since 1990
United Way of Greater Victoria: member since 1972
UVIC Face Shields

Researchers at the University of Victoria have been developing medical-grade face shields for frontline workers. Organizations and individuals have donated their time and equipment to the initiative, including a $10,000 grant from Coast Capital Savings . The first 4,000 masks will be distributed in the coming weeks. 
University of Victoria: member since 1976
Coast Capital Savings: member since 2011
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