Sooke Municipal Hall is closed to the public to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. (Kevin Laird - Sooke News Mirror)

Sooke Municipal Hall is closed to the public to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. (Kevin Laird - Sooke News Mirror)

Sooke businesses respond in time of crisis

Sooke Emergency Operations Centre met with business community to discuss impact of COVID-19

The Sooke business community is rallying around neighbours in a time of crisis.

The District of Sooke Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) personnel reached out to representatives of the local business community this week. Members of the planning and logistics team spoke with business owners and staff to check-in regarding operations, current needs, and future concerns.

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According to EOC director Matt Barney the message heard repeatedly was that where possible, local businesses are trying to remain open to serve residents of Sooke, while also following the guidelines provided by the provincial health officer and protecting the health and well-being of staff.

Provincial orders have resulted in many changing their business models, with restaurants shifting to delivery and take-out services and other shops operating with reduced hours and modified staffing. Reminders of physical distancing requirements have been put in place, and where possible separation of staff from customers have been installed.

“Even as we reached out to discuss specific business needs, the discussion often flipped to how businesses could help residents,” stated a release from Barney, the local emergency program coordinator. “As business owners shared their fears and feelings of uncertainty, many also offered assistance, assets, and supplies.”

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He pointed to Sheringham Distillery, which has shifted to producing hand sanitizer, which they delivered to the Sooke Fire Department for members who are on the front line of health care in our community.

“The spirit of this community continues to amaze me,” said Mayor Maja Tait. “Businesses are adapting quickly and are doing so with empathy and genuine concern for their staff and the larger community. Local businesses need the equal support of Sooke residents right now. I encourage everyone to shop local when gathering essential household items.”

Residents are reminded to remain in their homes and to limit time spent in the community.