Christine Kropp; Supporting Muskoka Small Businesses During COVID-19 - 'Local merchants are worried'

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Christine Kropp

Posted on March 17 in the Province of Ontario newsroom:

Today, the Government of Ontario announced that it is taking decisive action by making an order declaring an emergency under s 7.0.1 (1) the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. In doing so, Ontario is using every power possible to continue to protect the health and safety of all individuals and families. As a result of this declaration and its associated orders, the following establishments are legally required to close immediately:

All bars and restaurants, except to the extent that such facilities provide takeout food and delivery.

Amidst this crisis, many local restaurants and small business closed their doors this week. March Break, and St. Patrick’s Day, dates that typically mean higher sales and foot traffic for food service establishments. Already struggling with a slowing economy, and quiet winter season, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a blow to local merchants. Some have decided to offer take-out service and the larger chains have the drive thru service to keep some business moving. Its times like this one wishes there was GrubHub, Uber Eats or Skip the Dishes in Muskoka.

As more people practice safe distancing, and self-isolate in their homes, small business is feeling the impact. Many have cashflow challenges, and live “paycheck to paycheck”. Working day-to-day to pay their bills, not able to get ahead with a reserve fund or secure a line of credit to support challenging times like this.

Local merchants are worried, it will be a struggle for many to stay afloat during this uncertain time. In conversation with Morgan Richter, Manager of the Huntsville BIA, many merchants are uncertain about what to do. So much is changing, not just daily, but by the hour. It is the uncertainty of what to do next, or how long will this last, that is keeping many up at night. How do you make effective business decisions, when you don’t know how long the closure will last, and if you will be able to reopen?

The government tells us to be staying home unless absolutely necessary to go out. These measures are necessary to ensure that we can slow the spread of this virus, protect our family, neighbours and lessen the demand on our health care system.

What are you doing to support your local community? What can you do in this time of need for those that are losing their jobs as our streets become a ghost town?

Purchase gift cards, online if the business is closed, to use at a time when you are can go out and dine or shop.

Call ahead and pre-order for the businesses trying to offer a service without a front-line shop.

Keep your gym membership, for when you can get back to your daily routine.

Decline a refund if an event is cancelled, and help the organizers pay the deposits and invoices owing due to the cancellation.

Buy Local, shop at the food coop, local farmers, and hardware store before heading to the big box store.

We can all make a difference daily in supporting our neighbour, community and town. We are in this together .. and will come out of this together!

CHRISTINE KROPP ... I use my experience as a hotelier, a baker, a hospitality expert, and a world traveller to help curate a life you don’t need a vacation from. My lifestyle blog “The Sweet Life” includes food, fun and festive living.

Follow Me:

Website: Instagram: @christine__kropp



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