On May 6th, Premier John Horgan, with Health Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, announced the plan to restart BC’s economy. In it was very welcome news on how and when sectors which had been completely shut down would be able to reopen. While some details were still being worked out, one aspect has remained constant: we will not be able to return to our previous ways of interacting until there is a vaccine and/or effective treatments. Physical distancing and regular hand washing are still the best ways of keeping the spread of COVID-19 under control.

Julie Lawlor is Executive Director of the West Shore Chamber

Well before this announcement, some businesses had already adapted with these guidelines in mind. The Brown’s The Florist team adjusted their store lay out so you could easily shop with your eyes and not your hands while visiting one of their locations, in addition to the website that was already part of their business model. Other businesses not significantly online moved swiftly to get there. WIN Resale Shops moved their stores online, creating a beautiful gallery and virtual personal shopper experience. Baja Rosi’s Consignment Cabana created a blended model of shopping online via a new website and introduced consignment by appointment instead of drop-off. A blended model is becoming the “new normal” for many businesses as we all come to terms with having to be more patient as we access our goods and services.

Of course, in the middle of change there are also some constants. On May 5th we launched registration for our annual Best of the WestShore Awards (BOWSA). I have to confess that I wasn’t entirely sure what the response would be given that we are in the middle of a pandemic. I was therefore surprised and pleased that the first registration form arrived in my inbox three minutes after our e-news went out, with many more to follow. Feedback has told me that the Best of the WestShore Awards can be a great way to engage with customers and clients and it seems that as we work to rebuild our economy, this is the case now more than ever before.

 Registration closed  May 31st.

Julie Lawlor is the Executive Director at the WestShore Chamber of Commerce.