With help from the Northern Initiative Trust, the B.C. Economic Development Association and corporate sponsorship from Vancity, the website supportlocalbc.com is signing up communities and businesses in all regions of B.C. Participants are asked to buy gift certificates through the website in denominations of $10, $25, $50 and $100 that can be redeemed in the months ahead after businesses have begun to recover.
“These purchases will provide an injection of current cash flow of businesses that have had to temporarily close their doors,” the website says. “Our hope is that you will wait to use the cards at least one month after the pandemic has passed and businesses have reopened their locations.”
As of May 8, the program has business listings for communities including 100 Mile House, Abbotsford, Ashcroft, Burns Lake, Chilliwack, Delta, Fort St. James, Fraser Lake, Haida Gwaii, Agassiz-Harrison, Houston, Kitimat, Langley, Lillooet, Mackenzie, Maple Ridge, Mission, Pitt Meadows, Prince Rupert, Quesnel, Smithers, Surrey, Telkwa, Terrace, Tofino, Ucluelet, Valemount, Victoria, Wells and Williams Lake.
The new initiative comes as the B.C. government begins relaxing public health restrictions to allow businesses to restart in phases. Phase two adds to essential businesses that have been operating through the pandemic, including retail, hair salons and other personal services, restaurants, cafes and pubs that have sufficient physical distance measures and office-based work sites.