CARSTAIRS-DIDSBURY-OLDS-INNISFAIL - Area chamber of commerce officials are voicing support for the planned first stage of the province’s economic re-launch, which could occur as early as May 14.
Chelsea Cairns is the executive director of the Carstairs Chamber of Commerce.
“We are very pleased with this news and we are very excited,” said Cairns, noting that the business community in Carstairs has been hard hit by the shutdown.
“We have about 250 businesses in town and I would say that at least 150 of them are closed. Getting them reopened is very, very important right.”
Laurie Klassen is the first-term president of the Didsbury and District Chamber of Commerce.
“We are really excited for our business community and the town of Didsbury,” said Klassen. “This is a great first step. We have been working diligently to try to support the businesses that were open during COVID, and now with the slow reopening we are really hopeful everyone will follow the (social distancing) guidelines that have been sent out. We need customers and businesses to pay attention to the guidelines.”
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Seeing the pandemic hit only weeks after being first elected president of the chamber has been a unique challenge, she said.
“It wasn’t what I really expected in my first term, but I’ve learned a lot,” she said.
Clare Janitz is the president Olds and District Chamber of Commerce.
“We were really excited about it,” said Janitz. “It’s like a breath of fresh air for everybody; we can all breathe again. It’s very good for the businesses, we’re really excited.
“We were looking at plans on how to promote them, given the lockdown, if it was to continue.”
Judy Schlichenmayer is vice-president Olds and District Chamber of Commerce. Her business, Torrock Sales & Service, has struggled during the lockdown, she said.
“I think it’s very hopeful. I think we still need to be cautious and not go hog wild, but in the long run, there will be a lot of happy campers,” she said.
Larrie Davis, president of the Innisfail and District Chamber of Commerce, said he was “relieved with the provincial announcement that will now allow many businesses to open their doors.
“This is way past due. On the other hand if you are living in fear and still want to maintain your distance and stay in your house you do have the freedom to do that, just as the rest of us need to have our freedom to go to work.”