A panel of local officials answered questions about concerns Maple Ridge business owners have about the process of reopening. (Screen grab)

UPDATE: Maple Ridge business owners question local officials on rules of reopening

Panel of nine local officials took part in webinar called Local Economy Restart

Downtown Maple Ridge BIA and the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Chamber of Commerce hosted a free webinar to discuss the re-opening of local businesses Thursday.

For more than an hour, local business owners had their questions of concern answered by a panel of local politicians and relevant local officials. The questions were submitted ahead of time.

Some questions concerned putting spacing markers on sidewalks, opening a patio on the front sidewalk or in a parking lot to mitigate having to run a business at half capacity, having to put clothing into quarantine that are tried on but not bought by a customer, how much COVID-19 signage a business needs to inform customers about new rules and how to handle the cleaning and disinfecting of public washrooms.

READ MORE: 15 new people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C., three more die

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA Lisa Beare informed the panel that overarching provincial guidelines will be released in the next couple of days, along with sector by sector specific guidelines. And they were, see links below.

“Those will be, you know, those standard questions that everyone’s asking, door handles, elevators, the big overarching provincial pieces,” she said.

Sector specific guidelines will be for retail store owners, the personal services sector like spas and barbers, and other industries.

“There will be very clear guidelines given over this next week to actual sectors on what they need to do and how they need to operate safely,” said the MLA.

Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Chamber of Commerce executive director Flori Chaykowski told The News that the next step for the organization is to ensure that the most current information is shared with business owners as soon as possible.

“What we’re trying to do too when we’re sending out the information is keeping it focused and not overwhelming people,” Chaykowski said. “We’re in this together but apart, for now.”

In the meantime, Chaykowski recommended business owners look for local supports in their community and stay connected with customers online.

“I understand that can get a bit overwhelming, too,” she said. “Just trying to remain focused and take things one step at a time.”

The meeting was moderated by Taryn Stephenson Toews, a partner at T’s Once Upon A Tea Leaf, an independent business downtown Maple Ridge.

The city, Mayor Michael Morden said, was there to listen and exchange ideas.

“I appreciate the organizers putting this session together. Access to multiple levels of government during COVID-19, through events like this, has lead to collaboration, cooperation and effective communication, providing clarity around responsibilities,” he said.

WorkSafeBC and Fraser Health clearly explained what businesses need to know when they reopen.

“We understand the challenges in the days ahead and are open to ways we can do things differently in order to facilitate best outcomes for our businesses,” the mayor added. “As we restart the economy we want to do our part in the best way possible. This constantly evolving new normal will be our way of life for the foreseeable future. Health and safety will be central in all that our businesses do to ensure trust and confidence as we move into the next phase of recovery.”

The video recording from the meeting is posted on the Chamber of Commerce and DMRBIA social media channels.



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