Smithers District Chamber of Commerce vice president Elizabeth Miller moderates a roundtable discussion of government representatives and local business leaders via Zoom April 3. (Thom Barker photo)

Smithers District Chamber of Commerce vice president Elizabeth Miller moderates a roundtable discussion of government representatives and local business leaders via Zoom April 3. (Thom Barker photo)

Some Smithers businesses may re-open sooner rather than later

Weekly Chamber of Commerce video conference focuses on business concern amid COVID-19

Some Smithers businesses may be getting ready to re-open sooner rather than later.

During a weekly roundtable meeting conducted by the Smithers District Chamber of Commerce on the online video conferencing platform Zoom, participants got updates on the COVID-19 pandemic respsonse from the Chamber, representatives of all levels of government, financial institutions and others.

Stay up to date on all the latest local, provincial, national and international news at

A focal point of the discussion, however, was around what local businesses have to do to if they want to re-open.

Smithers Deputy Mayor Gladys Atrill explained that there are three categories of businesses in B.C., essential services, such as grocery stores, businesses that must remain closed, such as bars, and other businesses that may remain open as long as they can adapt to provincial guidelines.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses explains:

READ MORE: Update from the medical community of Smithers, April 3, 2020

“Any business or service that has not been ordered to close may stay open at this time if it can adapt its services and workplace to the orders and recommendations of the provincial Health Officer (1-2 metres social distancing for customers, increased sanitation, no gatherings over 50 people).”

It is unclear at this time what businesses are considering re-opening, but Atrill cautioned that those intending to do so should exercise caution by educating the public so as to avoid backlash.

Seven other provinces have already ordered all non-essential businesses to close, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, B.C., Northwest Territories and Yukon are still leaving it up to most businesses whether they can operate safely.

Another important area of conversation came from Mark Fisher, Electoral District ‘A’ representative for the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechacko RDBN.

While all the emergency preparedness focus currently surrounds COVID-19, Fisher reminded meeting participants that wildfire season is just around the corner.

RDBN, Smithers Fire Rescue, Bulkley Valley Emergency Support Services and other organizations in the region continue to work on this issue.

The Interior News will have more on this next week.

Another main area of concern emerged regarding what financial institutions are doing to help businesses weather the crisis.

Lonny Wiebe, RBC Smithers branch manager explained they have discretion to defer loan, credit card payments and some bank fees for both businesses and individuals for up to six months or a year.

Greg Wacholtz of the Bulkley Valley Credit Union said they have similar discretion on a case-by-case basis.

The April 3 meeting, moderated by Chamber vice-president Elizabeth Miller attracted 51 participants.

The Chamber plans to host similar meetings weekly. They are open to anyone who wants to attend. A link to the meeting is posted on the Chamber website and Facebook page. Creating an account on Zoom is free.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Houston physician Dr. Stefanie Steel receives her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine Jan. 19 from RN nurse manager Cindy Cockle. (Northern Health photo)
COVID-19 vaccinations get underway in Smithers

First doses are being administered to long-term care residents and priority health care staff

The COVID-19 outbreak at the two Coastal GasLink workforce lodges has officially been declared over. (Lakes District News file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Coastal GasLink worksites declared over

In total, 56 cases were associated with the outbreak in the Burns Lake and Nechako LHAs

Fentanyl was among the drugs seized by New Hazelton RCMP in a big bust in early January. (File photo)
New Hazelton RCMP arrest five, seize drugs and large amount of cash

Police find suspected heroin, fentanyl and crystal meth during early January drug bust

Smithers Local Health area reported 32 new cases of COVID-19 for the second week of January. (BC CDC graphic)
Weekly new cases of COVID-19 rise to 32 in Smithers LHA Jan. 10 – 16

Northern Health reports 35 new cases for 501 active, 44 hospitalized, 17 in critical care Wednesday

Brett Alexander Jones is wanted on several warrants province-wide, in connection with multiple charges. Jan. 21, 2021. Kitimat RCMP photo
Kitimat RCMP searching for man wanted on several warrants province-wide

Jones is described as a five-foot 10-inches Caucasian man, with blond hair and blue eyes.

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

The District of Saanich’s communications team decided to take part in a viral trend on Thursday and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a staff meeting photo. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Bernie Sanders makes guest appearance municipal staff meeting in B.C.

Vancouver Island firefighters jump on viral trend of photoshopped U.S. senator

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Police in Vancouver looking for male suspect who allegedly spat and attacked a store manager for not wearing a mask, at 7-Eleven near Alma Street and West 10th Avenue just before noon on Dec. 17, 2020. (Vancouver police handout)
VIDEO: Man spits on 7-Eleven manager over mask rule, sparking Vancouver police probe

‘Unfortunately, the store manager sustained a cut to his head during the assault’

The Vancouver-based SAR team successfully rescued two lost snowshoers off of the west side of Tim Jones Peak in the early morning of Monday, Jan. 19. (North Shore Rescue photo)
B.C.’s busiest SAR team raises alarm after 2021 begins with fatality, multiple rescues

‘People beyond ski resort areas of Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress go without cell reception,’ SAR warns

Police are searching for an alleged sex offender, Nicole Edwards, who they say has not returned to her Vancouver halfway house. (Police handout)
Police hunt for woman charged in ‘horrific’ assault who failed to return to Surrey halfway house

Call 911 immediately if you see alleged sex offender Nicole Edwards, police say

A screenshot from a local Instagram account video. The account appeared to be frequented by Mission students, and showed violent videos of students assaulting and bullying other students.
Parents, former students describe ‘culture of bullying’ in Mission school district

Nearly two dozen voices come forward speaking of abuse haunting the hallways in Mission, B.C.

Most Read