The light at the end of the tunnel

The light at the end of the tunnel

< Back to Articles | Topics: From the President | Contributors: Patrick Sullivan, President & CEO | Published: June 3, 2021

This month gives me more hope than usual, and that’s because summer is in full swing and reopening plans are in effect. The gradual opening of the province in a five phase plan means Nova Scotians get to enjoy our summer.

Most businesses are opening further, and outdoor gathering limits have increased. Restaurants have their patios open already and indoor dinning is on its way come phase two in a few weeks––as long as we continue adhering to the public health guidelines that we know so well by now.

On a similar note, the Chamber is not slowing down with a number of projects, initiatives and events on the docket. We are piloting workplace testing to add another layer of protection for workers, patrons and local communities. Statistics show that rapid testing has identified and stopped the transmission of 10 per cent of all Nova Scotian cases, tens of thousands of confirmed cases of COVID-19, and we want it to continue being our first line of defense.

That’s why we have been provincially approved as a COVID-19 rapid-test distributor. Through this pilot project, and with the assistance of Nova Scotia Public Health, we are rolling out rapid testing kits to SMEs and their employees to ensure a safe working environment.

At the same time, vaccination is underway, and the rollout plan is ahead of schedule. The province promised Nova Scotians first doses available for all by the end of June, and it is delivering on that promise. More than 50 per cent of Nova Scotians have had one or more doses and plans to speed up the delivery of second doses are coming sooner than expected. As Dr. Strang said “The more people who get vaccinated, the more we can reopen our province.” So, as per public health advice, book your appointment and get vaccinated if you haven’t already!

Small businesses continue to be the unsung heroes throughout this pandemic, and they’ve been vocal about the support they need the most. And we are listening and continue to advocate on their behalf. We have been consulting the provincial government and they have recognized the continued challenges that require action. As a result, the Small Business Impact Grant Part 3 program is now further supporting those small businesses affected by the ongoing restrictions, making top-up payments available to all eligible small businesses.

On top of that, the government has also amended the Liquor Licensing Regulations, helping the hard-hit restaurants and bars navigate declining revenues. This unique pivot is allowing those businesses to include cocktails and mixed drinks for delivery or take-out with food orders while waiting for the return of indoor dining. It’s definitely something to celebrate, but we hope the government recognizes the reopening plan must move as quickly as possible to support our business community.

More celebrations this June as it is National Indigenous History Month. A time when we get to celebrate and honour the history, heritage and diversity of Indigenous peoples in Canada. It’s a time for learning, appreciating and acknowledging the contributions First Nations, Inuit and Métis people have made and continue to. We also honour the lives and memories of the 215 children found buried on the grounds of the former Kamloops residential school in Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc territory. Our flags at the Chamber have been lowered in recognition and to learn from the societal harm done by the residential school system.

Shannon Monk, Founder of Sakatay Global and Creator Of The Indigenous Circle Approach To Cultural Confidence™ gives us a snapshot to learn about and engage Indigenous communities in building our cultural confidence. Keep in mind these connections should be maintained year round and not just during this month.

In this issue of Business Voice, you’ll read about the recently energized Indigenous economy in Atlantic Canada; the important nuances of accessibility in achieving inclusion; and profiles highlighting Acadia University’s community-building initiatives and CNIB’s programs supporting the visually impaired. You’ll also find an article by our Vice President of Marketing, Becky Davison, who’s spearheading the Chamber’s new and improved Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion policy––along with a scorecard to keep us on track.

Even more celebrations are in order as the province is also on track to greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, with the most ambitious climate change plans in the country. We are hosting a discussion on this very important topic of renewable energy and the impact and opportunities for local businesses. Registration is free.

As I said at the beginning of this message, we at the Chamber continue to offer our members and the Halifax community, along with our partners and government officials, reasons to celebrate during these tough times. Let’s keep that glass (on a patio!) half full.

We’re in your corner.

< Back to Articles | Topics: From the President

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