As a result of social distancing measures and a provincial health order prohibiting gatherings of 50 or more people to curb the spread of COVID-19, many local businesses have either reduced their hours or shut down completely.
A byproduct of these steps is that many people have been temporarily laid off or fired from their jobs.
While the federal government has announced a financial assistance package for those impacted by measures taken to ‘flatten the curve’, many individuals are still struggling to make ends meet until EI and aid money starts arriving.
On the flip side, a large number of essential services businesses like grocery stores and pharmacies require more workers than ever before.
That’s where the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce steps in.
In a statement on Friday morning, Chamber spokesperson Jim Zeeben says the organization is refocusing their Job Board website to connecting businesses seeking employees to people whose jobs have been affected by COVID-19.
“There has been a lot of attention focused on layoffs but we’re also hearing from many employers who are struggling to fill positions in their organizations,” Chamber CEO Catherine Holt said.
“The Chamber continues to call on all levels of government to provide immediate relief for businesses affected during this ongoing crisis. We also will do everything we can to continue connecting people to help sustain our economy and ensure all of us can recover quickly as soon as it is possible to do so.”
According to the statement, the Chamber has seen demand for people to work as delivery drivers and cleaners, at grocery stores and pharmacies.
They are also seeing demand for people to assist accountants and financial institutions as they themselves try to help process a huge increase to their workload.
To access the Job Board as an employer in need of employees or as a worker able to fill a need, visit VictoriaChamber.ca/jobs. At this time, employers are able to post at no charge by using the code SUPPORTYYJ.
To date, there are 22 cases of COVID-19 on Vancouver Island, out of 271 positive cases in British Columbia.
The federal government recently announced an $82 billion assistance package for Canadians and businesses struggling financially during the global pandemic.
Earlier this week, B.C. joined Alberta and Ontario in declaring a public health emergency in order to curb the spread of COVID-19.
On Wednesday, B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth declared a provincial state of emergency to support the health ministry’s public health emergency.
The provincial government also announced the indefinite suspension of all in-person classes at K-12 schools in B.C.
Canada has tightened its borders and is denying entry to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents in Canada.
U.S. citizens are no longer an exception to this rule, and non-essential travel between U.S. and Canada will be temporarily banned by March 21st. Moreover international flights have been restricted to international airports in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary.
The BCCDC has set up a 2019 novel coronavirus telephone information line at 1-833-784-4397 for those who have further questions about this disease.
Anyone concerned that they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus, should contact their primary care provider, local public health office, or call 8-1-1.
The Province has also created the 1-888-COVID-19 line to connect British Columbians needing non-medical information about the coronavirus pandemic.
As of the time of publication, the total number of COVID-19 patients worldwide has risen to 266,175.
Over 11,186 people have died from the illness and 90,603 have made a full recovery.