Airdrie Chamber looks to business community for suggestions on getting clear messaging from the government
The Airdrie Chamber of Commerce has done everything they can think of to advocate for a clear and safe reopening plan for businesses in the city and in the province from COVID-19 restrictions.
Now, they're looking to the Airdrie business community to suggest other ways to advocate to the government for a clear way forward for businesses to safely reopen.
On Monday (March 22) Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro said the government was pushing pause on its plans to enter Phase Three of the Path Forward, one that would have eased restrictions on adult team sports, casinos, racing centres and bingo halls, and further eased restrictions of youth sport and recreation activities, indoor social gatherings, with restrictions, Indoor seated events such as movie theatres and auditoria, museums, art galleries, zoos, interpretive centres, and places of worship.
The benchmark to enter Phase Three was to be 300 Albertans in hospital, with that number declining. Alberta was under that mark, however, the number of people in the hospital was growing so the province didn't move ahead on the phase.
The disappointment for many businesses and others in the province prompted the latest move by the Chamber of Commerce, according to Executive Director Marilyne Aalhus.
"We have been brainstorming as a staff and as a board of directors on ways that we can get the attention of our provincial government and we thought why not ask our members and our business community at large to contribute to some of those ideas and help the message become even louder and clearer when we continue to write the government and to work with them to try to find a solution to reopen our economy."
The Chamber's advocacy efforts to date include sending a compelling video and letter campaign to the government on February 9th that showed them the face of local businesses that are directly affected by the restrictions. On March 9th the Chamber sent a second letter to the Premier requesting he put forward a clear path to a safe reopening.
The Airdrie Chamber has attended countless town halls with Premier Kenney, Health Minister Shandro and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health but Aalhus says they still haven't received any clear answers on how they plan to reopen the economy.
"They say to us in a letter that the government wrote that they have introduced a clear step forward but I just can't tell you enough how many businesses are saying the message is not clear. The government needs to provide a clear, concise, reopening plan that businesses can rely on," Aalhus says.
The March 22nd announcement by Shandro saying the government wouldn't move forward was a bit of a breaking point for the Chamber who say the government continues to change the reopening requirements.
"I feel the messaging is, honestly, just a yo-yo," Aalhus explains. "We're not understanding how severe the variants need to be in order to prevent a stage from reopening. When it comes to numbers if they could provide a clearer understanding of what they're doing behind closed doors and how they're making these decisions, I feel that Albertans would just feel like they're part of the process, not just being told what to expect on a day-to-day basis."
The Chamber of Commerce hopes to hear suggestions from its members and business community on what they feel should be done to advocate for a safe opening and invite them to put them forward by March 31st. Suggestions can even be made anonymously.
You'll find the form to register suggestions on the Chamber website HERE.
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