This has been an incredibly tough year. We were all held captive as a pandemic swept over the world with a grip never experienced in living memory. Shops and businesses closed. Some temporarily, some permanently.
With a vaccine becoming available, there is now some hint of light beyond the darkness. And at the same time, this will still be a dark and difficult winter. I know we are all tired of the pandemic, we are all tired of its containment.
Like you, the Chamber has had our feet kicked out from under us; and like you, we are learning from the experience. During the pandemic, we joined forces with other Chambers across Canada and contributed to the lobbying of governments to support small and medium-sized businesses during this difficult time. We also nurtured local relationships and now have a solid foundation that we can build on. Among our many unexpected projects, we created BetterBuySooke.ca, an electronic shopping mall featuring local businesses. We are more committed than ever to help Sooke businesses stay alive and thrive. Let us know how we can continue to add value to your business. We at the Chamber here are for you.
A brighter future lies ahead. There is an anticipated boom in business once the vaccine lets us throw open our doors and re-enter the world. Travelers and tourists will once again jam up Highway 14. People will return to their workplaces. Teenagers can once again get back to the very serious business of socializing and being seen.
We will get there!
And once we get there, let us hope we remember the things this pandemic has taught us about compassion, the importance of connecting with friends and families, the value of supporting our local businesses, and of finding ways to address the gaps that the pandemic has laid bare.
But for now, we need to get through the next few months. Wrap yourself in a blanket, get cozy with your loved ones, and stay at home. Be patient with one another. Be kind to others and to yourself. Wear a mask if you go out. Stay home if you feel ill.
Together with our Board and staff, I wish you all a calm and relaxing festive rest. We will see you again in the New Year. Let’s turn the lights on brightly in 2021.
Karen C. Mason, CFP, CLU, CHS
President, Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce