The Northumberland Economic Recovery Task Force, comprised of 48 community business leaders, continues to assess information and data about how the pandemic is affecting local businesses of all sizes. Based on this assessment, the Task Force—which is supported by 15 business organization members and 13 municipal employees from across the county—will identify the urgent issues that require advocacy with federal and provincial governments, and actions that will promote local economic recovery.
Responses to surveys issued on behalf of the Task Force by the Business & Entrepreneurship Centre Northumberland (BECN), along with surveys conducted by local Chambers of Commerce, reveal common themes, including:
· Financial pressures resulting from dwindling liquidity;
· Learning curves in pivoting business models to online environments, curbside pick-up and delivery, and new product development;
· Challenges sourcing personal protective equipment; and
· Concern about changes in consumer habits and demand post-pandemic.
“With the input being gathered from the business community by the six sector working groups, the Task Force has already identified two key recommendations that will need to be addressed in the short-term to enable businesses to recover in this ‘new normal’,” states business executive and Task Force Co-Chair Brendan Cunneen. “This includes support to help businesses shift to the online environment, and prioritizing the expansion and capacity of high speed internet connectivity throughout Northumberland County. We sincerely appreciate the thorough and thoughtful feedback coming from the Northumberland business community about their current needs and priorities. We look forward to sharing full initial recommendations by June 4 as we collectively navigate the road to economic recovery.”
To support businesses in adjusting to consumer expectations as consumers consider returning to curbside retail stores, a new survey is currently underway through the BECN and community partners. Members of the public are invited to complete this survey at www.becn.ca/covid-19-business-resources. The Task Force will consider the results of this survey as part of ongoing efforts.
Supported by six working groups identifying priorities in targeted sectors, the Northumberland Economic Recovery Task Force will release initial recommendations by June 4 on actions to support the recovery of local businesses post-COVID-19. For more information, please visit Northumberland.ca/ERTF.