Downtown Summerland has been quiet during the COVID-19 pandemic, but business leaders are already looking ahead to plans for recovery. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)

Downtown Summerland has been quiet during the COVID-19 pandemic, but business leaders are already looking ahead to plans for recovery. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)

Summerland business leaders look to recovery

COVID-19 pandemic continues, but entrepreneurs are planning for the future

While the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the economy, business leaders in Summerland are starting to make plans for recovery.

David Hull, executive director of the Summerland Chamber of Commerce, said he expects a turnaround to begin reasonably soon.

“The end might be in sight,” he said. “We’ve got to look at recovery now.”

READ ALSO: COLUMN: Economic impact of COVID-19 will be enormous and difficult to estimate

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Since the middle of March, restrictions have been put in place in order to slow the spread of the pandemic. These restrictions include shutting down hair salons, meal service in restaurants and other services, prohibiting gatherings of more than 50 people in British Columbia and implementing a physical distance of at least two metres between people.

Predictions for when the social distancing and isolation directives will be lifted range from a few weeks to as long as two years. But Hull expects changes will come much sooner than the longest scenarios.

“The recovery can’t take two years,” he said. “You can’t stall an economy for that long.”

Even with a shorter turnaround, Hull said each sector of the economy will see adjustments in how it functions in the future.

He said while the initial response to the pandemic in mid-March was one of shock, business leaders in Summerland are now looking at how to respond to the changing conditions and how to plan for the future.

“People are looking at what’s next,” he said. “The future is going to have a realignment, but our entrepreneurs in Summerland will rise to the challenge.”

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