Since COVID-19 was deemed a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11th some days have felt like years, and some days have felt like minutes, and left disaster in their wake.
All at once it is a health crisis, a people crisis, and an economic crisis. In the context of COVID-19 governments have been pushed to speeds unlike those that have been seen in recent times and what was normal, while desired and yearned for, has a
feeling of less significance than the focus on seeing this pandemic run out of steam.
In a matter of days and weeks, Canada’s governments at all levels have enacted measures that would normally take 18-24 months to be designed and actioned. It has required a massive mindset shift to a laser focus on what needs to be done and how to get it done.
People have been called upon to stay at home, change the way they live, and to rely on the virtual rather than the human for most communications. It’s brought about changes in how we work, what we work at and how to move forward. This pandemic has revealed the variations in our economic make-up and how one-size-fits-all plans, while perhaps more simple to administer, don’t often cast the net wide enough to capture all who need to be caught. There will be questions and discussions
about how this could change once our service to country is complete.
For the business community, this has been a time that has challenged and led to light speed changes both negative and positive. In this vein, there are businesses who have retooled their operations to help front line and essential workers do their jobs
effectively, but there have also been entrepreneurs whose life’s purpose and business have fallen away from them through no control of their own. There will be questions and discussions after about what it means to prepare for the unimaginable and what measures can help pivot and support more quickly.
Recovery can be viewed in many ways. For Peterborough City and County, I know we will recover. I know we will thrive even. I know this because the entire community continually demonstrates that all aspects of this community are important.
“We are in this together” started here, is lived here and will be the legacy of here.
The following definition of recovery from Merriam & Webster’s Dictionary struck a chord:
I see us, collectively, in each of those statements.
Over the coming weeks you are going to hear about a recovery plan from Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development (PKED). This plan offers short, medium, and long-term actions that can be undertaken to ensure that the business community is supported. The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce is playing a role in the development of this plan and will play a role on the recovery team, as will other members of the #TeamPtbo taskforce. The plan must receive approval from City and County councils and be endorsed by the PKED Board of Directors to move forward. This is expected to happen in the coming weeks. It will be important work and it won’t be easy, but rest assured the team pushing the plan forward will be committed to
On April 9th, 2020, the Ontario government launched a new Ontario Jobs and Recovery
Committee which will focus on getting businesses up and running and people back to work after the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
The mandate of the committee is to develop a plan to stimulate economic growth and job creation in the weeks and months ahead. The Committee will be consulting with a wide variety of people to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the provincial economy and develop an action plan to move forward, including business associations,
chambers of commerce, municipal leaders, corporate leaders, small business
owners, and entrepreneurs.
As such, for both of these plans moving forward it means an understanding of
the needs of our businesses, from solo to small to medium and to large is required. The plans must apply to those with unique circumstances, those with or without employees, those that have ideas for improving on the foundation of what was once normal.
As was the case with the collapse, recovery will be individual, will require a different mindset, and may even solidify a new path forward that has opened up during this pandemic. And yes, it may very well be just as traumatic as the slowing of the economy on our businesses as those same businesses try and re-start the engine.
Around the world and around the country we are starting to see different ways to recover. Quebec has re-opened a few industry sectors, Saskatchewan is looking to
do the same, and in Asia and Europe the roots of recovery are slowly starting to form. There will be set backs, undoubtedly there often always are, but our community, our business community will persist and support.
There is no solid time frame for coming out the other side and that’s frustrating and really hard, but we can think, we can plan, and we can be ready.