As COVID-19 restrictions have eased across B.C, The Downtown Courtenay Business Improvement Association says it’s now open for business.

Executive Director Catherine Thompson says while the downtown as a whole never really closed during the pandemic, many local businesses had to shut their doors.

“It had a really big effect on our businesses in Courtenay just because to play their role in trying to keep our numbers down, many chose to shut down completely and some others instead of closing completely had to change the way they did business.”

“That meant for some, going online, which many had never done before. It definitely affected businesses because they all had to figure out different ways they could change their business in order to keep serving the community in a safe way.”

Thompson says now that people are starting to reopen their doors and more residents are heading to 5th Street, it’s important to remember that shopping locally makes a big difference.

“It’s so important, especially when the choice is between shopping in your local community and shopping online. When we spend money in downtown Courtenay or in the Comox Valley in general you’re keeping that money in the community, you’re supporting families in your community, you’re supporting small businesses and the chains they follow, so it’s so important.”

She added that despite the pandemic taking a toll on many, it has also brought the business community closer together. 

“It is really fun and wonderful to watch our downtown businesses working together and supporting one another through this. I’ve never seen that where the group had to come together, and even though they are all individual businesses, they really are getting together to come up with group promos, they’re sharing resources and information with each other. It’s really wonderful to watch that community come together.”

Thompson says every business has a different way they are approaching the situation, with some simply following the guidelines from WorkSafe BC, and others going above and beyond to keep everyone safe.  

If you want to learn more about the Downtown Courtenay Business Improvement Association, including what businesses are open and what you can expect when heading downtown,  click here