For nearly two months, like every other community in much of the world, Guelph has been battling the effects of COVID-19. As the pandemic lockdown continues to roll on, the City of Guelph is trying to ensure its people that everything that can be done, is being done, and they are looking at how the regular business of the City will change as the pandemic remains with us.First, coming out of the second meeting of the Mayor’s Task Force on Economic Recovery, the mayor said that the emphasis of the discussions earlier this week was on assistance from upper levels of government.
“I am grateful that Guelph’s local businesses continue to share their concerns and challenges in an open and collaborative way, and I appreciate their willingness to work with all levels of government and local support agencies to create a coordinated, community-minded plan for economic recovery in Guelph,” said Mayor Cam Guthrie in a statement. “The Task Force is exploring all possible solutions to support local businesses through this extraordinarily difficult time, and I’m encouraged to see the progress that has already been made.”
Among the suggestions that came out of the meeting was a financial relief package to help businesses manage rent and utility costs, assistance to help businesses build e-commerce capacity, creating clearly defined protocols for physical distancing and infection control, and the creation of promotion and support programs for local and regional arts, culture, and hospitality industries.
“Sometimes we lose sight of how diverse Guelph is, but when the Mayor’s Task Force for Economic Recovery was assembled, it became evident how unique the cross-sections of business are that lend themselves to the success of our thriving community,” said Court Desautels, Chief Executive Officer of the Neighbourhood Group of Companies, whose assets include the Wooly Pub, Park Grocery and Miijidaa.
“This group exemplifies how collaborative efforts will continue to shape Guelph as one of Canada’s innovation leaders, and will undoubtedly uncover many key learnings and strategies to aid in the recovery and continued growth of our lovely City. We are in good hands,” Desautels added.
While the task force looks at economic issues of the present, the City of Guelph has posted a webpage asking “What will Guelph’s new normal look like?”
“It hasn’t been easy, but we’ve managed to slow the spread of the virus and prevent it from overwhelming our healthcare systems,” it reads. “We’re grateful for these successes, and we know there’s still a lot of hard work to do. It will take some time and teamwork to keep Guelph on the road to recovery.”
The pages doesn’t so much predict the future, but provide a condensed outline of all the steps that the City has taken to stop the spread of the pandemic, and offers assurances that the City will eventually re-open, but re-open responsibly. “Guelph has come together by staying apart,” it said.