With the current COVID restrictions in effect, the Dauphin and District Chamber of Commerce is working to help local businesses.

The Dauphin Chamber understands there may be friction, and discomfort in seeing some businesses open and another close. They add in a statement they’ll continue to promote shop local initiatives and advocate for the province to address the inherent business inequality created by the restrictions, however necessary for the health of the public.

Executive Director of the Dauphin Chamber, Stephen Chychota says with code red, businesses are still operating, just in a different capacity.

“There’s messages out there that got to get in front of people. It’s to let them know and understand how to interact with these businesses and make their current purchases. Even though we’re under restrictions for only essentials, it doesn’t mean they can’t still access the other stuff, it’s just they have to go about it at different means. So, the businesses still have these items for sale, it just may take a phone call, or go online to their websites or social media pages or something.”

To encourage shopping local, the Dauphin Chamber created the Parkland Holiday Hunt, which is a bingo card featuring local businesses. The bingo card can be found in the Dauphin Herald, Parkland Shopper, or the Dauphin Chamber’s website.

Chychota encourages Parklanders to shop local this holiday season.

“We just ask people to maybe take a little extra step, do a little more research, little more work to support the businesses here at home. It’s so easy to go onto an Amazon, or a website, or some sort of app to shop online, but there’s businesses here that have online means that people can take advantage of.”

Chychota says we need to take care of our local businesses as they look after the community as a whole.

The Chamber is doing a lot behind the scenes, but Chychota says there are lots they can share like the Holiday Hunt, the #whylocal campaign, and also what the Manitoba Chamber of Commerce is doing.

Chychota says the chamber network has a seat at the table and has the ability to sit down with provincial leaders and rule-makers. The $5,000 Bridge Grant for businesses was created because the chamber network asked the government to create it.

Chychota adds that they need to hear from businesses, chamber members or not.

“We’re always open and we’re always wanting to hear what’s going on with the business. If it’s them making some sort of transition to online sales, if something’s not working, if there’s a program that’s out of reach, whatever the case may be, we like to hear it so that we have that info that we can use.”

Chychota says if a business isn’t a part of a chamber of commerce, they should be because right now the value is the best to take advantage of.