The Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce is calling on the Government of Alberta to re-open the economy.
In a letter to Premier Jason Kenney, the Emergency Cabinet Committee and local MLAs, the chamber, on behalf of its 840 members, is calling on the government to ease restrictions and allow businesses to open.
“We’re seeing from the data that businesses are not a substantial source of transmission,” chamber CEO Rick More said in the letter.
“Since the first health guidelines were enacted we have been continually impressed with the business community’s ability to safely operate and serve their customers while continuing to earn a livelihood for the owners, operators and employees.
“At this point of the pandemic there is no clear end in sight, our businesses have been shut down for months and the bills are piling up.”
In the letter, the chamber states its concern that “the cure may be worse than the disease as our economy approaches near-irreparable levels of damage through business closures and mass unemployment.”
It goes on to say there are 24,000 fewer people working in Red Deer compared to two years ago.
“I’m concerned we’re approaching a breaking point here,” More continued, “based on the preliminary data we’ve received from a recently circulated survey, an alarming number of businesses are taking in substantially less revenue, made layoffs, and are concerned they cannot survive this type of shutdown any longer.
“Put yourself in the shoes of a shutdown business with no income, no savings, a tapped out line of credit, and unable to pay their heating bill.”
The letter said, with the curve trending downward and the vaccination program underway, “we implore you to re-open the economy with common sense and data-backed restrictions or at the very least provide clear expectations vis-a-vis target numbers for r-rating, case counts and hospitalizations, etc.”
The chamber said it is “fully confident” in the business community’s ability to safely operate in a manner that limits transmission while allowing owners, operators and employees to earn a living.