Resources for Businesses
The COVID-19 Pandemic has created economic challenges around the world, with real consequences in the lives of Wetaskiwin families and businesses. During these uncertain times, the City of Wetaskiwin wants our businesses to know that we are here to support and work with you as best as we can.
What we are doing:
1. Continued updates of all new resources available to businesses on this web page.
2. Looking for feedback from the business community on any additional resources needed through the Leduc & Wetaskiwin Regional Chamber of Commerce COVID19 Survey above. We will utilize these responses to explore additional programs or resource development that will assist our businesses during this time.
3. Utilities Payments in the City of Wetaskiwin Update - A special Council meeting was held March 19th at 2 pm where Wetaskiwin City Council decided to postpone utility disconnects, as well as late payment penalties. If you’re unable to pay your utility bill at this time, please don’t worry. Your water service will not be disconnected, and no penalties will be applied to overdue utility accounts from now until June 30, 2020–when City Council will re-assess the situation. This motion of Council is meant to help reduce the strain on community members as we all do our best to cope during this stressful time.
4. Planning, Development & Engineering - while all City buildings may be closed to the public at this time, please know that we are still here to provide service as much as possible. If you have engineering and/or planning & development questions, inquiries and/or permit applications for submission use this link: https://www.wetaskiwin.ca/678/Engineering-Development.
5. As per the March 24th Special Council Meeting, the City of Wetaskiwin has temporarily suspended enforcement of the Plastic Checkout Bag Ban Bylaw (1954-20) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Any business wishing to provide/supply plastic bags at this time will not be penalized for doing so.
We are working with the Leduc & Wetaskiwin Regional Chamber of Commerce to receive feedback from our businesses in regards to COVID19 (both chamber and non-chamber members). Your answers will remain confidential and anonymous, but we will post the overall survey results here.
Tips for your business during this time:
1. Business Continuity Planning:
- Safety of you, your staff and your customers are priority. Refer to the Provincial website to determine any restrictions on your business: https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.aspx.
- Review HR policies or processes including absenteeism, communications, sick leave, employee travel, social distancing, and workplace disinfecting. Be clear and consistent with your employees.
- For Alberta Employment Standards review: https://www.alberta.ca/alberta-employment-standards-rules.aspx
- For items specific to COVID19 review: https://www.alberta.ca/covid-19-support-for-employers.aspx
- Provide resources for those who have been or will be laid off:
- Increase level of cleaning in your space.
- Encourage social distancing at your business with employees and customers.
- Implement flexible working arrangements if possible. Utilize virtual office environments like GoTo Meetings, Skype for Businesses, Google Hangouts, or Zoom.
- Review your supply chain. Have a plan B in case of disruptions of service in your primary vendor(s).
- Work with customers and vendors to defer business instead of cancelling it.
- Review options for online sales of products and gift cards.
- If businesses have to close down their location, owners should implement safe practices while absent. St. Albert RCMP recommend that you: keep storefront & sales area lights on, keep exterior lights on, turn equipment off, store flammables and combustibles in secure location, keep cash register open and empty, do not leave cash on the premises, secure other valuables if unable to take them off the premises, secure all equipment and stock, secure and lock all doors and windows, and turn on security system & security surveillance equipment.
2. Marketing and Communications:
- Prioritize communication. Provide facts. Build a communication plan to vendors, suppliers, customers.
- Items to communicate: open vs. closed, hours of operation, special offers, items available online (i.e. gift cards or products).
- Ask your customers to share online if they have purchased a gift card or have supported your business in a specific way.
- Avenues for communication: website, social media, newsletter, email, print a posters and place at business location.
3. Finance and Other Business:
- Look at options to defer capital costs.
- For mortgage holders – reach out to your bank to understand if they are offering any deferred payment programs.
- If you rent space, speak to your landlord.
- Monitor and preserve cash flow.
- Review insurance policies and talk to your insurance provider.