The community of Rimbey, a bustling little community nestled in the heart of rural Alberta is unnaturally quiet as March slowly draws to a close.
Due to COIV-19 many businesses and financial institutions have been forced to close their doors, a situation which will, hopefully, be only temporary.
Rimbey and District Chamber of Commerce president Rory Swenson said some businesses have been forced to close by government rules and regulations and some simply have not been able to realize revenue during this time of unexpected restraint.
“I feel for them,” he said. The businesses that closed but will re-open after all of this is over will need our support.”
Swenson said the chamber hasn’t had a meeting since the latest stipulations have been put in place regarding social distancing and he is not sure what directors will want to do.
Businesses are invited to share their status on the Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page, he noted.
Swenson noted that Legacy Ford in Rimbey is open as it is considered an essential service.
“We service transportation, RCMP, ambulance …..,” he said.
The Alberta Chambers of Commerce has written to Premier Kenney asking for more support for local businesses.
In a letter signed by Ken Kobly, president and CEO, Alberta Chambers of Commerce the premier is asked to consider implementing the following measures:
Freeze collection of insurance premiums tax on life, accident, sickness, casualty and property coverage and provide a credit next year for those who have already paid their premiums.
Require commercial landlords to amortize deferred rent payments. Lost income support could be provided for landlords unable to defer their own commercial loan obligations.
Mandate municipalities to defer municipal property taxes and waive any associated late fees and penalties. This should also include deferring municipal utility services payments for three months.
Freeze municipal franchise fees for utility services at current rates until at least 2022.
“In the event your government decides to shut down non-essential businesses, we would encourage you to consider allowing businesses that are able to operate without public contact to continue to do so. This may include offering remote services through phone and email orders and payments as well as curbside delivery and pickups. Businesses operating on this basis could be required to register with the province and keep a record of their activities, ensuring health officials have the ability to track COVID-19 and reduce community transmission,” said Kobly in the letter.