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How Surrey Residents Can Help Small Businesses During COVID-19.

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Since the outbreak of COVID-19, many people and businesses in B.C. have been impacted. With over 600 cases announced in B.C., many are beginning to distance themselves from others, and businesses are closing down.

The Government of British Columbia just announced the closure of bars and restaurants, and keeping gatherings of people to no more than 50. This is obviously going to affect big restaurant chains as well as small family or single person owned restaurants in Surrey.

However, there are ways to help out the restaurants that choose to stay open. Since the B.C. government has allowed some restaurants to stay open if they can limit their number of customers or move to takeouts.

Surrey residents can help out their local restaurants by ordering take outs or calling for their food to get delivered. This way residents can continue to practice social distancing while supporting the small restaurants that can’t afford to lose too many business days. Fiona Brinkman, SFU professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry writes about the safety of ordering in food, in an email.

“If the food is handled by someone uninfected, they are very safe. This is not a virus transmitted via food.”

For the small businesses that aren’t restaurants. Perhaps a gift shop, clothing store, nail or hair salon. You can always call them up and ask for ways to support their business.

One popular way that’s been trending all over Instagram is purchasing a gift card and using it at a later time, or ordering merchandise online. This way small businesses get some profit, you receive your items while distancing yourself from a large crowd, and you get to spend your gift card at your convenience.

We need to make sure we’re supporting our local businesses during this uncertain time. If there’s a local grocery store in your community that offers online orders or delivery, try to get some stuff from them. During this time it might feel easier to shop from large chain retailers, but we should try not to forget the small local businesses that have helped with the economic growth of the Surrey community.

While we’re using these tips to help out restaurants and small businesses, we should also remember the vulnerable residents living in our community. It’s important to remember that anyone can get infected with the virus, especially when that person isn’t listening to government and health officials. There are people in our community who are more vulnerable to COVID-19. Like children, seniors, those with a compromised immune system, etc.

We need to keep our community safe by listening to the guidelines set by the Government of Canada. Making sure to avoid unnecessary travels, and if you’ve returned to the community from abroad, listen to the government and isolate yourself for 14 days.

With the question of possibly contracting the virus twice, Brinkman writes,

“A person will develop immunity eventually after infection – usually about two weeks later – so a person can’t get infected with the same virus twice. If a new strain of the virus emerges [it’s] possible to get that virus if [it’s] different enough, but then [it’s] really a different virus infecting the person.”

“The biggest worry though is people, either sick, or not displaying symptoms, unknowingly transmitting virus to others in the meantime. Again, [it’s] critical we reduce the spread of this virus. If we don’t, people of a wide age range (not just the elderly) will die needlessly. Hospitals will become overwhelmed and unable to properly help people with other ailments,” she adds.

Let’s also make sure we’re not buying out everything in the store and leaving others with nothing to help them during this time. There are people who can’t stock up on their essentials at one shopping trip, we need to think of them. We also need to shop smarter. Buy what you need and consider others during this time. It’s a time for us to work together.

Esther Amankop Udoh is a Journalism and Creative Writing student. She enjoys reading and creating dramatic scenarios that usually end up in one of her many short stories. Along with her love for words, Esther loves seeking new adventures and spending time with family and friends.

Business

Uber expands ridesharing service to Abbotsford, Aldergrove and Langley Township

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Uber is expanding its ridesharing service to Abbotsford, Aldergrove and all of Langley Township. Residents across the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley now have expanded access to a safe, reliable and affordable transportation alternative at the touch of a button, and drivers will have additional flexible earning opportunities.

Uber has implemented new safety features and policies to keep riders and drivers safe as we navigate this new normal together including:

  • Go Online Checklist: Riders and drivers will confirm safety precautions to help stop the spread of COVID-19 including a selfie confirmation to ensure drivers are wearing a face mask or cover
  • Driver Screening: Everyone who drives with Uber is screened before their first trip. In addition, Uber reruns these driver screenings every year and uses technology to look for issues in between.
  • 24/7 Safety Support: If you need safety support or assistance, Uber’s dedicated and trained support team is available at all times to provide help
  • Phone Anonymization: Privacy is a top priority at Uber. The Uber app conceals driver and rider phone numbers so they are able to securely call/text each other through the app without revealing their information
  • Emergency Button Access: Both riders and drivers can contact 911 directly from the Uber app and provide a GPS location and trip details with authorities in emergency situations

In addition to these new features and policies, Uber is distributing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to help keep delivery people and drivers safe as they serve their communities. We are sending in-app notifications to active drivers and delivery people in each city – providing guidance on how to request health and safety supplies (screencap below).

Drivers and delivery people can request those supplies and have them shipped directly to their home. So far, more than 55,000 PPE supplies have been distributed in the Lower Mainland.

To see the updated service area map, please visit here.

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Business

How BC Resorts and Hotels are Reopening for Phase Three COVID-19 Restrictions

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BC premier, John Horgan announced the plan for the province to move to phase three of reopening. This phase includes the reopening of hotels, motels, cabins, RV resorts, etc. According to the BC government website, “The accommodation industry was not ordered to close by the Provincial Health Officer.

Many operators closed voluntarily and are now preparing to welcome guests in Phase 3.” Opus Vancouver plans to welcome back customers in August and released the safety changes that have been made to welcome guests back.

Opus Vancouver mentions that guests are required to stand six feet apart from guests who aren’t travelling with them in all areas of the hotel, they have also installed plexi glass screen at the front desks, and the hotel plans to “introduce a contactless check-in and keyless entry program over the coming months.”

As BC’s Centre for Disease Control advises handwashing and hand sanitizing when water is unavailable, OPUS Vancouver plans to provide guests, employees and visitors with hand sanitizer; as well as providing dispensers around the hotel. OPUS Vancouver has also released a detailed explanation in regards to the cleaning of the hotel amenities.

They mentioned limiting the number of guests in the fitness room to one and cleaning up after each guest is finished. The buffet eating will also be halted for the time being “and replaced [with] alternative service styles such as individually plated and served meals, to customized individual grab and go boxes.”

Other hotels in Surrey are assisting customers with their bookings and reservations. Like Sandman Suites Surrey-Guildford mentions their offering of full credits for future bookings until 2021 for all prepaid non-refundable reservations past July 1.

The Civic Hotel, Autograph Collection is also aiding new customer bookings by allowing “reservation to be changed or cancelled at no charge up to 24 hours before … scheduled arrival date.” This is for reservations “for any future arrival date” and … “reservations with prepaid rates.” According to their website, this is available till July 5.

BC’s phase three reopening also includes travelling within the province so for residents who are planning to visit one of BC’s many beautiful towns and cities, the government has some rules in place. Residents of British Columbia are asked “to be respectful of the communities [they] plan to visit and be safe as [they] enjoy the many beautiful locations across [the] province.”

Visitors from other provinces and territories are also asked to follow the same guidelines in place for British Columbians. The BC government website also includes a list of guidelines for people thinking about traveling this summer. The government asks that residents “consider the health and safety of people in [their] bubble, and whether [they] want to take any extra risks.”

Residents are also asked to follow the safety rules in place. That includes washing of hands, physical distancing, staying in small groups, and cleaning of space. Many RV parks are accepting guests and have put up rules in regards to covid-19. Livingstone RV Park in Langley announced the closing of its office to the public and appointments can be made by calling the number on their website.

They have also closed the showers and washroom to the guests and they ask that guests “have no outside visitors during [their] stay and that [they] maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet between [their] camping neighbors until the ban is lifted.”

Other RV parks like Pacific Border RV Park in Surrey, Burnaby Cariboo RV Park and Campground in Burnaby are also open for guests.

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Business

Support Our Surrey (SOS): Team of Justin and Trace

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I’ve seen so many members of our community helping each other out during COVID-19, that it makes my heart swell. I’m so happy to be giving another Support Our Surrey shout-out to longstanding members of our Fraser Valley community – the real estate team of Justin and Trace, from Macdonald Realty.

Justin Glasser and Trace Sowerby have been active realtors in the Fraser Valley for over 15 years. Maybe you’ve seen their friendly faces in the mail? As downtown Surrey began to grow and burgeon approximately 15 years ago, Justin and Trace have not only been growing with the city, but they’ve been growing with many of the young residents and families that call Surrey their home.

During COVID, they’ve used their marketing platform and resources to support and highlight other local businesses in the community, by hosting an Instagram series called QUARANTINE 15 – a “weekly segment updating our community on local business in 15 minutes or less”. You can follow Justin and Trace on Instagram at justin_traceteam to find these segments, as well as here.

Businesses they've featured are:

If you ever get the pleasure of meeting Justin, Trace, or their colleague, Bethany, you’ll know immediately that the care and respect they have for their community and fellow residents, runs deep. It’s their personal care, whether as their clients or someone living in the same community as them, that really make the Justin and Trace Team, shine and standout. Get to know them a bit on Facebook: facebook.com/justinandtracehomes

You can also learn more about the Justin and Trace Team on their official site, here, and be sure to check out the businesses they’ve highlighted so that we can all continue to keep this spirit of community going!

Dear readers: As BC begins to re-open, it’s a great opportunity for business to welcome us back – please reach out to share local businesses that are now open so we can feature them and make sure our community knows how we an Support Our Surrey.

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Business

How Barbershops and Retailers are Welcoming Customers during BC’s Phase Two Re-opening

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Giant Retailers, Hudson Bay and Sephora have opened their doors to customers in Surrey. While both companies spoke about their excitement to welcome back customers, they have also released information on the new store hours and how they plan to enforce safety guidelines and social distancing rules. Sephora released a post which detailed the changes they planned to make to their stores while ensuring the safety of their customers. The company plans to maintain the two metre distancing rule and limit the amount of customers in the store.

The company is also making sure hand sanitizers are made available “at the front entrance and key areas throughout the store” They also plan to “sanitize baskets before giving them to [customers], disinfect products and tools, and clean surfaces every two hours or after every use.”

As the beauty company is known for having testers made available, this will no longer be the case and the company also plans to take the temperature of their staff at the beginning of their shift and in the middle of their shift.

Hudson Bay, another retailer that has opened its doors to residents of Surrey has introduced a way for customers to receive their items in a safe way. The company has introduced curbside pickup. The company mentioned the pickups being ready in “as little as 3 hours”

This is made available everyday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and when customers arrive, they are asked to remain in their car while an associate helps them load the item. The customer can also “advise” the associate on where to place the item if they do not want it loaded in their car, according to the company. Some other new changes from the store is, allocating Tuesdays for senior shoppers and Thursdays for frontline workers.

Along with other retailers and businesses, Hudson Bay has introduced sanitizers around the stores, increased cleaning, physical distancing, and touchless pay. BC’s second phase of reopening doesn’t include only retail stores. Barbershops and salons are now open to the public with guidelines in place.

Lookin’ Sharp Barbershop is based in Richmond BC, and it recently opened doors to customers. Co owner and founder of the shop, Bebo, spoke about the safety guidelines in place as he and his staff welcome back customers.

“Right now we are not allowing [anyone] without a mask and [we also] have … guidelines and protocols before the client [enters the shop],” says Bebo.

Some of the new guidelines Bebo spoke of was having clients make appointments before their haircuts, as before the pandemic, the shop took walk-ins only.
“We removed all the chairs [in] the waiting area, so there’s no waiting inside the shop,” says Bebo.

“When [a] client comes, they need to wait outside until their scheduled appointment, and [we also] put … a hand sanitizer station [for clients],” says Bebo.

Bebo also mentioned his shop giving out masks to customers who come without one. He spoke about the safety guidelines for his staff, saying they had to wear masks and gloves, and disinfect their whole workstation before and after each client. Bebo also mentioned his shop terminating 80 per cent of their services.

“… Hair [wax], threading, face masks, and facials … are no longer available,” says Bebo. “Basically right now we are only providing the haircuts and hair wash,” he added.

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Uber Connect: Easier than ever to send packages to others

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As we learn to live in the new normal, Uber wants to help you navigate through this new life and make your life a little bit easier. Uber is launching a new product, Uber Connect, to make it easier than ever to send packages, items, and goods to others.

Uber Connect allows users to send packages to others. It’s an affordable same-day contactless delivery solution.

Whether it’s a care package for a loved one, a gift for a friend’s birthday, an item you sold online or an important business document, you can send it by requesting “Uber Connect” through the Uber app. Now you can have the kids create a work of art for Grandma and get it over to her house before dinner.

Matthew Price, General Manager of Uber Canada, said Uber Connect was designed to make it easier for people to deliver things to others and stay connected.

“During this challenging time for Canadians we wanted to create an affordable and quick way for people to send items to each other. This feature minimises the need to travel, while helping people stay connected. We know Canadians want to help each other out and have seen a tremendous sense of community rise up in the recent weeks. By focusing on helping to safely move people and the delivery of items, we want to participate in the collective effort to tame the new normal”.

How it works:

Uber Connect is now available in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.

  • Package the items in a sealed box or bag, wiping down surfaces with disinfectant.
  • Tell your driver ‘Where to?’ in your Uber app.
  • Choose Uber Connect as the ride (you may have to swipe up for the option).
  • Follow the notifications: You’ll get notifications providing instructions on how to help ensure a smooth pickup and when your driver is arriving, just like a trip with UberX. As you see the car approach in the app, you should head outside and load your item into the car’s trunk.
  • Share the trip status with up to 5 people in your contact list. Unless it’s a surprise gift, one of these should be the recipient so they can easily monitor the delivery’s progress.

Uber Connect is one way for Canadians to move what matters most. As part of Uber’s commitment to Moving What Matters in Canada, Uber has pledged over $6m in free rides, meals, and food deliveries for Canada – providing those to healthcare workers, seniors, and people in need.

Starting with organizations like Breakfast Club of Canada, AdvantAGE, CBI Health, BC Women’s and Children’s Hospitals, and Montreal’s Children’s Hospital, it’s our small way of helping during this challenging time.

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