Nipawin businesses feel effects of pandemic

NIPAWIN — While some Nipawin businesses are facing challenges from a decrease in customers, others are facing challenges from an increase.

“Some people are seeing increase to their business due to other non-essential places being closed, and that’s great for them, but then they run into staffing issues,” said Ben Paskarusk, president of the Nipawin Chamber of Commerce.

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“The more people that come to your business, the more sanitizing that’s required and all of these new things that have put in place are very, very difficult.”

Paskarusk said that the big hurdle for these businesses is adjusting.

“I think the government has done a darn good job in giving us direction,” he said. “Considering the fluidity of the situation, their directions have been very good, and giving us hard dates in these uncertain times in these first two phases are pretty specific.”

More restrictions were eased in Saskatchewan on May 19, as retail services that were not previously allowed to remain open during the state of emergency can reopen.

In response to the pandemic, the chamber is starting an economic recovery committee.

“The whole idea of the economic development committee is to create an information highway where it’s a group of business leaders in the community wanting to see the strength of Nipawin grow,” said Lisa Suchlandt, the chamber’s executive director.

Paskarusk said their committee will work closely with the Town of Nipawin’s economic recovery committee, sharing a liaison.

He said one of their first initiatives is trying to encourage the community to shop local.

“That’s going to be really important as far as getting through all of this,” Paskarusk said.

“As individuals, if they’re out of work they can go on EI, they can get the CERB [Canada Emergency Response Benefit] they can do all these things. The government has done a lot for them. Businesses on the other hand, you’re kind of floating in the breeze a bit and just hoping, if you don’t qualify for this program, maybe you’ll qualify for that one, and if you don’t qualify for that one maybe they’re going to come up with something else as they go along.”

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