VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Neighbourhood businesses struggling to stay afloat are facing the first long weekend of pandemic measures in BC, but there is a push to spotlight local restaurants, stores and services still operating.
Among the efforts is an interactive map created by Heritage Vancouver, and the society’s executive director says it was inspired by their own volunteers’ worries while wandering neighbourhoods.
“We were thinking about what we could do during this crisis and our organization has always talked about building community and how important different places are in neighbourhoods as a network for people,” explains Bill Yuen.
“We go out ourselves and see a lot of shops closed so we started thinking, in our neighbourhoods, what businesses are open and what can we do to help.”
Heritage Vancouver’s map allows you to click on an area in the city and get information on local businesses, organized into three categories – food and drink, groceries, and small retail stores and services.
The listings provide locations, hours, services currently provided, and what kind of physical distancing businesses are asking customers to observe.
Yuen says they launched the interactive map earlier this month with information on about 100 neighbourhood businesses, but that number has grown quickly as both owners and residents contact them with additions.
“We are trying to update all the time. There have been changes even since the beginning of the month when certain businesses weren’t open,” he tells NEWS 1130.
“Since then some have reopened, deciding to do takeout-only or things like that. I go around myself in my neighbourhood and I will see places not on the map. We will continue to update. A lot of it is volunteer time so we are just trying to keep things going through this crisis.”
If you notice a local store or restaurant not listed on Heritage Vancouver’s map, Yuen asks you to drop them a line.
“They can let us know what businesses are important to them in their neighbourhoods and that they want to support in their life right now – and ones they are worried about after this thing passes. We just want to hear from everybody and do what we can to help our neighbours and our communities at this moment.”