First Person: Dan Rogers, executive director, Kelowna Chamber of Commerce

July 1 signals a major milestone for both businesses and individuals in the Okanagan Valley and across B.C. The past sixteen months have been a challenge and have tested our grit, determination, and compassion in ways we could never have imagined. While the fight against COVID-19 is not quite over, we are on a path towards a return to normalcy.

We can now celebrate our resilience as we look towards the future, although we must not forget those who have suffered, those who have lost a loved one, and those who have struggled to keep their business or organization operating.

The Kelowna Chamber is pleased that the provincial government is moving ahead with reducing restrictions now that nearly 80% of adults in BC have had at least one dose of vaccine and COVID-19 case counts continue to decline.

We do, however, encourage everyone to respect others’ comfort levels as we take another step toward putting this pandemic behind us.

As of July 1, COVID Safety Plans will no longer be a requirement, and the vast majority of public health orders will be replaced by new guidelines around health and safety provided by WorkSafeBC. 
The shift to Communicable Disease Prevention provides much more flexibility in the way Kelowna businesses operate, which is welcome but also could increase the potential that customers and employees may have challenges as they see or perceive organizations moving at different paces. 

Patience and compassion by all will be required as businesses transition over the coming weeks.

We are calling on the public to be patient and mindful of the stress on businesses as we all collectively navigate this new environment. We recognize the complexity of determining the best course of action for your individual business, and we’re here to help you navigate this transition. Please reach out to the team at the Chamber if you need support.

Our team is excited to welcome you all back to in-person events beginning with our golf tournament in just a few weeks. We will also shift back to in-person programing that brings together business and thought leaders as part of our Luncheon Speaker Series and eventually our Commerce Connex beginning in September.

Throughout the summer, we will continue to host a few programs virtually while providing some opportunities for smaller in-person events as we make our own transition. 

As we’ve done during the pandemic, and for the last 115 years, we will continue to seek ways to improve our programming so as to add value to you, our members and the business community at large.

We can’t wait to reconnect with you and collaborate with our many partners in building a bright future for the Okanagan communities and region we serve. #OKWeGotThis