The chamber’s Erika Krest is supporting local businesses by distributing face shields and masks sourced from local companies. (Rebeka Krest photo)

Trail chamber sources PPE for local businesses

Trail businesses can purchase PPE through their local chamber of commerce

As Greater Trail businesses start to reopen, the Trail and District Chamber of Commerce is throwing its support behind each one.

The Trail chamber is now a distributor of personal protection equipment (PPE), and will act as the hub where small business owners and employees can order surgical and KN95 face masks and DROP face shields.

“Call us or email us, and we can definitely bring them in, and they (businesses) can pick them up at our door,” said Trail chamber’s executive director Erika Krest. “We’re trying to be mindful that now that we are carefully reopening, there’s going to be increased need for face shields and face masks and that’s why we thought the chamber would be the best place for businesses to come to.”

The masks and shields are also provided by West Kootenay businesses, with the face shields coming from DROP for Good out of South Slocan, and the face masks from Trail’s KC Recycling.

“They (DROP for Good) reached out to us and actually supplied 50 masks for us as a donation for Trail,” said Krest, adding that businesses can order any amount required.

“We do have many micro-businesses that don’t need a minimum of 500 or 1,000, so smaller quantities are available. And that just shows you again that when there’s a need, local businesses and companies are listening.”

DROP is usually a manufacturing and engineering facility that has modified a large part of its operation to produce 5,000 face shields per day. At full capacity, DROP can make over 48,000 face shields in a single day if required.

“This is really a team effort and it’s not coming from one place, and everyone’s playing a part,” said DROP’s head of product development Matt Barrett. “The most important thing to remember through all this, and everyone coming together to make these efforts to help out with COVID 19, is to really look at how we can work together as a community overall, Canada wide, and pool our resources to make the most effective use of what we have available.”

As small businesses reopen, the need to follow the protocol required by provincial and federal health officers is utmost, with the responsibility falling on each proprietor.

Some businesses, such as restaurants, may take longer to reopen than others, but in most cases where social distancing can’t be met, the protocol requires that masks/shields be worn or screens installed.

“Businesses are super mindful of keeping the public health, and implementing all the necessary regulations,” said Krest. “We are promoting the WorkSafe website for small businesses to go to but we are also encouraging small businesses to check on their sector-specific regulations.”

Once the logistics of physical distancing and safety barriers are sorted, businesses big and small will all have to play a role in building back customer confidence. Those that do not follow the provincial health regulations will undoubtedly be few, but all will be held accountable by the baleful eye of social media.

“It’s very important,” said Krest. “But my sense is that our businesses are following these rules and implementing them, because everybody wants to stay in business for a very long time and that’s one way to achieve that is to provide a service where it’s comfortable for customers to return.”

To order PPE or find out more on WorkSafe and health regulations go to trailchamber.bc.ca.

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