The long road to recovery will have a few bumps

Some things will never be the same after the COVID-19 pandemic, local experts say

Jim Bottomley

Jim Bottomley

Six months ago, Greater Victoria was celebrating one of its strongest business climate in years. Now, much like the rest of the world, it’s facing an economic recovery that could take years.

Around us, local economies are faltering. Health-care systems are strained. We’re all told to stay at home and when we do venture out to observe social distancing.

Blame the coronavirus.

ALSO READ: Depression-era’ unemployment figures could hit Greater Victoria

Even futurist Jim Bottomley didn’t see it coming.

“This isn’t like any economic downturn before because when you look at past recessions, typically they’re human made,” said Bottomley, a Sooke resident.

“This time it’s an actual physical threat. It’s a very scary because people didn’t see it coming.”

But recovery is coming, say officials.

Paul Nursey, the CEO of Destination Greater Victoria, says the Island’s tourism industry was the first to be affected by the COVID-19-induced slump, and will likely be the last to fully recover.

His group is working on an 18-month plan through to next summer that aims to keep as much of the industry intact as possible, including reaching out for more government support.

“It’s really about making sure [those government measures] can actually help us back to recovery and are not just there in the short term. Otherwise, I can’t see how our small- to medium-sized businesses are going to last until next summer,” Nursey said.

Sooke Mayor Maja Tait, who is also president of the Union of B.C. Municipalities, said recovery will likely look different from one corner of the province to the other.

“We know a rush to recover economically will result in a spike of [COVID19] cases,” she said.

The road to recovery will be long and hard for most industries, Bottomley said.

“This is something that’s not going away,” he said, noting the 1918 flu pandemic lasted nearly two years, and the second wave was bigger than the first.

“The scary part about this particular virus is that it’s very spreadable.”

But there are positives, Bottomley said.

As with any major disruption throughout world history, society has changed – often for the better.

He predicts a “real disruption” on how industries work, more entrepreneurs (although he admits many small businesses will likely shutter), and how we connect each with each other through innovation and technology.

Many businesses have realized that employees can work at home – and be productive, and that will mean communities like Sooke could be in for more growth.

“Companies won’t locate to where they want to locate. They’ll be going to where the workers live,” Bottomley said, noting we are entering an innovation age where jobs and careers are changing.

Tait said the District of Sooke is already seeing that movement as council work towards a new work plan for some of its employees.

READ MORE: Employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

“We’re likely going to see more municipal staff work at home permanently, those who don’t necessarily meet with the public on a daily basis,” she said.

“We’ve seen through the pandemic productivity and performance climb through the roof.”



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

SIDEBAR

The quickest way to economic recovery is to find a vaccine for COVID-19, says futurist Jim Bottomley.

Vaccines are perceived as key to ending the restraints on work and life that have decimated the global economy, and returning to some sense of normalcy.

Worldwide, there are nearly five million positive cases and over 300,000 have been killed by the virus.

“The vaccine is what everyone is hoping for – and the sooner the better. But it could still be years away,” Bottomley said.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sean Hart, 34, unexpectedly left the Seven Oaks Tertiary Mental Health Facility in Saanich on Nov. 6, 2020 and has now been missing for six months. (Photo courtesy Penny Hart)
Search continues for Saanich man Sean Hart six months after his disappearance

Support from community, police keeps his mother hopeful

Police stopped, then let go this man and his large collection of cans during a stop Monday morning on Resthaven Drive. Police had received a report of a possible theft, but let him go after he had returned the property, which he believed was his to take after being left out in public. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Report of theft, balancing act on Sidney street draws curious onlookers

Incident happened just before 8:30 a.m. opposite of Vancouver Island Regional Library branch

Oak Bay resident Hugh Thompson died Friday, May 7. (GoFundMe photo)
Oak Bay dad dies mountain biking near Shawnigan Lake

Community rallies around family with online fundraiser

Daniel Foster, last seen in downtown Parksville on Saturday, May 1. (submitted photo)
RCMP seek help locating missing Victoria man, last spotted in Parksville

Daniel Foster, 43, seen via surveillance camera using an ATM

Victoria Police Department looks to identify a person of interest after a Friday night stabbing. (VicPD handout)
Police seek person of interest after Victoria stabbing

Friday night assault leaves one with potentially life-altering injuries

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Thompson (11) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Vancouver Canucks see NHL playoff hopes dashed despite 3-1 win over Winnipeg

Montreal Canadiens earn final North Division post-season spot

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of Fraser Health, hosts an update on efforts to contain B.C.’s COVID-19 transmission in Surrey and the Fraser Valley and protect hospitals in the Lower Mainland, May 6, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate slowing, 20 more people die

Deaths include two people in their 40s, two in their 50s

Most Read