CEO Update: Encouraging Meeting with Premier Furey and Minister Coady
CEO Update | Encouraging Meeting with Premier Furey and Minister Coady
Yesterday, Justin Ladha and I met with Premier Furey and Minister Coady to discuss the ongoing COVID-19 situation and the continued impact on businesses throughout our province.
We were encouraged to hear that government is focused on swiftly reopening as soon as public health deems it is safe to do so. While nothing is certain, based on observations from other jurisdictions, we should be able to emerge from this latest round of restrictions quicker than previous lockdowns.
We echoed our members concerns during our discussion—we shared that the latest restrictions will be detrimental to businesses and requested prompt financial assistance for sectors and industries that, are once again, most severely impacted. Government understands the gravity of the situation facing our members and is currently assessing if they can again offer support. We will keep you updated on if assistance is made available.
We also discussed the new isolation requirements that began last week. We commended our province for introducing the new guidelines and for aligning NL with many other Canadian provinces. As we have heard from many of our members, asymptomatic self isolation has been disruptive, causing staff shortages and in some cases, preventing the delivery of essential services. We learned that government has developed protocols for Essential Worker Isolation to alleviate this pain and ensure that provisions are made for essential workers to keep themselves, their colleagues, and clients safe while still completing their job. We encourage all our members deploying essential services to review the guidelines.
We inquired about the five-day isolation requirement for travelers arriving in our province, as it is also having unintended consequences on businesses. Newfoundland and Labrador is one of only three provinces with an interprovincial travel restriction in place currently. Premier Furey recognized our concern and assured us that he would raise the issue of the restriction with Dr. Fitzgerald and her team at public health with the hope that it would be lifted as soon as possible.
We heard that the reopening of schools remains a priority. Government is closely watching other jurisdictions (notably, BC and Alberta this week), and have assured us, the importance of reopening of our schools is recognized.
We also discussed the likelihood that the NL VaxPass will be updated to include a third (booster) dose of COVID-19 vaccine, which other provinces and jurisdictions around the world are also currently assessing. Newfoundland and Labrador is well positioned to adopt this due to our world-leading vaccination rates and increasing uptick in booster shots.
Like all of you, we are looking forward to the easing of restrictions and resuming business as normal. Until then, the St. John’s Board of Trade remains committed to supporting our members as needed. If there is anything we can do to support you, please do not hesitate to reach out. We will also continue to maintain open and collaborative relationships with government to ensure we are well-positioned to bring you up-to-date information and help shape policies that impact your success.
CEO, St. John's Board of Trade