Ritu Khanna, executive director of the South Surrey & White Rock Chamber of Commerce, hopes that a virtual town hall set for Friday morning will help answer COVID-19-related questions from the business community and residents, alike. (File photo)

Virtual town hall meeting returns Friday morning

Chamber highlights help and services available in online forums

The South Surrey White Rock Chamber of Commerce will hold another Virtual Town Hall online meeting for businesses and residents this Friday (April 17) from 10 a.m. to noon.

The town hall is a follow-up to two meetings – one for businesses and one for residents – held April 3, which drew some 120 participants.

Chamber executive director Ritu Khanna said the meetings are intended not only to inform people of various government and organization services available to them during the COVID-19 pandemic, but also to reflect to elected representatives the way people and businesses have been affected by the crisis.

Previous participants returning for the new meeting include South Surrey-White Rock MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay, Surrey-White Rock MLA Tracy Redies, Surrey-Panorama MLA Stephanie Cadieux, White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker, Surrey councillors Linda Annis and Allison Patton and White Rock, South Surrey and Delta Health Services executive director Teresa O’Callaghan.

“We know in this time, with the importance of self-isolation, it’s so hard to connect, but the opportunities to connect are ever more important,” Khanna told participants in the April 3 meeting for residents, adding that the chamber and other panel participants had been holding regular virtual meetings to share information since the crisis emerged.

At that meeting, the emphasis was on resources available – with Findlay, Redies and Cadieux confirming that their offices are continuing to field telephone calls and direct people to services that can assist them.

Both the White Rock and Surrey city websites are also providing comprehensive information, Walker, Annis and Patton confirmed – including restaurants and other businesses that are continuing to serve customers under social distancing restraints – while Khanna said the chamber has also made its website a clearing house for information and links to operating businesses and other available services and organizations.

Ramona Kaptyn of CARP also reported that resources and services of specific relevance to retirees and seniors are also available from the organization’s website, CARP.ca.

Sources CEO David Young said that most of its pre-pandemic resources and programs are still operating and providing advice and assistance during the current situation, while O’Callaghan said health resources had been well-positioned to care for local COVID-19 cases, and other care needs, by a recent drop in bed occupancy.

“(Peace Arch) hospital and all the staff there have been working hard to make sure that we’re prepared as possible, to make sure that we can deliver care to our community and residents when they need it,” she said.

Pre-registration is required before Friday’s meeting and a Zoom link will be sent to registered participants on Thursday.

For information, visit the Chamber’s COVID-19 resource page at www.sswrchamber.ca/COVID-19. Questions can be submitted in advance at info@sswrchamber.ca.

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