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Community urged to back local businesses during pandemic

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The City of Greater Bendigo and Be.Bendigo are urging residents to shop local to help support local businesses and protect jobs over the coming months.

City Director Strategy and Growth Bernie O’Sullivan said the COVID-19 pandemic was already having a serious impact on local businesses and services, following the cancellation of the region’s major events and changes to rules on public gatherings.

“These are difficult and challenging times for local businesses who are doing their best to keep open under exceptional circumstances,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

“It is critical that we try to support local business as much as possible. Shopping locally is one of the simplest and yet effective ways to help our businesses to keep trading and secure vital jobs in our community.

“We are seeing many businesses following the strict hygiene advice that is being encouraged by health experts and a number of hospitality businesses separating tables and chairs to help provide more space between customers. We are also seeing our businesses asking customers how they can best serve them during this time, so it is important that we respond by supporting them however we can.

“Our region is lucky enough to have a great range of available local produce, a variety of local suppliers of all kinds, cafes, hotels and restaurants and great shops from butchers and florists that need our support. We want them to get through this pandemic and remain an important contributor to our region’s local economy in the future.

“We are asking residents to choose local shops, services and businesses as much as they can. Check to see if these businesses offer their services or goods online and provide a delivery service, buy their gift cards, look out for special offers and encourage your relatives and friends to do the same.  

“If you shop local, it stays local. For every $100 spent locally, nearly $70 stays here so with the backing from the community these businesses can continue to trade and keep staff. We have nearly 8,000 small to medium businesses in the Greater Bendigo region and each one of them helps to boost our local economy and provide important jobs.

Be.Bendigo CEO Dennis Bice said local businesses are facing tough times ahead.

“We’ve not experienced anything like this before which is why it is important that wherever possible we are encouraging to shop local and help local businesses to survive this turbulent time,” Mr Bice said.

“The reality is if we don’t try to shop locally wherever possible, many of these businesses will not have the capacity to stay open. That’s how tough it is going to be for them with less tourists and less or no foot traffic coming through their doors. 

“We will get through the COVID-19 outbreak but we need to do our bit now so that businesses can overcome these challenges and continue trading now and in the future.”

1 Based on analysis by REMPLAN using ABS data.  

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