Barrhaven BIA Reflects On The Impact COVID-19 Has Had On Local Businesses

By Andrea Steenbakkers, Executive Director of Barrhaven BIA

The Barrhaven BIA is the local leader for business resources, services, and advocacy. We are committed to helping local business members make and save money and to bringing high-value employment to the Barrhaven region. We are here to support, promote, develop and advocate for the businesses of Barrhaven to help stimulate prosperity and employment growth.

In the last two years, since the Global pandemic was declared in March of 2020, Barrhaven businesses have faced significant challenges with resilience and determination. It has been a difficult time with businesses being forced to open and close repeatedly with restrictions that would have been unfathomable in a pre-pandemic world, but it has also been a significant time of growth for Barrhaven. After two years, we can only look up from here.

Early in 2021, we were optimistic that the challenges of the pandemic would be well behind us. Canada’s economic recovery is progressing more slowly than expected and the risks that inflation brings are ever-present.  Despite the challenges, we are still moving diligently in the right direction. The Barrhaven BIA has committed to working hard with, and for, local businesses as they continue to recover in 2022.

It is a great honour for our Board and staff to serve the Barrhaven business community. When the pandemic hit, the BBIA quickly adapted and worked effectively to advocate for local businesses. Last year was again a challenging year, and the battle is still ongoing. Despite the great adversity that our businesses face, the BBIA continues to experience a record increase in its member communication and participation. The investment of time and expertise by local businesses continues to empower us to support them more effectively than ever before. 

In 2021 alone, we hosted 48 weekly Wednesday morning open calls for members over Zoom and delivered 180 update emails to their inboxes.  Since the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Barrhaven BIA staff have worked hard to ensure that we are aware of all the current changes and regulations. We have also built solid connections with Ottawa Public Health and Ottawa Bylaw Services. If members have questions, we are able to get quick and reliable information on time, every time. 

The Barrhaven BIA helped businesses adapt to the constant cycle of restriction changes during the various waves of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Provided)

Early on in the pandemic, it became clear that businesses would need a variety of signage to be able to reopen safely – everything from physical distancing floor decals to hand sanitizing signs. The Barrhaven BIA designed our very own “Made in Barrhaven” toolkit featuring a variety of signage branded with our colours and logo. We were able to provide kits free of charge to our member businesses. The need for toolkit items remained strong in 2021, so we produced and delivered another round in the spring. We are about to unveil a new set of toolkits focused on recovery and getting back to a new “normal”.

We also want to thank our local elected representatives for the support given to our business community, through the Barrhaven BIA, throughout the COVID 19 pandemic as well as efforts given to champion issues that positively impact Barrhaven and foster economic growth in our region. We look forward to continuing to work together to advocate for important projects including area business park growth and development, the Barnsdale/Highway 416 Interchange, critical infrastructure investments in local roads and transit, and a much-needed secure, remote work hub for federal employees in our community, to name a few. 

As we move forward in 2022, we hope that the uncertainty that came in 2021 is now behind us. While there will certainly be ups and downs, with vaccines and a better understanding of COVID-19, we look forward to a year of recovery and hopefully a return to normal. As always, we remain committed to providing members with the exceptional programming that we have introduced over the past 2 years. Let us not only reflect on the lessons that COVID-19 has taught us, but also identify the opportunities it presented.  

The Barrhaven BIA, on behalf of our membership, would like to thank the Barrhaven community for hearing the call to action and supporting local businesses throughout the last 2 years. Without your support, we would not be where we are today. With over 540 businesses and services, Barrhaven businesses have everything on your list – Check out our Business Directory to find what you are looking for at Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok to stay connected with promotions, giveaways, and exciting announcements.