Second phase of City’s COVID-19 recovery plan focuses on the three Cs

The three Cs are detailed in the City’s recently released COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan, the second part of the municipality’s three-prong approach to helping local businesses hammered by the pandemic and the resulting shutdown.

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As Barrie joins other municipalities across the province and country climbing out of the economic chaos created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the City’s response in that effort is being guided by three central themes: Capital, Confidence, Capacity.
The three Cs are detailed in the City’s recently released COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan, the second part of the municipality’s three-prong approach to helping local businesses hammered by the pandemic and the resulting shutdown.
The first part was the Barrie Business Response Plan, released in late spring with the aim of providing impacted businesses with immediate relief, says Mayor Jeff Lehman in the introduction of the second report. Key initiatives in that effort included the Going Digital Program designed to help local businesses build an online base.
Expected to be released later in the year, the third part of the program, a Resiliency Plan, is to focus on strategic economic concerns as well as longer-term initiatives. 
“Developed in record time – roughly 4 weeks – the Economic Recovery Plan has been built to address immediate opportunities to provide support to the Barrie economy,” says Lehman.
“Developed through extensive consultation with the business community – more than 150 businesses, thought leaders, and organizations contributed – it lays out actions for six identified priority areas of the economy: Tourism, Service, Construction, Manufacturing, Arts and Culture, and Downtown Barrie.”
Dig a little deeper, and the three Cs look like this:
• Confidence: “The degree which consumers feel optimistic about the overall state of the economy and how their personal financial situation impacts spending activity in the economy. As a result of COVID-19, consumers not only need to feel optimistic about their ability to spend, they need to feel safe to go out to spend,” says the report.
“Confidence building will be a critical driver to economic recovery for the city both for residents, and as more of the economy opens up, attracting tourism and investment to the city.”
• Capacity: “Defined as the process by which businesses and individuals obtain, improve, and retain the skills, knowledge, tools, equipment, and other resources needed to do their jobs,” reads the report.
“As such, from an economic recovery perspective, ensuring businesses have access to the labour, resources and knowledge to protect their employees and customers, adapt to new regulations and leverage new opportunities in the marketplace to grow and diversify their markets and revenue, while building our overall economic and community capacity.”
• Capital: “Capital investments for business often mean investment in real estate and equipment. From the municipal perspective capital investment in infrastructure also drives economic benefit to the local economy. Impacts of COVID-19 have resulted in significant capital investment to businesses to support their short-term stability. The City’s role in recovery is focused on capacity and confidence building while the capital investment capacity resides primarily at the provincial and federal levels.”
Key actions of the plan include:
• Entrepreneurship and Innovation 
Digital capacity 
• Supporting the downtown 
• Business Recovery Kit 
• Capital advocacy
“The Economic Recovery Action Plan presents the second part of the overall response plan to the COVID-19 pandemic. The third component of the process is the longer-term lens that will take further consultation and engagement with our community and stakeholders to drive resilience within our businesses and to identify actions and strategies that will position our economy into the future,” reads the report.
An Economic Advisory Council comprised of local business and industry representatives has been created to meet and provide leadership regarding the short- and long-term issues impacting the economy.

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