Local businesses and community members across the KW region are coming together to support each other through the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Many grocery stores and pharmacies in the KW region are now offering safer shopping opportunities for customers who are at a higher risk for COVID-19.
Seniors, people with disabilities, pregnant women, and other community members with concerns for their health can shop in the first hours of these stores’ opening before crowds increase and the risk of exposure rises.
Local cab company Waterloo Taxi decided to offer free rides to anyone wanting to access these stores during their safety periods.
“In light of the fact that some of the grocery stores and drug stores are providing one hour in the morning for [them] to go in and do their shopping, we’re going to provide them with free rides to and from those grocery stores and drug stores, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for that one to two hours in the morning,” said Tony Rodrigues, director of marketing at Waterloo Taxi.
“They’ve supported us for 76 years, and I think it’s time that we do something to benefit the community and be a responsible community partner,” Rodrigues added, referring to seniors in the area.
Facebook groups such as Caremongering KW are also providing support for community members in need. The focus of the group is to support its members as they navigate challenges in response to COVID-19.
Created by Amanda Thompson, the group has more than 7,000 local members as of Mar. 27 who provide each other with help ranging from offering resources to sharing information about businesses that have necessary supplies.
Although the group prohibits medical advice, members can tag posts with #care, and provide each other with assistance and options to feel better amidst the uncertainty and stress of the pandemic.
As an increasing scarcity of protective equipment threatens the safety of frontline health care workers across the region, community members are working together to combat the shortage and provide the necessary equipment to workers in need. Covidhealth.ca is a website created by Dr. Sarah Rinaldi that aims to connect and coordinate people who have health care equipment with people who need it.
“The proper equipment is essential,” said Rinaldi, who works as a family physician in Kitchener Waterloo.“
Local businesses are stepping up by reorganizing their current production processes to make things like hand sanitizers and face shields,” Rinaldi added.
The Covidhealth.ca website also has an educational section that includes several informative resources about COVID-19. Small businesses in the area, many of whom are temporarily closing their doors as the pandemic worsens, are receiving support from the community.
“There has been an increase in online business, thank goodness. There has also been probably a fifteen-fold increase in the request for deliveries,” said David Worsely, co-owner of Words Worth Books.
Worsley also offered advice on how to support local businesses if you’re worried about entering into public spaces.
“Gift cards are the way to go,” said Worsley. “If you’re a little freaked out about coming in to buy a thing, gift cards will be here for you when the crisis is over.”