Pandemic continues to mess with Chamber events in 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause no shortage of postponements, cancellations and changes in operations for the Battlefords Chamber of Commerce.

At their monthly meeting Tuesday conducted by ZOOM, the chamber directors heard about more events that have been postponed. Chief operating officer Linda Machniak confirmed that all events planned for the summer are now off.

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That includes the annual Chamber Golf Challenge that was scheduled for Jackfish Lake, as well as the upcoming Chamber on Tap event scheduled for June.

There is no word yet on whether fall events might also go by the wayside, though there was talk that Chamber on Tap might happen in a virtual manner.

But little confidence was expressed that the province’s COVID-19 restrictions will be opened up to allow major events to happen in the usual way.

“It looks like pretty much everything is going to be shut down,” said Chamber chair Harris Sutherland at the meeting.

One event normally held late in the year, the annual Holly & Heels aimed at women in business, is likely to be postponed and could be replaced by an online event.

The Chamber is considering getting involved with a North America-wide leadership event on Oct. 15 called Leadercast 2020 Ripple Effect aimed at women entrepreneurs. Six speakers are planned and the lineup includes Randi Zuckerberg (sister of Mark Zuckerberg), formerly of Facebook, and Abby Wambach from the US national womens soccer team.

The idea is that the Battlefords Chamber might host the broadcast and it could be a way to earn some revenue, but some directors expressed concern it might be a tough sell with local business people due to the pandemic. The Chamber plans to look further into whether to go ahead with it.

The national Chamber is also impacted by postponements. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce AGM and conference scheduled for Ottawa in September is also cancelled and will be replaced by a virtual conference October 26-27. The plan is to try again with an AGM in Ottawa in 2021, pushing back the conference scheduled for the Yukon to 2022.  

There was some good financial news to report. Machniak noted that the Power Hour, held March 6 that included several area political leaders at Western Development Museum, turned a small profit for the Chamber. 

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