Business owners from Hearst to Smooth Rock Falls got together to share their problems and issues suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic with municipal leaders and government officials on Wednesday afternoon. Some of the issues ranged from hiring and retaining employees to accessing government programs. Julie Tremblay told the group that the lack of child daycare and working from home was a concern.

“It affects their health their mental health as well when you are trying to have a conference call, a zoom call and kids are screaming and jumping up and down in the background,” she said. “It’s a reality, but it’s a harsh reality for the kids and parents as well.”

Emmanuelle Larabie of Larabie’s Independent Grocer says she would like to see drive-up COVID-19 test centres to speed up testing process.

“I’ve seen an employee get tested and take to 10 days before he gets his results for him to return to work,” she said. “So yes we need those employees and the employees need to come to work to survive. But they are out of commission for  at least a week if not more.”

The event was organized by the Kapuskasing and District Chamber of Commerce.