Carole Lavigne, economic development and tourism director for the United Counties of Prescott-Russell (UCPR), announced the Prescott-Russell COVID-19 Response and Economic Recovery Plan (RERP). The 14-page document outlines the strategy that the UCPR and its eight-member municipalities can use to help local and regional economies recover from the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“At the beginning of the crisis,” Lavigne stated, “the objective was to limit the economic impacts related to COVID-19. Now, to ensure economic recovery and to allow our businesses to restart safely, we are supporting and encouraging them to adapt to new realities and innovations to ensure their longer-term resilience.”
Lavigne presented the document August 26 to the UCPR economic development and tourism committee. The RERP is the result of several months of consultation and planning by the UCPR, in partnership with its eight-member municipalities, with chambers of commerce and other local and regional agencies involved in economic and business development and support. It also includes the results of two surveys that polled local and regional businesses about the impact of COVID-19 on their operations.
The recovery plan priorities outlined in the report include business support, promoting a “shop local” attitude among residents, encouraging a stronger local presence in the “digital marketplace,” encouraging local businesses to become more adaptable in their operations, regular and constant review of economic planning strategies, promoting a regional workforce, and restoring consumer and tourist confidence in the area.
“The impacts of COVID-19 on the region’s businesses are undeniable,” state Pierre Leroux, UCPR warden, “and being the economic drivers of our communities that play an important role in our recovery, it is more important than ever to support them.”