As Christmas approaches, shoppers in the Cowichan Valley are being urged to consider buying from local retailers or shopping online locally.

Duncan Chamber of Commerce president, Julie Scurr, says they’re striving to encourage people to think of local retailers first.

Scurr says businesses in the community contribute a lot.

“They are the ones that are supporting our local sports teams and contributing to fundraising for local services like our hospital and the hospice.”

Scurr says retailers have solutions for safe shopping and the chamber is working to help get the message out.

The Duncan Chamber now has a Facebook page called Business Not As Usual, which provides information to help local consumers.

Scurr says 2020 “has been a tough year for our businesses here,” and they have been trying to be as flexible as possible to remain open.

She says as businesses strive to remain upbeat, the responsibility is on local consumers to “continue to support our local businesses, whether it’s online or in-person.”