The president of the Duncan Chamber of Commerce, Julie Scurr, says the weeks prior to Christmas were generally good ones for Cowichan retailers.

“What we’ve heard is that things have been pretty good for retail businesses, and they certainly had a good Christmas.”

Scurr believes a campaign to encourage Cowichan Valley residents to support local businesses had helped.

Scurr says the next couple of months are going to be tougher as January and February are “slow times for most of our retailers.”

She says in a normal situation, they would use the fall and Christmas revenue to carry them through.

Scurr says the food and beverage industry continues to struggle due to a lack of capacity and a loss of catering revenue.

Scurr believes the “onus is going to be on residents as opposed to governments to support these businesses, ” and though the situation will vary from business to business, if people continue to buy local, businesses are resilient and will “do their very best to be there for us.”

The Duncan Chamber of Commerce president says the survival of local businesses depends on local consumers shopping here instead of using the big online retailers.

As for how many businesses might fold in 2021, Scurr says that’s difficult to forecast as it depends on the resources of the individual owners.

She says a lot of businesses are struggling, but there are businesses that have seen an upswing business, based on the product they are selling.