‘We want businesses to stay open’: St. Thomas chamber promotes vaccination with new video

In the Southwestern Public Health (SWPH) region, 79 per cent of those 12+ have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, while 65 per cent have two shots.

In an effort to push that number higher, the St. Thomas and District Chamber of Commerce (STDCC) has produced a promotional video called ‘This is our Shot,’ encouraging those in Elgin County to get vaccinated.

“Ultimately we want to support our small business community as much as possible to allow people to shop support local and get out there so we can open our businesses and make sure that they stay open,” says Paul Jenkins, CEO of the STDCC.

Businesses across the county participated, holding up signs explaining why they got their vaccine.

“A lot of small businesses are just hanging by their fingertips right now trying to get through,” says Chris Patriquin, owner of Simply Pure Water in St. Thomas.

“It’s an important time for businesses right now to stay open. This is a tool that we can use to keep businesses open and avoid lock downs in the future.”

For Chris and Jame Patriquin, it’s not just about business. They are looking out for family and the community.

“We’ve got a brand new grandson now he’s just six weeks old, so I mean it’s important to us that we protect him keep him safe as well as his family and the rest of our family,” Chris adds.

The STDCC campaign is concurrent with SWHP’s ‘Vaccination is Key,’ and the St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital is also pushing vaccinations.

Jenkins feels the entire community, including elected officials, have been working hard since the beginning of the pandemic to encourage vaccination.

“People spend about a third of their day, every day, at work,” says Dr. Joyce Lock, medical officer of health for SWPH.

“By getting the messages to our workers, we can reach more people. Also, all of us, we attend those workplaces, and they’re an important part of our lives. We want to give back to the restaurants and to the shops, and to our recreational facilities.”

Currently Jenkins says no businesses in the STDCC are requiring vaccination for entry, but that could potentially change in the coming months. For now, they want to reduce vaccine reluctance, and improve on that 79 per cent vaccination number.

“We understand that there’s reluctance, that’s exactly why we’re doing it,” says Jenkins.

“We’re not trying to meet folks that have questions about this with any smugness it’s simply, you want it. If you do have concerns, if you do have questions we’re going to put the experts that are the local experts right in front of you and make sure that you have an opportunity to ask these questions.

“The most important thing we can do for our business community is to get her vaccinations, so that we can go out and support these businesses that support our community so much.”