City of Calgary looks to help businesses modify operations amid COVID-19 pandemic

Calgary city hall pictured in fall 2017. Dani Lantela/Global News/File

As COVID-19 continues to change the way businesses in Calgary operate, the city is looking to help create new opportunities for workers in the community.

By shifting operations or creating new home-based businesses, officials said the city is available to help residents begin these new ventures amid the pandemic.

“The city is here to help any local business make changes to how they do their operations,” chief electrical inspector with Calgary Building Services Adam Ghani said in a news release on Wednesday.

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“Already we’ve partnered with the Calgary Fire Department to help a local brewery retrofit their business, and their facility, to safely make hand sanitizer.”

Manager of customer solutions and business registration with the city Cliff De Jong said since the pandemic began, the city has seen an increase in business applications.

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“We’ve already seen a 20 per cent increase in applications for home-based businesses,” De Jong said.

“We continue to field calls about applying for building permits and getting inspections.”

The city noted that safety codes officers and building inspectors are on-hand and ready to help business owners safely prepare their organizations for change during these uncertain times.

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Ulrik Seward, chief building official with the city, noted that city officials can help to quickly determine the necessary steps to be taken, to help businesses switch their focus, or begin new operations.

Seward added one example of this is the Leftovers Foundation, which receives excess food from restaurant suppliers and distributes it to those in need. Seward said the foundation recently approached the city for assistance with its new warehouse lease and concerns about HVAC requirements.

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“Ultimately, we were able to work collaboratively with our community planning team to confirm that no building permit was required,” Seward said.

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“It’s important that local companies in Calgary know that we’re here to help.”

The city noted that any local businesses looking to change or begin new operations amid the pandemic should contact the planning services centre or visit the city’s livechat website.

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