Kelowna Capital News / MICHAEL RODRIGUEZ/ Dec. 8, 2020

 A profitable holiday season could mean the difference between life and death for several local Kelowna businesses, city councillors warned on Monday.

 Following the lengthy last regular council meeting of 2020, Coun. Brad Sieben made a plea to residents to ensure they do some of their holiday shopping at struggling local businesses and find ways to support restaurants around the city. He urged people to “think before you click” when buying items online, and instead consider supporting businesses that have faced several hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 And, it’s more than the usual “buy local” sentiment, Sieben stressed.

 “Some of these businesses may not be around if we don’t,” he said.

 New provincial regulations, Sieben said, have stalled the progress made by businesses in recent months as peoples’ willingness to dine out and leave their homes has waned.

 “Now’s the time for people to really support their neighbourhood restaurants the way you can. Plan for when we’re going to be out of this.”

 Sieben suggested buying gift cards that could be used when restrictions ease and ordering take-out from restaurants.

 Coun. Loyal Wooldridge echoed Sieben’s statement, saying he attended a local restaurant over the weekend where he met a server who had been laid off three times since the pandemic began.

 “Not only is it supporting the backbone of commerce in our city which is the business owners, but the local workers that need to make a living there.”

 As it does every December, the city has nixed downtown on-street parking fees on all Saturdays throughout the month to encourage shoppers to attend downtown businesses.