As of Monday morning, the City of Barrie, along with the rest of Simcoe County and the District of Muskoka, moved into the red zone. Barrie’s mayor has a novel challenge to help us support our neighbours and local businesses while we’re here.
Mayor Jeff Lehman has issued the 4×4 challenge to Barrie residents, containing four things to do each of the minimum four weeks that Barrie will spend in the red zone.
Those four things are as follows:
1. Donate to a Barrie Charity
2. Order take out for pickup from a Barrie restaurant
3. Buy something from a Barrie shop/service
4. Reach out to someone in Barrie.
Lehman is encouraging everyone who follows through on this challenge to post the four things they did using the hashtag #Barrie4x4Challenge along with a pic of what they got.
The challenge takes its name from the situation Simcoe and Muskoka finds itself in. “Four things once a week for the next four weeks,” Lehman told Barrie 360 on Monday. “The four weeks is because we know we’re in the red zone for at least 28 days. That’s the way the provincial restrictions work. Hopefully, it’ll only be four weeks.”
However, for many folks impacted by the pandemic, there isn’t a lot of money to go around these days. “I recognize for lots of people, this is not a time in which they have any extra money to donate or to spend on takeout,” Lehman said. “If you don’t, just do number four: reach out to someone, reach out to more than one person. I think that part of the challenge, everybody can do.”
“Whether it’s a good old phone call, or a DM or a text, or whatever it is, this is a good time to be reaching out. I mean, the holiday season is not always great for everybody and it is a very good time to reach out to people who you might not otherwise.”
Lehman points out that supporting local business doesn’t always mean money has to change hands. “Even if you don’t buy something, leave a positive review, comment, spread the word about a business online that you want to support,” he said. “Someplace that you may not be in a position right now to help them by buying something, no problem, but you can help them by raising the profile of them online.”
While participating in the 4×4 Challenge, Lehman is encouraging one and all to think about ways of maximizing impact while doing so. “It’s all about being a little bit intentional about how we do these things,” he said. “All charities do good work. Any support you can give to any charity right now is a good idea. With the takeout, it is a good idea to pick up your takeout order rather than getting it delivered because that saves the delivery charge, which is charged to the restaurant. So it maximizes the benefit to the restaurant, if you’re able to, to do curbside or take for pickup.”
This comes at a time when supporting local has never been easier. “Anything helps and I think you’ll find, if you look into it, that a lot of these places are now online. A lot more Barrie businesses have taken the time over the last 8-9 months to get online. And you can buy local online.”