From gift cards to takeout: supporting local businesses through the holidays

December is an important month for business owners – for many, it’s the busiest time of the year. We all know that this year is different. While the latest provincial health restrictions are necessary to help slow the spread of COVID-19, they have a major impact on many local businesses.

The City of Calgary’s Business Sector task force works directly with the business community to act as a conduit, sharing their immediate needs and finding solutions.

“It hasn’t been easy for most businesses this year. Many have been hit very hard by the pandemic; every permanent closure is a blow to our community and economy. We are working hard behind the scenes to support businesses in Calgary,” says Sonya Sharp, Leader of Business and Local Economy at The City.

“It’s important to hear from the businesses themselves about what will help. That’s why as part of our Support Local campaign, we are sharing videos from the community about the ways that Calgarians can help businesses survive the impacts of these restrictions in a safe way.”

Here’s what three members of the task force say Calgarians can do to support them and stay safe.


Lourdes Juan, local spa owner

“There are so many ways you can support local business right now. Buy gift cards from your favourite spa or salon; I know they'd love to see you in the new year. Leave a positive review online for your favourite business. It takes just two minutes and costs absolutely nothing. Order takeout and pickup from your favourite local restaurant. Wear a mask, wave to friends and business owners. Keep your distance and stay safe.”


Chad McCormick, local restaurant and pub owner

“We're very grateful to have such amazing customers that continue to support our businesses locally here in Calgary. Many of you continue to ask, ‘How can we support more? How can we be more involved?’ Easiest way is to pick up a phone and call the store or location or restaurant, pick up curbside or drop inside the store to pick it up. You can also have some of your third-party apps for delivery to your home. And all that we ask in that is to remember to be kind and leave positive reviews when you can. We're working really hard in all of these different businesses to keep people employed through all of these times. Buying gift cards is another way. You can throw them in stocking stuffers or give them to friends and family. So anyway, thank you very much. We’re very grateful to have your support.”


Julie Van Rosendaal, local food writer

“I would like to encourage anyone who can afford to, to spend local this holiday season. Whether it's ordering takeout from your favourite restaurant and picking it up if you can, or ordering online for curbside pickup or delivery from one of our fantastic unique retailers. We have the most independent bookstores of any city in Canada, and it really could make a difference between keeping them in our communities or having them go out of business forever. So if you can, please spend local this holiday season. And be safe.”


The City is reducing barriers, time and cost to enable business owners’ success. Through the pandemic, various permit fees for development and building waived for customers equal more than $1.65 million.

We’re making improvements to make it easier for business owners to apply for and renew permits and licenses online through the virtual myBusiness hub, and get answers you need through online chat, email or telephone. And we’re encouraging Calgarians to buy local to support shops and services through our #SupportLocalYYC campaign.

We offer live chat on, or you can contact us through the Planning Services Centre at 403-268-5311, Monday to Friday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

The City of Calgary is here for our business community. It truly takes a village - we're stronger when we come together. Visit to learn more about what supports are available to you and your business.