In an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 and assist business operations, Sylvan Lake Chamber of Commerce in association with the provincial government is offering free rapid testing kits to local businesses.
Chamber Executive Director Denise Williams said, “Purchasing the kits can be pricey, and given it is recommended that businesses have their staff tested one or two times a week, that can add up.
“We’ve been hearing about challenges businesses have had as not all employees choose to vaccinate and concerns that if they have an outbreak, it could affect their ability to remain open. This seemed like a good solution to save them some money and keep their staff and customers safe.”
So far, the Chamber has received 2,000 Abbot Panbio Nasal Rapid Test kits that businesses and organizations can claim, shared Williams. The average cost per test is about $14.
“The kits are free because the Government of Alberta and the Chamber’s associations are working together to implement this program to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Williams. “Before making the decision we discussed this as a board, and also ran it by our committee, the WCD Committee (Waterfront Commercial District Revitalization Committee), and found that several of them saw value in this,” she added.
Williams suggests interested businesses and organizations reach out as soon as possible. Given the limited number of kits received on the first order, Chamber members are being prioritized and based on availability, other non-member businesses could also reach out to be added to a list.
Williams explained, “We had to sign a contract with the Alberta government, and any business that wishes to take advantage of this program will need to also sign that paperwork, which we will facilitate.
“Each week by end of day Tuesday, they will email us a form that simply asks for the business name, the name of the employee tested, and whether the test was positive, negative, or inconclusive.”
Williams said those administering the kits can access a training video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEDib8tjhrI.
Williams said businesses and organizations can order a large number of tests to use over the course of several months while sharing a weekly report on kits that have been used.
“Under no circumstance can the kits be used on customers or family members. They can only be used for their employees – that’s a hard and fast rule that we don’t want to see broken,” said Williams.
The continuation of supply of free kits will be based on the administrative time required to continue with the rapid testing program, shared Williams. She added that it would also be based on, “whether there is a demand, if the process is convenient for the businesses using them, and if the reporting is returned so that the Chamber can submit the required reports back to the government as per the agreement.”