pulling together in the wake of covid-19

how the cowichan valley is getting #backtowork after the first wave of covid-19

After a year of political and economic uncertainty, COVID-19 and – let’s be honest, 2020 in general – has made the last few years look like a walk in the park. 

Duncan BC during COVID-19
Summer in the Cowichan Valley is quieter than usual with COVID-19

Imagine if Earth was a highly anticipated TV show, returning to the galaxy for a long awaited reboot with all the original cast. But instead of the usual ensemble and sitcom humour, this season of Earth shows up with a chaotic plot of disruption & drama, featuring a ‘special guest’ that nobody asked for. It’s not quite the return to form that we were all hoping for.

At the start of COVID-19, the future in BC was especially uncertain. Vancouver Island seems to have gone through the worst of the first wave with some of the lowest health impacts in the country, but the ripple effects on the local economy in towns like Duncan are impossible to overstate. Business has slowly begun to return with restrictions loosening, and as a community, we should be proud of how we’ve weathered this storm

The Team at Empress Avenue Media work through COVID-19
Work environments – plus the work itself – is constantly changing for Empress during COVID-19.

We are inspired by how our fellow small businesses in the Cowichan Valley have pulled together to boost each other up and stay active. The city has facilitated the repurposing of sidewalks to enable take out and patio service for restaurants. Patrons have demonstrated amazing loyalty as entertainment venues move to reservation systems, and stores adapt to curbside pick-up. The Caprice theatre was among the first cinemas in Canada to re-open, with numerous measures in place to ensure the safety of its visitors. With a slate of classic films, walking in takes you back to another time, but it’s still hard to forget the strange situation we find ourselves in.

Cowichan Valley businesses during COVID-19
Businesses in the Cowichan Valley are getting back to work as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, coming together with the mantra #CowichanStrong

Meanwhile at our little studio in Cobble Hill, we’re grateful to have remained busy throughout. We are proud to be part of the solution, bringing business back to the Cowichan Valley. Our goal has always been to connect businesses with their communities, and we thrive on the challenge of doing that under these incredible circumstances.

so what’s different at Empress Avenue Media these days?

The Empress team has been able to adapt over the last few months by working completely remotely. This has involved countless meetings through zoom, and continuous communications via phone and a growing collection of online tools like Slack, Asana, Tick, Vimeo and more. COVID has also changed how we manage project files, such as videos that can top 15TB of data. One of our video crew was stuck in Ontario for over a month due to travel restrictions. The rest of us have been stuck in isolation, and craving the ability to bounce ideas around face-to-face. After all, the creative energy of working together is one of the reasons we founded Empress in the first place.

“After all, the creative energy of working together is one of the reasons we founded Empress in the first place.”

Due to projects pausing, shoots being cancelled, and limitations on access to the office, our focus has also changed. Our team has tackled a much higher percentage of editing projects than usual. As demands for content grow in a hungry Entertainment industry, more clients are looking to us to polish off old projects. Demands for digital marketing and web projects are also on the rise, as the reliance on online business grows for many local operations. We are so grateful for the wonderful clients we get to work with, who have kept us busy throughout.

As restrictions ease, as we experiment and perfect our own precautions, we are eagerly but cautiously reuniting in person for the first time. After months of virtual meetings, it’s a welcome homecoming for most of Team Empress.

The film industry in BC is returning to work despite COVID-19 restrictions
Peter Olivastri of Empress Avenue Media films an interview during COVID-19. The film industry in BC is returning #BackToWork despite new complications of filming during the coronavirus.

how the film industry in BC is adapting to covid-19

Just a few weeks ago the province of B.C. finally announced the reopening of the film industry.  Empress Avenue Media has made all the adjustments needed, and our own Mia Golden facilitated certification with Safe Sets™ COVID-19 Level A – English by Worksafe BC. We are so excited to start filming again to bring your ideas to life!

let’s get #backtowork. together.

Despite minor setbacks, we have also been able to pursue our collective passions. By increasing our clients’ connection to their online audiences, and boosting their digital presence on social media platforms, we hope we’ve helped in some small way to keep business flowing in Duncan and beyond. What’s unique about Empress is the diversity of our in-house talent and our ability to work together on unique, local projects. Luckily, it’s a focus that’s still relevant in this strange new season of Earth.

“As we all try to learn to love this strange new season…it’s more important than ever for all of us to stay connected…”

The last few months have been full of unexpected twists and turns. As we all try to learn to love this strange new season – like an awkward TV reboot – it’s more important than ever for all of us to stay connected… With one another, with our clients and our community. So let us know, how can we help you reconnect and recalibrate?

To help you get back to work we are offering substantial discounts for our small-business brothers and sisters in the Cowichan Valley and South Island.  It’s our way of saying thanks, and helping in some small way to keep Cowichan Strong.

Wondering how you can reach more customers during COVID-19? Let’s talk.