VICTORIA -- As Victorians prepare for the holiday season, the Downtown Victoria Business Association (DVBA) has launched a new “Downtown Delivers” service to encourage local shopping during the pandemic.

Any business located in Victoria’s downtown core, within the DVBA boundary, is eligible to participate in the free service, which will allow local shops to deliver across Greater Victoria, even to communities like Sooke and Sidney.

“This year, more than ever before, it’s vital to support local during the holidays,” reads the Downtown Victoria Business Association website.

“The wonderful businesses in Victoria’s core are facing uncertain futures, some may not survive past the holidays – it’s the season many retailers and restaurants depend upon for their entire year,” says the DVBA. “Not only do these small businesses have to compete for business with big box stores and services like Amazon, but they also must combat the effects of COVID-19.”

While deliveries can reach communities across Greater Victoria, the DVBA notes the there may be some exceptions.

The business association is partnering with three local delivery companies, one of which is a bike courier service. Stores using NomadEx Bike Cargo will have a more limited delivery scope, says the DVBA.

Meanwhile, most businesses in Victoria’s downtown core are offering online shopping options.

A full list of participating businesses, from shops to restaurants, can be found here.

“Don’t let the fact that you are at home deter you from shopping local,” says the DVBA. “Many downtown Victoria businesses have gone online to stay afloat, meaning you can shop locally from the comfort of your couch.”