VICTORIA -- The Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce is showing its love for local businesses through a new website that lets you buy gift cards for future use from retailers and service providers who've been forced to shut down due to COVID-19.

"This is a way for the Sooke Region Chamber to step up and provide an online revenue stream for our local businesses to help them possibly keep afloat during this time," said Karen Mason, Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce president.

The website, just launched this week and has a complete list of businesses involved in the program.

The Sooke Chamber of Commerce is encouraging people to purchase “buy now, redeem later” gift cards to local businesses if they are able to. The gift cards range from $5 – $100 and can be purchased online now and used later in stores once they reopen.

There are about 30 retailers and service providers currently listed on the website and the chamber is encouraging others to sign up. Registration for the website is free until April 27.

"It takes less than 10 minutes to sign up," Mason said. "[Businesses] can decide to sell products on this online service or simply just stick to the card if they want to."

At Stick in the Mud Coffee House, owner David Evans has been forced to lay off most of his staff.

"Any support is good support right now," Evans said. "We've gone from 16 employees to about one and a half."

It didn't take much convincing for him to get onboard.

"It just sounded like a great idea, " he said. "It’s a wonderful way to let the residents of Sooke know that there are all these businesses that are still here."

"We're struggling but we're still here."

If you would like to purchase gift cards or register your business, visit Better Buy Sooke online here