July 23 | 2020
ON THE PROVINCIAL FRONT
New Protocols for Bars and Nightclubs - Strong Words from Dr. Henry
Dr. Bonnie Henry announced new requirements for bars and nightclubs while reminding everyone of the necessity to keep contacts to a minimum. She made the announcement during a briefing with the Health Minister yesterday stating that people need to keep their contacts to those they know. She added that in some cases related to the Kelowna gatherings, people had been in contact with people they did not know, making contact tracing near impossible. Henry said that 70+ cases have now been linked to events and parties in the Kelowna area over the past several weeks.  

The new measures the province is putting in place include:
  • All patrons in bars and nightclubs will be required to be seated in assigned seats;
  • Alcohol self-service will not be available (that means no ordering from the bar);
  • Dance floors can not be used and must remain closed;
  • And establishments must take new steps to reduce lineups and choke points.

Dr. Henry also emphasized that groups at restaurants should be limited to six, and customers should not be pushing tables together or engaging in behaviour that puts staff at risk. 

About a dozen specific locations in the Okanagan have recently reported either confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 and Health officials are now considering tighter and specific requirements in the central Okanagan. Ironically, a regional approach to setting guidelines was previously dismissed by the Health Minister and Premier. For more information on public exposures to COVID-19 in the Interior Health region  CLICK HERE
New Online Process for Temporary Layoff Variance Applications Available
While there are signs of increased economic activity in many sectors, some employers are not yet able to recall their workers. To extend a “COVID-19 emergency layoff” beyond August 30, the province has set up an online portal where employers and workers can apply jointly to the Employment Standards Branch for a further temporary layoff variance.

Without this variance, the employment relationship will be permanently severed as of August 30, and eligible employees must be provided any severance they are owed as a result of termination. Applications must be received by the August 25th deadline to be considered. To see the full process, CLICK HERE.
 
The BC Chamber continues to support a simple extension to the deadline as opposed to the approach now being taken by the Province as it is an onerous process and creates additional challenges for many businesses just trying to stay afloat. This issue is poised to complicate employers’ and workers’ lives at the end of August, and likely, further slow the fragile recovery of the past five months.
Province to Match $1B in Federal Funds to Kick Start the Economy, Including Transit
The Province is earmarking up to $1 billion of additional spending targeted to address COVID-19 impacts and restart plans of local governments and public transit services, conditional on matching federal contributions under a 50/50 cost-sharing criteria. The latest commitment by the federal government will help support B.C.’s ongoing efforts to restart the provincial economy and make it more resilient to possible future waves of the virus.

Minister of Finance Carole James introduced supplementary estimates in the legislature for up to $1 billion to fund the Province’s portion of municipal and transit services assistance, depending on the outcome of further federal cost-sharing discussions in this priority area.
ON THE LOCAL FRONT
#OKanagan We Got This! We're Open - Support Shopping, Eating, & Investing Local
Your local Chambers from across the valley have come together to help support our communities in shopping, eating, and investing locally. Now there's a new way to join the #OK We Got This Campaign! Display the 'We're Open' sign in your window to let others know you're open for business, and share a photo of it on your social media channels by hashtagging #OKwegotthis for a chance to be featured and gain access to potential customers from across the valley on our #OKanagan We Got This Facebook page .
Kelowna-Made Masks Lighten the Mood at the PNE in Vancouver
Local Kelowna company and Chamber member, Proforma Inspired Promotions have created fun masks that have gained traction throughout North America. Vancouver's PNE Playland amusement park are now including the masks with paid admission. As face coverings are now required in all lineups and on rides at the PNE, the fun and bright masks are bringing a lightened mood to the park, while allowing guests to safely explore and have fun.
Photo: Kelowna Daily Courier
Business Development: Marketing your Back to Business Operations
As businesses begin to re-open, we shift to a new world with new protocols in every business that you walk into. The team at Tourism Kelowna recently sat down with their Business Development team to showcase the importance of clear messaging on health and safety protocols to potential visitors for consumer confidence in visiting the region. This is a great example not only for tourism businesses, but for anyone looking to share their re-opening message with their guests or customers. If you're interested in learning more about Tourism Kelowna's Business Development initiatives CLICK HERE.
First West Foundation S ends out Additional $121,120 to 15 BC Organizations
The First West Foundation launched its Community Response Fund in late May to help charitable organizations navigate the uncertainty and financial strain of COVID-19. The Fund recently released $121,120 to 15 charitable organizations in its third round of funding. Since May, $476,820 has been granted to charities focused on basic needs and food security programming in the Envision Financial, Enderby & District and Valley First regions, and Island Savings will complete its disbursement before the end of July.
ON THE FEDERAL FRONT
Improved Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Program Extended
Monday July 20th the proposed CEWS program extension with improvements was passed in the House, and the CEWS program will now be extended until December 19th, 2020. The Kelowna Chamber is pleased to see this approval, as it will help to protect jobs by assisting businesses and community organizations with keeping employees on the payroll while also encouraging employers to re-hire workers previously laid off. 

In addition, the extension will:
  • Make the subsidy more accessible to a broader range of employers by providing a gradually decreasing base subsidy to all eligible employers that are experiencing a decline in revenues. This will help many struggling employers with less than a 30 per cent revenue loss get support to keep and bring back workers.
  • Introduces a top-up subsidy of up to an additional 25% for employers that have been most adversely affected by the pandemic. This is particularly helpful to employers in industries that are recovering more slowly.
Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program: July Opt-In Now Available
Businesses may now apply for the opt-in for the month of July for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program. If you have previously been approved, you automatically qualify and no additional documents are required, but you must log into the portal and opt-in for your affected tenants.  If you haven’t yet applied for CECRA for small businesses, you can apply for July as part of your entire application. 
#CanadaUnited Campaign & Grant Program: Join the Movement!
Canada United is a movement that brings fellow Canadians together to show their support for local businesses, while offering relief grants of up to $5,000 to help Canadian small businesses with their recovery efforts as a result of COVID-19. Applications for the Canada United Small Business Relief Fund will be accepted starting on August 31, 2020. 

Your participation over the coming weeks is important! Every time you watch a #CanadaUnited video online, like their posts on social media or use the hashtag #CanadaUnited on Twitter, RBC will contribute 5¢ to the Canada United Small Business Relief Fund. So, join the movement and show locals some love.
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