A Message from BCHA President & CEO Ingrid Jarrett
Good Afternoon Hotel and Accommodation Industry;
As we move into the middle of April, and recognize we are in this pandemic just as deep if not deeper than a year ago, and there is little relief in sight other than the hope of vaccinations in all our communities.

I have had the opportunity with several other industry associations and industry leaders to meet with Dr. Bonnie Henry, Minister Mark, Minister Kahlon and our hard working deputy ministers on several relief measures and priorities. The engagement and willingness to listen and to work together is encouraging, but the reality of the restrictions and the COVID numbers do not allow much hope for a short term recovery, nor a short term reopening for our industry.
The round Table engagement session held by Minister Kahlon last Friday, as well as the Round Table held yesterday by Minister Mark both featured Dr. Bonnie Henry detailing the vaccination priorities, updates on the outbreaks and current status of the pandemic. I have to say Dr. Henry’s frank, honest disclosure of the challenges and focus on priorities was well received. Dr. Henry answered a series of tough questions from industry and provided some hope for the coming months, all with the caveat of the COVID numbers, outbreaks and hospitalizations being under control.

Included as an update were the following highlights. 
  • Restrictions will continue for the next few weeks until the numbers once again diminish they could increase if the numbers continue to grow
  • Acknowledgement of the excellent safety plans and protocols by industry
  • Border restrictions will continue until at least the fall
  • Late spring/summer we should be back to a summer similar to last year which will include intra and inter provincial travel
  • Late spring/summer we will be back to meetings up to 50 people, and by fall meetings over 50 people as long as the vaccination rollouts are complete and the COVID numbers are under control

I am very pleased that Minister Mark is providing a seat at the table for industry leaders to work hand in hand looking to the future. We are committed to providing the research, the statistics, the expertise to support the development of a plan so you, our industry can plan and anticipate business demands in the coming months, and look to the time when we are once again welcoming visitors to Beautiful British Columbia. This is critically important work, and I’d like to acknowledge we hear you loud and clear – we need a process, a plan that is predictable. If you are a large operators, or a cornerstone business, please fill out the survey below. 

Time and again we are reminded of the outstanding work our industry has done and is doing with safety plans and protocols – and yet behaviour not complying with mask wearing, physical distancing and risky social activities is clearly impacting the timeline for reopening. We are seeing the highest numbers yet of COVID as a result of spring break, and it appears as though we will continue to be faced with the restrictions announced last week until those numbers change.
The hotels that are providing isolation and quarantine shelter for returning Canadians are doing a remarkable job, we have implored the Chief health officer of Coastal Health, Dr. Bonnie Henry, the Health Inspectors and the Public Health Agency of Canada to prioritize vaccinations for these essential workers. As yet, we have not been added to the list even though these hard working essential workers continue to provide care under circumstances with heightened risk. We will continue to advocate on their behalf, we have asked for a written request from the federal government for consideration to ensure their role in public safety is understood and recognized.
We have sent out several survey’s in the past two weeks, for numerous purposes. I know and understand that the time it takes, and often it may feel like the same questions, but the timing for the impact and the actual state of the industry is one of the most important pieces of work we can do to ensure when we are meeting with government and looking to ensure the right programs are available for the right businesses. I know there are still gaps in relief measures, such as ownership, seasonal businesses, new businesses, large businesses to name a few. Your specific stories are what brings life to the facts, so please do answer the “tell us your story” survey – and also if you are a large or cornerstone business, please answer the large business survey we sent out earlier this week. TIABC, IITBC and BCHA are working on a relief measure to address the shortfall for fiscal relief for large businesses, and we need the information in order to educate and develop that program. Addressing the gaps, ensuring the wage subsidy continues, access to the small business grant, large business loans are all in process. Believe me, we are doing everything possible with our partners to keep you in business so you can recover, our workforce can be rehired and our economy can once again thrive. 
At this point in April, spring is here, the blossoms are out on the lower mainland, and the snow is starting to melt. This bring returning birdsong, and the balsam root on the banks in the Okanagan, and hope to us all. We continue to work hard on your behalf, and will do out utmost federally and provincially to ensure access to relief is available and that we can recover together.
Stay Safe,

Ingrid Jarrett
President and CEO
British Columbia Hotel Association
Today's update includes:

  • NOW OPEN: Applications for Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant
  • Throne Speech Highlights
  • Destination Canada: Canadians Key to Supporting the Recovery of Devastated Tourism Sector
  • Large Operator Survey
  • Community Arts Funding
  • Updated TIABC Know Before You Go Accommodation Video
  • In the News
For any questions please reach out to our team. 
NOW OPEN: Applications for Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant
Eligible businesses can apply for the Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant to help support businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grant will provide affected businesses with one-time funding to help with expenses like rent, insurance, employee wages, maintenance and utilities. It can also help cover unexpected costs, such as the purchase of perishable goods, that resulted from COVID-19 restrictions. 
Businesses affected by the March 30, 2021, provincial health orders will be eligible to receive between $1,000 and $10,000 in grant funding.
The Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant is open to eligible businesses of any size that have been in operation since February 1, 2021.
To be eligible, a business is required to:
  • Confirm it has been affected by the recent provincial health orders
  • Provide electronic banking information
  • Confirm it is registered as a BC business
  • Produce a business validation document, such as a business license, liquor license, notice of assessment or lease agreement
  • Confirm majority ownership and operations and payment of taxes in B.C.

Businesses that were closed or had their licenses revoked due to provincial health order non-compliance are not eligible for this grant.
Application information and eligibility criteria are available here: 
Applications will remain open until June 4, 2021, or until the grant funds are disbursed.  
Learn more and apply here.
Throne Speech Highlights
Yesterday's Throne Speech highlighted that more than one million British Columbians have received their first dose of a vaccine, with thousands more being added to the list each day. The largest-ever immunization program in BC’s history is ahead of schedule and will be aided by 1,400 former tourism and hospitality workers who are being trained to work in mass-vaccination clinics.
Government will table a budget next week that focuses on helping people now and creating the conditions for a strong economic recovery that reaches every British Columbian. The upcoming budget will make health care better, while creating new opportunities for people, target help to businesses so they can grow and hire, and make record investments in infrastructure to create jobs and strengthen local communities.
The Throne Speech highlighted concrete actions government will take over the next year to ensure that BC comes back from the pandemic stronger and more resilient:
  • improving health care 
  • making life more affordable 
  • supporting businesses including those in tourism and hospitality
  • building more inclusive communities 
  • protecting the environment
  • bridging the digital divide by investing in boosting digital connectivity
Learn more here
Destination Canada: Canadians Key to Supporting the Recovery of Devastated Tourism Sector
Destination Canada released new research and analysis that uncovers the scope of the impact to the tourism sector from COVID-19. The visitor economy saw unprecedented losses in 2020 and tourism continues to be by far the most threatened sector in the Canadian economy due to its service nature and current reliance on foreign tourists.

While recovery is forecasted to take years, Canadians can play a critical role in bolstering the tourism economy, creating jobs and supporting local businesses by keeping their tourism dollars in Canada. However, search data reveals that Canadians are showing a high interest in international travel this year, if safe to do so.

Read more here.
Large Operator Survey
The BC Hotel Association, the Tourism Industry Association of BC, and Indigenous Tourism BC have been advocating for the needs of larger BC tourism and hospitality operators. As part of that advocacy, we have been meeting with various levels of government to discuss relief and assistance measures. As a result of those discussions, we have been asked to provide additional industry level data, specific to the large operators, about your collective situation and needs. 
The purpose of collecting this data is to aggregate the data for us to use in our conversations with various levels of government about the types of relief and assistance packages required for the industry and for large operators. No individual company data, nor individual responses to any of the questions will be shared with government officials or other entities. This information will be treated as confidential and only used at the aggregate level.

There are several questions that require more detailed data on BC assets, financial metrics, and employee demographics. We would recommend that you have your financial data for 2019 and 2020 available, and your employee demographics data if you collect that type of information. We have provided a preview of the full list of questions as an attachment in order for you to prepare to complete the online survey. 
Community Arts Funding
To kick off Creative Industries Week, more than 70 community arts festivals are getting support to hold safe, entertaining activities this year.

The BC Arts Council is providing a total of $1.19 million through three grant programs:
  • Community Arts Festivals: 72 grants to arts and culture and Indigenous organizations to pay artists to participate in local arts festivals.
  • Visual Artists: 46 grants to support professional visual artists in creating new work.
  • Co-Op Placements: 20 grants to help organizations hire co-op students to gain experience in the arts and culture sector.

The list of grant recipients is available here
For more information on the community arts funding or visit here.
TIABC Know Before You Go Video - Accommodation
Recognizing there is a demand for our industry businesses to share their steps taken to keep residents and visitors safe and healthy as well as a need to inform visitors with what to expect when they are able to travel and visit BC, The Tourism Industry Association of BC (TIABC) has invested in a series of videos that will act as public service announcements educating about the province’s health and safety protocols, what businesses are doing to ensure their customers, guests and future guests are safe and protected and to reiterate the provincial tourism marketing messaging “Know Before You Go”.

Watch the updated video here
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