Chamber Update
May 25, 2020
Halfway to Phase 3 as business begins re-opening
There is reason for confidence during our transition through Phase 2 of the province's Restart BC plan. After months of uncertainty, businesses have re-opened and there are signs people are ready to get out and support Greater Victoria's economy.

“I’m very hopeful and I’m certainly encouraging the public to give all these businesses a chance,” Chamber CEO Catherine Holt told Black Press. “Try them out, definitely support them. Come back downtown and to your local mall and anywhere else you used to do your shopping, and give them the benefit of the doubt. Give people a chance to figure it out and see what they can do.”

We are halfway through Phase 2. If all goes well this week, BC will enter Phase 3 next Monday. At that point, all activities can resume except for international tourism, conventions and large gatherings.

To help business through the process of re-opening, the City of Victoria has published an updated list of helpful links. On the page, you can also find branded signage to help you communicate to customers.

You can also find a comprehensive list at The Chamber's COVID-19 resource page.

We understand these are challenging times and we are here to support our members. If you have a request for advocacy, or need help making sure you're making the most of your membership, please contact us at
City safe for return to business, VicPD chief says
Downtown Victoria is safe for business and for the public to visit in support of their favourite restaurants and retailers.

Del Manak, chief of the Victoria Police Department, told viewers of The Chamber's May 22 Fireside Chat that he encourages people to get out and support local businesses as life downtown returns to a new normal.

Chief Manak said his department was able to adapt an existing emergency plan to respond to the pandemic. Despite an initial increase in crime, VicPD say it could have been worse without their response. Safety continues to improve as more people return downtown to work, shop and enjoy a meal.

For more on how VicPD is keeping its officers and the community safe, watch our Fireside Chat here.
Victoria Police Department: Member since 2008
How to help downtown Victoria return to vibrancy
Anticipation was high as Greater Victoria business began opening last week, but it will take time for downtown to return to the vibrancy it had before the pandemic.

Jeff Bray, executive director of the Downtown Victoria Business Association, says there are some serious challenges ahead, especially for restaurants and retailers that depend on tourism. Bray was The Chamber's guest last Thursday for our Fireside Chat about steps we can take to support economic recovery.

Watch the Fireside Chat for more on how you can help, and how the crisis could be the catalyst to changes needed to make downtown safer for everyone.
Downtown Victoria Business Association: Member since 2007
Response to crisis a reason for optimism, LG says
BC's Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin says she's impressed by the level of collaboration between members of the government and opposition, and all segments of society.

With the COVID-19 pandemic causing so much uncertainty, the Lieutenant Governor praised The Chamber for its work supporting our community.

The effort has helped create a level of trust with the public that, in turn, allowed public health regulations to be so successful in this province.

Watch our entire Fireside Chat with the LG for more on how the response to this crisis could result in positive changes in how government and business work together in the years ahead.
Province announces $10 million for tourism bureaus
The provincial government is helping BC's 59 destination marketing organizations with a $10 million grant. The funds are meant to help organizations such as Destination Greater Victoria retain staff and cover expenses from May to October 2020.

“From marketing, to destination development and industry learning, we’re here to help restart the tourism industry as we slowly begin opening our doors again,” Marsha Walden, president and CEO of Destination BC, said in the news release.
Destination Greater Victoria: Member since 1988
Rent aid opens today for BC commercial properties
The federal government is staggering applications for commercial rent relief this week. On Monday, commercial property owners in BC with up to 10 tenants can submit their applications. Commercial property owners in BC with more than 10 tenants will need to wait until Thursday to apply.

Applications are being accepted through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), and are aimed at small business tenants paying less than $50,000 per month in rent, have annual revenues of less than $2 million, and have had at least a 70 per cent drop in revenue. Non-profit and charitable organizations are also eligible.
'Stay local' the new mantra as business re-opens
British Columbia is in an enviable position because we listened to our provincial health officer's advice to "stay home" and stop the spread of COVID-19.

Our next challenge is to "stay local" and support businesses in our community as they begin safely re-opening. That's the message from Chamber CEO Catherine Holt in the May edition of Business Examiner.

"Let’s keep the virus in check by staying local, and showing love to local businesses — especially those in the hospitality sector who may be facing up to a year without international tourists. We can be there for them. We need to take these next steps together."
Business Examiner: Member since 2009
Just announced! Virtual Fireside Chats
How will staying at a hotel change?
Join Chamber CEO Catherine Holt and Bill Lewis, Chair of the Hotel Association of Greater Victoria , as they talk about how our hotel sector will recover in the face of the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
Submit your questions to by noon on Tues. May 26.
What’s Ahead for BC Transit
On June 1, BC Transit is planning to jump start service delivery in the area and re-institute fares.

Join Chamber CEO Catherine Holt and Erinn Pinkerton, CEO of BC Transit, as they talk about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected ridership in the region and what the plans are to restore consumer confidence as we ease restrictions in the province.
Submit your questions to by noon on Monday, June 1.
What’s Ahead for the Arts Sector
With concerts and gatherings over 50 restricted for the foreseeable future — people in the arts and entertainment industry have seen their livelihood disappear overnight.

Join Chamber CEO Catherine Holt and Kathryn Laurin, CEO of the Victoria Symphony,  as they talk about how organizations and businesses in the arts industry will recover in the face of the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
Submit your questions for Kathryn to by noon on Tuesday, June 2.
Over 200 Jobs posted to Chamber Job Board to date
Our expanded Job Board has posted more than 200 jobs since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis.

When we heard from members in need of staff to provide essential services, we repurposed our job board to connect with people in our region looking for employment. We’re working hard to bring people together — after all connections are what we do best.

At this time, employers are able to post at no charge by using the code SUPPORTYYJ.

If you have any difficulty posting, email us and we will get back to you by next business day. All jobs posted to our job board have been vetted by a member of The Chamber team.
Don't let self isolation make you feel alone
The Chamber has a myriad of resources to help you and your business. You can connect with our staff or schedule a virtual coffee with one of our Ambassadors to talk about your business and next steps on our road to recovery.

We're #InItTogetherYYJ even if we can't be together. We look forward to talking with you soon about how we can help.
Let us know about updates to your hours or services
We've created a webpage to help your customers keep track of updated hours and services as a result of COVID-19. If your changes are not yet listed, email to have your information added.