C-19 BULLETIN - May 26, 2021

Excerpts Related to Travel from Yesterday's
News Conference on BC's Restart Plan

Reporter: Dr Henry, can you tell British Columbians when and what they can expect to need a vaccine a passport for and what it is not likely to be required for. We've heard international travel, but we've also heard suggestions of domestic travel or going into stores in British Columbia. Do you have a clear sense of when it's likely to be required and when it's not likely to be required?

Dr. Henry: This is something that obviously I have been paying a lot of attention to. This virus has shown us that there are inequities in our society that have been exacerbated by this pandemic, and there is no way that we will recommend inequities be increased by use of things like vaccine passports for services, for public access here in British Columbia. That's my advice and I've got support from the Premier. I do think it will be something that will be necessary to support international travel, and that is something we're working with our colleagues and the public health agency and at the federal level to make sure that Canadians have access to travel in the same way that other countries do as well, but it would not be my advice that we have any sort of vaccine passport within British Columbia for services in BC.

Premier Horgan: With respect to the question about the pace with which we'll move with the restart plan. I want to put some context on where we are here in British Columbia. We just passed the May long weekend, we're days away from June, weeks away from July, and there have been some in the community who have said we need to know right now where we are going and how we're going to get there. And then there's a whole bunch of other people, the overwhelming majority who've been saying how can we safely continue to hang together, as Minister Dix said, as Dr Henry has said for months and months, and we've put together this plan across government on the advice of public health, on the advice of the Minister of Health in terms of capacity in our health care, our acute care system, and we're confident that we're in a positive place to put in these steps forward in a measured way based on data.

And I just want to reinforce that for British Columbians. There are going to be a lot of people who are anxious. I would suspect that there are people who are concerned that we may go to fast. We've tried to balance throughout this ordeal, how can we best represent people's needs at a government level, within the economy, within our health care system, and we are very confident that we have waited to the appropriate time to lay out a four-step plan to get us back to where we all want to be.

I'm very confident that if there is anything we've learned from COVID-19, it's to expect the unexpected. Dr Henry and her team are watching every minute of every day, international events, events here in British Columbia, to make sure we're as advised as we possibly can be about the risks. And then it falls to us as government to weigh those risks, to engage with the public. Minister Kahlon's industry engagement team. There's some 70 different organizations from business to labour, community groups, not for profit, Indigenous groups who come together every week or two to hash these things out, to make sure that we're going in a measured way so that we can have a positive outcome.

Going forward and then slamming back again is not what we want to do. We have seen that in other jurisdictions. We're confident that Dr Henry has given us the map. Vaccinations, as Minister Dix has said, are the key to our success. If you haven't registered, go do so today.

Reporter: I'm just wondering what this means for enforcement. Can we still expect to see road checks, travel checks happening on highways? Will BC Ferries still be asking passengers if their travel is for essential reasons. Are we still going to see police handing out fines for people who are having parties in the next little while? How long would that continue?

Premier Horgan: The travel restrictions within regions remain in place. What we have lifted is the advice, which Minister Dix, Dr Henry and I have been saying repeatedly. Stay close to home. Now you need to stay within your region. If you live on Vancouver Island, Vancouver Island is your region. If you live in the North or the Interior, virtually all of BC is available to you to travel within, Again, using common sense, checking before you go, where you're arriving and whether you'll be welcomed and if there's space for you and all of those issues, which people have to do in a pandemic or outside of a pandemic.

In terms of enforcement, the travel restrictions are in place. It's our expectation -- and Minister Farnworth will be talking about this in more depth throughout the week -- that enforcement will remain in place. With respect to gatherings, we have relieved the restrictions on gatherings, but not letting it all rip. If we find that there are parties of 50-or-more that are taking place before we get to the next step, you can expect law enforcement will be there to give you a bit of a present to start on your second step.

Reporter: The province was hesitant to restrict travel within BC up until last month. The ban on indoor dining expired at midnight, as per the circuit breaker, but non-essential regional travel still isn't allowed. Why is that? Is it that much riskier?

Dr. Henry: There are differences in transmission rates in different communities around the province. We know that the focus has been in the Lower Mainland, so that is one of the areas where we can have increased travel within those boundaries, but it is a very effective measure of stopping transmission and introductions into communities when we're not yet at that point where enough people are immunized, where our case levels are low enough. That was the rationale around that. We know that indoor dining can happen when we're at certain levels. We know that people who work in the restaurant and food businesses have been able to be immunized and I know a lot of people have been immunized, so we have that extra layer of protection now with case rates coming down. That's with the safety plans that are in place. The travelling is another step where we know it can bring the virus into a community. We're not there yet.

Reporter: What is the biggest impediment to these plans, this four-stage plan, hitting all these stages on the dates that are the optimistic dates. What's the biggest impediment to that happening?

Premier Horgan: As I said at the beginning, and Dr Henry reinforced, it's not just dates. It's dates and data. We have been following the numbers and regularly tuning in to hear Minister Dix and Dr Henry lay out the state of play on a daily basis and then on a bi-weekly basis. What we need to do, as we've said and will continue to say, we need people to get registered and get vaccinated. The biggest route to success, or the fastest route to success, is increasing our numbers of people vaccinated with both doses and quickly as we can do that. That's the plan. With respect to the elements of moving forward step-by-step, again we're going to be monitoring activity in the marketplace, what's happening in businesses, what's happening in communities. 
I don't think we're looking for impediments, quite the opposite. We're looking for ways to reduce impediments. That starts with vaccinations and, really, quite frankly, ends with vaccinations and the good sense of BCers who have got us to this position within Canada, where we have had some of the best outcomes over the past 15 months with wave two, wave three. And now as we see the opening up plans being offered by provinces across the country, I'm confident our plan will take us to where we need to get to, provided everyone was onboard. I know BCers want to work together as we have for the last 15 months.
STEP 1: Starting May 25th
The criteria for Step 1 is at least 60% of the 18+ population vaccinated with dose 1, along with stable case counts and COVID-19 hospitalizations. 

PHO guidance
  • Physical distancing and masks continue to be required in public indoor settings
  • If you or anyone in your family feels sick stay home and get tested immediately

For more information on BC's Restart Plan, please click here.
STEP 2: Earliest start date June 15
The criteria for moving to Step 2 is at least 65% of the 18+ population vaccinated with dose 1, along with declining case counts and COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Bookmark the British Columbia COVID-19 Dashboard and watch BC's progress.
Tourism Week in the Media
As of May 25, #TourismWeek is trending in Canada! We've seen tons of support from Canadians across the country, including MP Melanie Joly & MP Blake Richards, and have received news coverage from CTVGlobal NewsBusiness Examiner, among many others.

Here are just some of the many Canadian landmarks & cities that lit up Tourism Week 'Glowing Green' in support:

#BCTourismCounts: Tourism Week 2021

Tourism Week is a seven-day coast to coast to coast event to recognize Canada’s tourism economy, and the impact it has on every community across the country, including those right here in BC. This year, to recognize and support the resilience of BC’s tourism industry through this unprecedented time, Destination BC is joining TIAC’s pledge, but with a BC focus, and asking all British Columbians to take the 2021 Tourism Pledge To Travel In BC, once restrictions are lifted.

Download the “I Pledge to Travel in BC” badge and make it your profile picture on social media, use it in your email signature, and help spread the word that #BCTourismCounts!

Tourism makes significant contributions to our economy, and it enriches our lives. Tourism supports a greater diversity of amenities, such as museums and galleries, festival and sports events, transportation, dining and wine touring, parks and recreational facilities, and many other benefits that make life so good here in BC. When people stop travelling, the benefits of tourism stop, too. Most tourism businesses buy goods locally, hire locally, and retain their profits locally.

Download the Destination BC 2019 Value of Tourism infographics, to share on your channels, to demonstrate just how valuable our industry is to our cultural, social and economic wellbeing.

Add the #BCTourismCounts and #WeAreTourism hashtags to your images and channels

TIABC Responds to BC's Restart Plan

Return to offices up next in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan
The province’s four-step COVID-19 restart plan outlines a return to near-normal conditions by this fall, depending on vaccination rates continuing to rise and coronavirus infections continuing to fall. The plan restores confidence for tourism and hospitality businesses that have seen setbacks and business closures, said Walt Judas, CEO of the Tourism Association of BC.
Read more here

'Light at the end of the tunnel' B.C.'s tourism industry appreciates restart roadmap
Walt Judas with the Tourism Industry Association of BC adds this timeline allows them to plan — barring any unforeseen circumstances. “I think by now, we had all hoped that we would be fully operational and that travel would be taking place throughout the province, not only within British Columbia, but people coming from other parts of Canada and internationally. We’ve been delayed on that front, for obvious reasons for several months. So it’s not necessarily unexpected, at least … [a restart plan] can’t happen soon enough.”
Read more here

Regional travel ban renewed in B.C.; restrictions expected to lift in coming weeks
Walt Judas, CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of BC said the restart plan is “the most positive news we’ve heard on behalf of the industry in a long, long time.” “It gives us predictability that businesses need to allow them to plan for the summer and the rest of the year,” he said. This includes things like how much supplies to purchase, and how many staff to hire.
Read more here

Tourism industry remains optimistic, despite ongoing travel restrictions
Though it's tough to plan ahead right now, as dates for lifting restrictions may be moved back if case counts and hospitalizations surge, Tourism Industry Association of B.C. chair Vivek Sharma advises people to start planning summer trips within B.C., and to make reservations so that businesses can plan accordingly and hope for the best over the summer. 
Read more here

BC set to lay out restart road map as COVID-19 cases slow, vaccinations increase
Walt Judas, BC's Tourism Industry Association chief executive officer, says the non-essential travel restrictions were deeply felt by tourism operators who saw fishing, golfing and weekend getaway ventures dry up.
Read more here

TIABC Chair, Vivek Sharma was interviewed by CTV National News regarding the impact of the pandemic on business.
View clip here

Walt Judas was interviewed by City News yesterday regarding the latest extension of travel restrictions.
View City News story here

Walt Judas was interviewed by CTV News yesterday regarding the latest travel restrictions, the labour needed to restart businesses, and the on-going wait for news about international visitation.
View CTV story here

Some Tourism Businesses Struggling
with Another 3 Weeks of Restrictions

Excerpts from a letter Mica Mountain Lodge
sent to Province

Could someone answer the question why it is ok for 50 people to gather or for six to sit on a table for dinner, yet as a vaccinated owner of three single standing cabins I can not welcome vaccinated guests/couples only?

Why is there no acceptable limit of persons set that an accommodation can rent to when hosts and guests are vaccinated at this point of time? Our three cabins are 30-50 metres apart, rented only to a couple each. Many accommodations and situations are very similar to ours.

Why are we shut down if we can operate safely with vaccinated owners and vaccinated guests? In the meantime the pipeline workers are staying with eight people in one tight place on the other side of my place. I feel this regulation is not fair and extremely reckless towards accommodations that have very responsibly survived so far.

At the end of the day we cannot be assured what happens next. It is all based on some wobbly numbers. More parties on the beaches of Vancouver and it will take longer. So no guarantee for inter provincial travel by the 15th or all open on the 1st. They can easily extend it again and again. I have lost all trust in what may happen next. We need vaccinated Albertan's to make it through these last weeks or month!

These weeks will be a minimum loss of $28,000 for us, again. There is no way to make up for it.
Supporting Indigenous Tourism Businesses
Through Recovery

Throughout the province, 140 Indigenous tourism businesses have received grants to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.

“Indigenous tourism was the fastest growing segment of B.C.’s tourism industry before the pandemic, and we’re determined to maintain this momentum,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “These grants are demonstrating reconciliation in action by ensuring people working in Indigenous tourism can continue inviting visitors for years to come.”

The Province provided $5 million through the BC Indigenous Tourism Recovery Fund to support Indigenous tourism businesses. Indigenous tourism businesses include lodges and resorts, outdoor adventure experiences, galleries and gift shops owned by Indigenous people. The fund is a partnership with Indigenous Tourism BC. It responded to a call to action from the Tourism Task Force.

Businesses received up to $45,000 to navigate the ongoing economic impacts of the provincial restrictions. Indigenous tourism businesses are using the grant to keep their lights on and pay for things like rent, utility bills, installing health and safety measures, and shifting services online. The grants assisted businesses with maintaining or creating nearly 1,200 jobs in communities throughout B.C.

“Indigenous tourism businesses have shown so much strength and resilience throughout this pandemic,” said Brenda Baptiste, chair, Indigenous Tourism BC. “These grants give them the confidence to keep going and empower operators to adapt their businesses to meet the challenges. I’m thankful to the Province for this important partnership.”

For example, Talaysay Tours in Vancouver used its grant to create a virtual tour that guides people remotely through Stanley Park. The interactive tour highlights how the local trees and plants of the Pacific Northwest have been harvested by Indigenous people for food, medicine and technology for thousands of years. 

“This grant was crucial to finding a way through this pandemic,” said Candace Campo, owner-operator, Talaysay Tours. “It’s given us stability to weather this storm and the certainty to know we will get through this. I’ve had to learn new skills to create this virtual tour, and it’s been so rewarding to see people engage remotely.”

The BC Indigenous Tourism Recovery Fund is part of the Province’s actions to support the recovery of the tourism industry.

Learn more here.

The Stand Up For Service campaign is an important part of the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association’s (BCRFA) COVID-19 response.

The BCRFA is incredibly proud of the efforts that restaurant, foodservice and pub staff are making to ensure that restaurants are rising to the occasion in the face of the most challenging time in a century.

It’s tough out there right now. When not all customers know the rules and some don’t like the rules, the burden falls on staff to help get the customers educated and ready to comply with best practices and Public Health Orders. It takes a lot of effort and patience to be on the front line - and we all want to make sure restaurant staff know we are there to support them and encourage them.

Learn more, and nominate someone, here.

Thank You Long-standing TIABC Members!
TIABC recognizes that many of our members have been supporting our organization's advocacy efforts for a very long time. In this new feature, we will be showcasing those businesses, associations, and DMOs that been TIABC members for more than 10 years.
Sonora Resort has a reputation for excellence, deeply rooted in the unique character of our pristine property and in the charm of our passionate hospitality professionals. Sonora is an all-inclusive luxury wilderness resort located in the Discovery Islands, just off the coast of British Columbia. Just a short 50 minute helicopter tour from Vancouver or by boat from Campbell River, Sonora is home to an abundance of wildlife and outdoor adventure tours.

Thank you to entire team at Sonora Resort for your support of TIABC, particularly during this past year.

Moments of Levity

As an industry that continues to face enormous challenges during COVID-19, every once in a while it's important to share a laugh, a good story, a beautiful image, or an interesting anecdote to provide moments of levity during this most difficult time. Feel free to share your photos, etc. with TIABC to be published in our C-19 Bulletin each week.

Thursday, May 27th 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm (PDT)

The Tourism Industry Association of Canada’s (TIAC) 2021 Tourism Town Hall will be in British Columbia on May 27th, in collaboration with TIABC.

Local small and medium businesses owners will have the opportunity to meet with TIAC, Destination Canada and tourism partners to better understand efforts being made on national tourism issues.  

The Town Hall will allow tourism operators to provide first-hand input on issues affecting their business and the tourism industry in this time of COVID and provide feedback on government policy for the recovery and the rebuilding of our sector.

The Town Halls also provide a front-line forum exposure for governments, TIAC, Destination Canada and event sponsors to collaborate with small and medium-sized tourism business operators.

For more information, and to register (free), please visit the event page.
Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery & Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grants

Wednesday June 2nd - 9:30am to 10:30am (PDT)
This webinar presented by TIABC with the Ministry of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation will be an information session for the Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery and Circuit Breaker Business Relief grants.

Learn more about these fully funded grant programs available to eligible businesses in BC, to ensure they have the support they need during and beyond COVID-19.
Hosted by Liz Vickery, Executive Director, Ministry of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. Liz is leading the implementation of the Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery and Circuit Breaker Business Relief grants. Previously

The webinar will be 45 minutes in length with a 15-minute open forum for any questions.

Please submit any questions you have with your registration.
Canadian Media Consumption
Fact vs. Myth

Join us Thursday June 3rd as TIABC welcomes our guests from Rogers Sports & Media. This webinar will take you through a Canadian broadcast overview – the facts and myths on media consumption - and show you where to find Canadian travellers.

10am to 11am (PDT)
15 minutes of Q&A at end of session

Webinar Outline:
  • What are the media habits of the Canadian traveller?  
  • Where do you find them and how do you speak to them?
  • Learn about the latest industry tools including leading edge digital solutions.
  • Also see new research from a fresh Rogers/Angus Reid study on Canadian attitudes and plans toward travel post-pandemic.
  • Informed with the latest facts, trends and insights, participants will be in better position to sharpen their strategies and drive elevated results. This vast product line and insights allows clients to deliver smarter strategic solutions to drive their business.

Brad Kubota - VP Local and Regional Sales Canada – Rogers Sports and Media. Based in Vancouver, Brad has over 30 years of national, regional and local sales experience. He represents a wide range of sports and media assets and tools including TV, radio, digital, out of home and research.

Peter Kambo – Senior Manager Media Insights. Peter’s extensive Vancouver agency experience provides clients with best in class media strategy, planning and buying expertise. While agency side his long list of clients included GM, Bell, BCLC, BC Honda and Destination BC.

Dan Lessons – Western Canada Digital and Out of Home Sales Manager. Dan began his advertising career in publishing in London.  Now based in Vancouver and with Rogers for 10 years, he designs and oversees national, regional and local digital strategies for all levels of marketing nee
Feel free to send us your ideas on what information would be valuable for TIABC to share through our COVID-19 Bulletin going forward. Drop us a line at info@tiabc.ca.