C-19 BULLETIN - April 12, 2021

CEO Message

For the second time in a few days several tourism and hospitality sector associations, including TIABC, met with Dr. Bonnie Henry to discuss the state of the pandemic and learn more about a provincial restart plan, among other priorities. Today’s meeting was the first with a focussed coalition of tourism sector and DMO leaders who heard Dr. Henry say that we do not have enough people immunized to pull back on current measures. However, along with fighting rising cases and rolling out the vaccination plan, the Province’s priority is to keep society functioning as best as it can by making sure as many workplaces are open as possible.
Dr. Henry was direct, informative, and even apologetic but did not hide from some hard questions or difficult answers that none of us wanted to hear. Some of her key points included:
  • Restaurants and pubs were doing well with health and safety measures but some patrons weren’t willing to abide by the rules. After data showed transmission rates with hospitality rising, the province was forced to act with specific orders including the suspension of in-dining services
  • The Province does not support the idea of vaccination passports to allow for border mobility due to equity issues given that some groups or countries are not on a level playing field vis-à-vis immunization
  • Rapid testing would not be used as a bridge to build herd immunity and allow travel to resume again; rapid testing will be used for other purposes
  • There will be no international travel for some time…perhaps fall at the earliest but even that's not a given
  • By end of June, we should have enough vaccine protection for every BC resident so we can resume some of our normal activities
  • By summer we could be back up to gatherings of 50 people; by fall more than 50
  • By July or August, we should be back up to where we were last summer regarding domestic travel
  • Residents can anticipate a few more weeks of tight restrictions before we start to see a breakthrough
  • Further orders may need to be issued based on increasing transmission rates
BC's top doctor acknowledged the difficulties of the tourism and hospitality sector and that more government support was needed.

Having met with Dr. Henry again, as well as hearing today’s Throne Speech, it is clear that our job is far from over and that TIABC and our sector partners will need to continue to strongly advocate for additional government support to see the BC tourism and hospitality industry through another extremely challenging year.

Walt Judas
Throne Speech Outlines Work to Put Pandemic Behind Us, Plans for Strong Recovery

The 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
Government Ups Wages for Liquor Servers

On June 1st, BC liquor servers will get a pay boost as the lower liquor server minimum wage is replaced with the general minimum wage of $15.20 an hour.

This move delivers on a commitment made in 2018 to bring an end to the alternative liquor server minimum wage in B.C., 80% of whom are women.

June also marks reaching the goal of a $15.20 an hour minimum wage through regular, measured and predictable increases, which was recommended by the Fair Wages Commission in 2018.

Learn more here
Air Canada and Canadian Government Agree on Liquidity Measures to Support Airline

Air Canada announced today that it has entered into a series of debt and equity financing agreements with the Government of Canada, which will allow Air Canada to access up to $5.879 billion in liquidity through the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) program.

The financial package provides for fully repayable loans that Air Canada would only draw down as required, as well as an equity investment. As part of the package, up to approximately $1.4 billion will be available in the form of an unsecured credit facility tranche to support customer refunds of non-refundable tickets. The facility will have a seven-year term and carry an annual interest rate of 1.211%.

Read more here
Creative Industries Week
April 12-16

Creative Industries Week celebrates and recognizes British Columbia’s thriving creative industries, including book and magazine publishing, motion picture production, interactive and digital media, and music and sound recording.

To kick off Creative Industries Week, more than 70 community arts festivals are getting support to hold safe, entertaining activities this year.

“We know how much people look forward to the amazing cultural celebrations and music festivals that normally take place during the upcoming peak season. We’re so grateful many festival organizers have been able to pivot and use their ingenuity to adjust during the pandemic,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “While festivals and cultural celebrations will be shared through different platforms this summer, we’re committed to investing in these events because they’re important for our mental health and sense of community pride.”
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.

Learn more here
In Case You Missed It....

Relief Funding Coming for Hard-hit Businesses

The BC government will provide more than $50 million to support the 14,000+ businesses, including restaurants, bars and pubs across the province affected by last week's public health order that essentially shut down most food and beverage establishments, among other impacts.

This new Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant provides eligible businesses with up to $10,000 in one-time funding to help with expenses like rent, insurance, employee wages, maintenance and utilities. The grant can also help cover unexpected costs that resulted from the restrictions, such as the purchase of perishable goods.

The Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant is open to eligible businesses of any size that have been in operation since February 1st. Applications are expected to open the week of April 12th and will close on June 4th, or until the funds are dispersed. Please note, the individual amount a business receives will be based on the number of employees.

TIABC and our industry partners have been assured that this will be a streamlined application process. Please keep us posted on your experiences (www.tiabc.ca/tell-us-your-story).

It is important to note that the $50 million for the Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant has been set aside from the $345-million Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant program. If you have not done so already, it is critical that you apply for the Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant even if you are not sure that you qualify. Our industry's access to future funding and relief relies on your participation. Note: ABLE BC is hosting a workshop on how to apply for the Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant program (see Webinars & Events listing at the bottom of this Bulletin).

TIABC extends its sincere thanks to Premier Horgan, Minister Kahlon, and Minister Mark, for responding quickly to the needs of the tourism and hospitality sector in view of the latest order. While this funding provides some relief in the short-term, TIABC continues to work with government and its partners to find additional relief for BC's hardest hit sector.

Learn more here
COVID Business 'Pulse Check' Survey

With new COVID restrictions, the BC Chamber of Commerce is launching a COVID-19 Pulse Check Survey to see how your business is impacted and what supports you need in this critical time. 

Your feedback to this survey is essential to inform our understanding of the most pressing impacts you are experiencing and what can be done to support your business.

Responses are confidential and personal information will not be shared.

The survey will take ~6 minutes to complete and will close on April 20th at 5PM.

If you have any questions about the collection of this information, please contact Miranda Campbell at [email protected]


Tourism in the News

Vivek Sharma joined Radio NL this morning to discuss the tourism industry and recent government supports.

Ian Robertson: It’s Time to Discuss a Roadmap to Safely Re-open our Land and Marine Borders for Tourism

Opinion: It is critical that our governments have an industry-backed plan to safely re-open. This will signal that our country remains open to tourism, including cruise visitation, in a post-COVID world.
St. John Ambulance BC & Yukon
Launches Lifesaving Start Me Up Campaign

The goal of Start Me Up BC is to install 1000 publicly accessible automated external defibrillators (AEDs) across the province. The community defibrillator stands can be placed anywhere, whether it’s outside of a workplace, at a beach, park, transit hub, or a tourist hot spot. The stands are kept unlocked to ensure the public can access an AED on a 24/7 basis in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest.

In BC, up to 6,000 people suffer a sudden cardiac arrest each year, with 80% of cases happening outside of a hospital setting. Without any bystander action, chance of survival is only 5%. When a bystander is empowered to use an AED and do CPR, chance of survival increases upwards of 75%.

The charity has already placed four stands in the Lower Mainland: one at Crescent Beach in Surrey, one outside of the St. John Ambulance head office on Cambie Street in Vancouver, and two along the bustling Canada Line, at Brighouse and Bridgeport station.

Outside of housing an AED, every stand also comes with a first aid kit and a naloxone kit to provide even more resources and awareness for a number of emergency situations such as an opioid overdose.


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.
How to Apply for BC's Small & Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant

In a recent ABLE BC survey, they asked you respondents had applied for the BC Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant.

A large number of businesses who were either unaware of the grant or are encountering problems with and have questions about the application process.

ABLE BC, BCRFA, BC Craft Brewers Guild, BC Craft Distillers Guild, Restaurants Canada, and Wine Growers British Columbia are hosting a Recovery Grant info session for the hospitality industry on Tuesday, April 13 at 10:00 am PT.

Register for the free 1-hour session below. A Zoom link will be sent to attendees prior to the session.

We will be joined by Elizabeth Vickery (Executive Director, Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant Program) who will go over the application process and answer your questions about the grant.

If you have any other questions or concerns about the session, please contact Danielle Leroux (ABLE BC's Director of Membership and Communications): [email protected]
What do leaders need to be better at in this climate of change and uncertainty? What do we have control over during uncertainty? Rapid, disruptive change is today’s normal. To cope, leaders need to be agile, resilient and compassionate – some qualities that demonstrate Emotional Intelligence.

Join Angela Pomeroy, Engagement and Leadership Development Consultant, for a FREE 90-minute interactive Workshop on Wednesday, April 14th, to learn more about how to:

  • Adapt positively to pressure, setbacks, challenges and change to achieve and sustain higher levels of personal effectiveness

  • Apply tips and techniques to build personal and team resilience in key areas of development

  • Reflect, reframe and redirect your efforts to feel a greater sense of control and security in times of change and challenge

Learn more here
Notice of Boating BC
Special General Meeting
April 16th 10am (PDT)

Boating BC is updating its Constitution and Bylaws to reflect more contemporary language, best practices and to reflect who Boating BC is today as an association. 

This link to the proposed changes for your review and approval at the upcoming meeting is included. This is a free, members-only event. Please login, select the ticket quantity, then click 'register' for the event here.
Tips for Safely Restarting your Tourism Facility
after Hibernation

April 20th from 9:00am to 10:30am PDT

The Vancouver Tourism Facility Managers Association is pleased to invite you to its first event of 2021 with Jim Mandeville, Senior Project Manager Large Loss North America for First On Site and Jason McGonigle Principal Environmental Health & Safety Group at Golder.
“Our modern structures — especially large ones — are designed to be lived in. And when they’re not being lived in … or are not being used, or used to their full potential, they can get a little bit achy and they could start to have some problems.”

In tourism and hospitality parts of, or entire buildings may have been shut down or put in hibernation.

As we start to look forward to a gradual relaxation of COVID restrictions it is important to consider taking some preventative steps to avoid problems when recommissioning your building.

Jim will present on steps you can take to avoid, leaks, clogged drains and catch basins, building structural issues and stagnant water might require special legionella management.
We will follow up the presentation with a Q&A session with our members offering you the opportunity to do a deeper dive on specific areas of interest.

Registration link:
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 [email protected].