BC Liberals: NDP must extend relief grant as extension of indoor dining ban looms

WITH the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association reporting that the current health order restricting indoor dining will be extended into May, the BC Liberals are calling on the NDP government to immediately extend its Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant and expand support for struggling restaurant owners and their employees.

“Many restaurants have told the NDP loud and clear that their Circuit Breaker grant was nothing more than a band-aid on a gaping wound,” said Todd Stone, BC Liberal Critic for Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “Not only was this money repurposed from the failed Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant program, but the Jobs Minister has also refused to give direct answers regarding the grant, at a time when businesses are on the brink of permanently closing and people are unable to pay their bills. John Horgan needs to immediately extend and expand the grant and provide meaningful support for the restaurant industry.”

The NDP has admitted that the majority of eligible businesses will receive less than $5,000 from the Circuit Breaker grant program — far from what it touted as $10,000 in funding per business — and has yet to commit to providing further assistance.

“The current relief funding is barely enough to cover losses for the perishable food that restaurants bought and couldn’t sell, let alone wages and rent due in May. Most businesses have been following provincial orders in good faith from day one, but what they’ve received in return is total disrespect from the NDP government. The NDP needs to spend less time congratulating themselves, and take real action to help people in need,” said Stone.

In addition to extending and expanding the grant, the BC Liberals said they have been urging the government to speed up application approvals for support, and further expand eligibility within the Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant program, expand support for small businesses by deferring the Employer Health Tax, Provincial Sales Tax and Carbon Tax and stop all tax increases and planned new taxes for 2021.