More than $50 million in relief funding for hard-hit businesses

THE B.C. government will provide more than $50 million to help the 14,000 restaurants, bars, breweries, wineries, gyms and fitness centres affected by the March 30 provincial health orders.

“We understand how greatly this group of businesses have been, and continue to be, impacted by the pandemic,” said Premier John Horgan on Thursday. “This grant will provide the funds these businesses need to help them through this extraordinary time. As a community, we have come so far together in this fight against COVID-19. Let’s stay the course and we will get through this together.”

The new Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant will provide affected 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.

“Our commitment to support businesses is unwavering and our work to ensure that they have every opportunity to get past this pandemic will continue,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “We have reason to be hopeful and things will soon get better for all of us in British Columbia. In the meantime, our local businesses need us, and we need them. I encourage communities to BuyBC and shop local wherever you can.”

More than $50 million from the $345-million Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant program has been set aside for businesses through the Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant. The individual amount a business receives will be based on the number of employees.

The Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant is open to eligible businesses of any size that have been in operation since February 1. To ensure affected businesses can access the funds quickly, the Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant has a streamlined application.

“COVID-19 has presented significant challenges for everyone in the restaurant industry,” said Mark von Schellwitz, Restaurants Canada Vice President, Western Canada. “We appreciate that the B.C. government continues to find ways to help the hospitality sector. This new grant will be of great benefit to many restaurants as they continue to adapt and change in response to the pandemic.”

Applications for the Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant are expected to open the week of April 12.

Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, said: “We appreciate the tourism sector’s responsiveness and collaborative efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The sector has been hit hard by this pandemic and we recognize the strain that this public health crisis has put on businesses in every corner of the province. Our government is taking action to support businesses as they make it through these uncertain times. I know that by working together and doing our part, we will once again be able to enjoy their full services with our immediate households and COVID-19 safe bubble.”

Learn More:

For more information on the Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant, including the application process and eligibility, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/business-relief

For more information on the Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant program, including the application process and eligibility, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/economic-recovery/business-recovery-grant

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