B.C. Tourism Minister Melanie Mark takes questions in the B.C. legislature about months of delays to aid for tourism industry devastated by COVID-19 restrictions, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)

B.C. Tourism Minister Melanie Mark takes questions in the B.C. legislature about months of delays to aid for tourism industry devastated by COVID-19 restrictions, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)

B.C. diverts more COVID-19 small business relief to tourism

An extra $50 million shifted to attractions hit by travel bans

B.C.’s long-awaited COVID-19 fund for tourism and other small businesses has been restructured for the second time in December, with an extra $50 million shifted from the $300 million fund dedicated to tourism operators only.

Tourism Minister Melanie Mark confirmed Tuesday the additional money is to act on the key recommendations of the tourism task force set up last summer, which called for additional ‘bridge’ financing.

The $300 million small business aid fund is expected to be taken up quickly, after Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon announced an easing of requirements. It is now available to businesses operating for at least 18 months, rather than three years, and businesses need only to show that they have lost at least 30 per cent of revenue in the month they apply.

Mark said the changes respond to the first three recommendations from the tourism industry task force, chaired by Vancouver International Airport CEO Tamara Vrooman.

“The task force recommended that we take the $50 million that we had given them when the task force was initiated, set aside that plus $50 million from the small and medium business grant program, and dedicate it solely to tourism,” Mark said.

RELATED: B.C. eases rules for COVID-19 small business aid

RELATED: Election didn’t slow business help, Horgan says

“We are all struggling, like almost all small businesses are right now, and this grant might make the difference to many of us whether or not we make it through this pandemic,” said Mike Willie, owner-operator of Sea Wolf Adventures, a wildlife-watching business at Port McNeill on northern Vancouver Island.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsCoronavirus

Just Posted

Comox Valley medical clinics are all open, including the availability to book face-to-face care (i.e. for a physical examination) as per your clinic’s protocol (most clinics operate a “virtual care first” policy). ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
Northern Health launches virtual primary care clinic

Northerners without a family physician or nurse practitioner will now have access to primary care

Demonstrators lined Hwy 16 May 5 to mark the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. (Deb Meissner photo)
VIDEO: Smithers gathering marks Red Dress Day honouring missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls

Approximately 70 people lined Hwy 16, drumming, singing and holding up placards

“Skeena,” by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow is one of five fonts in the running to become the default for Microsoft systems and Office programs. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Font named after Skeena River could become the next Microsoft default

One of the five new fonts will replace Calibri, which has been Microsoft’s default since 2007

The road to Telegraph Creek (Hwy 51) was closed April 15 due to a washout. On May 4, the road was opened to light-duty passenger vehicles during specific times. (BC Transportation and Infrastructure/Facebook)
Telegraph Creek Road opens for light-duty vehicles

Road has been closed since April 15 due to a washout

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking on a remote forest road in Naramata on May 10. (Submitted)
Kamloops brothers identified as pair found dead near Penticton

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking

Municipal governments around B.C. have emergency authority to conduct meetings online, use mail voting and spend reserve funds on operation expenses. (Penticton Western News)
Online council meetings, mail-in voting option to be extended in B.C.

Proposed law makes municipal COVID-19 exceptions permanent

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
British Columbians aged 20+ can book for vaccine Saturday, those 18+ on Sunday

‘We are also actively working to to incorporate the ages 12 to 17 into our immunization program’

The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)
2nd person in B.C. diagnosed with rare blood clotting after AstraZeneca vaccine

The man, in his 40s, is currently receiving care at a hospital in the Fraser Health region

Signage for ICBC, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, is shown in Victoria, B.C., on February 6, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
$150 refunds issued to eligible customers following ICBC’s switch to ‘enhanced care’

Savings amassed from the insurance policy change will lead to one-time rebates for close to 4 million customers

Police investigate a fatal 2011 shooting in a strip mall across from Central City Shopping Centre, which was deemed a gang hit. The Mayor’s Gang Task Force zeroed in on ways to reduce gang involvement and activity. (File photo)
COVID-19 could be a cause in public nature of B.C. gang violence: expert

Martin Bouchard says the pandemic has changed people’s routines and they aren’t getting out of their homes often, which could play a role in the brazen nature of shootings

Tinder, an online dating application that allows users to anonymously swipe to like or dislike other’s profiles. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. man granted paternity test to see if Tinder match-up led to a ‘beautiful baby’

The plaintiff is seeking contact with the married woman’s infant who he believes is his child

Most Read