B.C. expands relief for businesses affected by COVID-19 restrictions, includes $25M for hotels
Published Monday, April 26, 2021 1:40PM PDT Last Updated Monday, April 26, 2021 1:45PM PDT
VICTORIA -- The British Columbia government is expanding its grant program for businesses hit hard by the latest round of COVID-19 restrictions in the province.
The government announced Monday it would provide an additional $75 million to businesses that were forced to close or curtail their operations since the latest round of public health orders took effect on March 31.
The province says its Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant program will now provide $100 million to approximately 14,000 restaurants, bars, breweries, wineries, gyms and fitness facilities across B.C.
The grants will also provide $25 million to approximately 5,300 hotels, motels and short-term accommodation businesses affected by the travel restrictions, the province announced Friday.
"For many B.C. businesses, the next few weeks will be some of the toughest since the pandemic began," said B.C. Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon in a statement Monday.
"These additional funds will help businesses cover costs like rent and employee wages to help them through this difficult stretch,” Kahlon added. “We hope for better days ahead for B.C. businesses and to be able to have the kind of summer we all want."
Under the program, eligible businesses will receive up to $20,000 to cover expenses like employee wages, rent, maintenance and utilities. The amount each business receives will be based on the number of people it employs.
The ministry says the program has been updated to include high-intensity fitness facilities that were partially or fully closed as a result of the provincial health officer's orders first issued in November and updated on March 31.
"Businesses have been through a lot over the past year, and we want them to know that while they are doing their part to help keep everyone safe, we'll continue to be there for them with financial support to carry them through," said Finance Minister Selina Robinson in the statement.
"With another $75 million in relief grants available and an expanded eligibility criteria to include accommodation providers, this latest round of funding will support businesses through this difficult period,” she added.
Businesses that previously applied for or received the grant when it opened on April 12 do not need to apply again and will automatically receive additional funding, according to the province.
Applications for the program are processed on a first-come, first-served basis until June 4. Applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.