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, 2021, 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. “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.”
I know it’s been a tough year for everyone, and we’re all trying our best, but we aren’t through it yet.— Ravi Kahlon (@KahlonRav) April 8, 2021
We all have a role to play to support our local businesses & part of that is to #BuyLocal & #BuyBC, but most importantly bend the curve pic.twitter.com/kFkjpfkKuD
We’re seeing case numbers rise in BC, and Dr. Henry has brought in new measures as a circuit breaker to try & get us back on track 😷— Ravi Kahlon (@KahlonRav) April 8, 2021
We need to work together to get through these challenging and difficult times. pic.twitter.com/uebth6JrCN
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. Kahlon says businesses that refuse to follow the provincial health orders or had their business licences pulled are not eligible for the funding.
The Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant is open to eligible businesses of any size that have been in operation since Feb. 1, 2021. 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.”
Bridgitte Anderson, president of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, said many businesses "were shaken by the sudden order to close or stop in-person services."
In a statement, she said the additional support is welcome.
"Moving forward, should the B.C. government consider additional measures or new restrictions, we encourage them to work closely with the business community and ensure clear criteria are established so businesses have the opportunity to plan ahead and understand how they will be impacted."
Applications for the Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant are expected to open the week of April 12, 2021.