Funding to help with expenses like employee wages, maintenance and utilities
British Columbia is providing more than $50 million through the new Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant to help local businesses that have been affected by the three-week circuit breaker the province announced at the end of March.
In total, 14,000 restaurants, bars, breweries, wineries, gyms and fitness centres of any size that have been in operation since Feb. 1, 2021 will benefit from the program.
The program will provide up to $10,000 in one-time funding to help with expenses like employee wages, maintenance and utilities, rent, and insurance. The grant can also help cover unexpected costs that resulted from the restrictions, such as the purchase of perishable goods. The individual amount a business receives will be based on the number of employees.
“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 funding came from the $345-million Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant.
The application period for the new funding is expected to open the week of April 12, 2021. More details about the program are available here.
“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.”
The new funding provides a welcome relief to businesses, according to numerous stakeholders.
“COVID-19 has presented significant challenges for everyone in the restaurant industry. 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,” said Mark von Schellwitz, Restaurants Canada vice-president, Western Canada.
“The new Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant is welcomed support at a time when B.C. wine growers and producers are working to weather the latest storm caused by the pandemic. This funding combined with the other supports put in place by the B.C. government will help the sector prepare for when we can again be fully open to welcome visitors,” said Miles Prodan, president and CEO, Wine Growers British Columbia.
“B.C. craft brewers appreciate the quick action by government last week to address our concerns and ensure tasting rooms can continue offering safe patio service. We welcome this additional support as our 200-plus members across B.C. navigate the difficult weeks ahead. From patios to growler sales to direct support for small business, every bit helps,” said Ken Beattie, executive director, British Columbia Craft Brewers Guild.
In October 2020, the federal government invested $4.9 million under the Emergency On-Farm Support Fund to help B.C. farmers better protect the health and safety of farm workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.