VANCOUVER — Last week, the B.C. government announced a $50-million relief package for B.C. restaurants, bars, gyms and other businesses hit hard by the March 30 tightening of COVID-19 provincial health orders.
The Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant provides fully funded grants — ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 — to hospitality and fitness businesses impacted by the March 30, 2021 Provincial Health Officer (PHO) orders to help with expenses such as rent, insurance and employee wages. It can also be used to cover unexpected losses that resulted from the sudden shutdown, such as the spoiling of food.
“The latest circuit breaker has been particularly hard on small business. I can’t imagine the stress and pressure businesses are feeling today,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation in a statement, adding businesses not in compliance with the new health orders are not eligible for the program.
All hospitality and fitness businesses that partially or fully closed to comply with the March 30, 2021 PHO orders are eligible. Examples include:
• Hospitality businesses
• Restaurants, pubs and bars
• Coffee shops, cafes and cafeterias
• Lounges and nightclubs
• Breweries, wineries and tasting rooms
• Fitness businesses
• Pilates and yoga (Hatha) studios
• Barre studios
• Gyms offering indoor low intensity group exercise classes
To qualify, a business must have been in operation as of Feb. 1, 2021. The grants are fully funded and do not have to be paid back. The grant amount is based on number of employees.