B.C. doubling relief funding for eligible businesses still closed due to COVID-19

·2 min read
The Roxy nightclub in Vancouver, pictured on June 16, 2021. Bars, nightclubs and lounges that do not serve full meals have been ordered to remain closed until Feb. 16. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)
The Roxy nightclub in Vancouver, pictured on June 16, 2021. Bars, nightclubs and lounges that do not serve full meals have been ordered to remain closed until Feb. 16. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)

If you own a business in B.C. and found out this week you cannot reopen yet due to COVID-19, you could be eligible to receive up to $20,000 from the provincial government.

In a release Wednesday, the province announced it is extending the COVID-19 Closure Relief Grant and doubling financial supports for eligible businesses that were ordered on Tuesday to remain closed until Feb. 16.

These businesses include bars, nightclubs and lounges that do not serve full meals, as well as event venues that had to close because of cancellations.

"We are still in a pandemic, as much as we would like to be over it," said Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry during a news conference Tuesday.

Henry said the decision to keep these venues shut is based on the current rate of transmission and hospitalizations, which have been at their highest point since the pandemic began due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

To help keep these businesses afloat, owners are now eligible for up to $20,000 in total funding, based on staffing levels at the time of closure.

A business with no employees can receive $2,000, a business with between five and 99 employees can receive up to $10,000 and those with 100 or more people on staff can receive $20,000.

Ben Nelms/CBC
Ben Nelms/CBC

Also Tuesday, Henry announced that gyms and fitness centres across B.C. will be allowed to start gradually reopening as of Jan. 20 after being ordered to close on Dec. 22, 2021. These businesses will receive the original four-week temporary-closure grant of up to $10,000.

"While we are encouraged to see that many fitness activities will now be able to take place in a safe, controlled environment, we know there are still sectors directly impacted by these public health measures," said Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation, Ravi Kahlon, in a statement.

"Together, we can move closer to putting this pandemic behind us."

Businesses that have applied for a COVID-19 Closure Relief Grant do not need to reapply. To apply for a grant, click here. Applications will be accepted until Feb. 28.

In December, the grant was estimated to cost the province $10 million. The new extension adds $4 million to the price tag.

On Jan. 7, Henry also ordered all B.C. businesses to reactivate their COVID-19 safety plans to help keep employees and communities safe during the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

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