April 27, 2020

Dear ABLE BC Members and Industry Colleagues, 

Thank you to everyone who joined us at our first ABLE BC Virtual Happy Hours this week! It was great to see your faces, share a drink, and hear directly from you how you’re managing the crisis. Stay tuned for additional happy hour dates in the coming weeks.

We’re also coming at you with some good news: on April 23, BDL reopened their BC Order Board and Online Web Ordering System. The LDB is also resuming limited selection bottle pick service. More details can be found below.

A reminder, we’ll be taking the weekend off from updates. Our next COVID-19 update will be sent out on Monday. As always, you can also reach us by email if you have any questions or concerns: jeff@ablebc.ca or danielle@ablebc.ca.

Included in today’s email you will find: 

  • Reopening of hospitality businesses
  • 5 minute ABLE BC survey: impact of COVID-19 on your liquor business
  • Canada to lower rent by 75% for small businesses
  • Applications for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy open next week
  • Applications for BC Emergency Benefit for Workers open May 1
  • LDB Update: Limited Selection Bottle Pick Service Resumes
  • BDL Update: BC Order Board and Online Web Ordering System Reopened
  • Labatt: Consumer Trend Insights
  • ABLE BC Member Woody’s Pub pays tribute to frontline workers

Find all past updates from ABLE BC here.

Reopening of hospitality businesses

Earlier this week, BC’s Public Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry asked the hospitality industry for ideas of how we might re-open and resume dine-in options. 

ABLE BC is currently working in partnership with the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association (BCRFA), BC Craft Brewers Guild, a large group of BC’s best hospitality operators, and others to develop a timeline and best practices for a phased reopening of liquor primaries, food primaries, tasting rooms, etc. Our goal is to produce suggested protocols that fully respect health directives while accounting for your business needs. 

While we have no clarity on when our industry will be allowed to resume dine-in service (that decision rests ultimately with the Public Health Officer), we hope our recommendations will demonstrate to government that our industry will be well prepared to operate in this new environment. 

We expect to complete our report and recommendations in the next week or so and will share it with members as soon as it’s available.

In the meantime, if you have suggestions please feel free to send them directly to jeff@ablebc.ca.

5 minute ABLE BC survey: impact of COVID-19 on your liquor business

In response to the global COVID-19 crisis, the BC government and federal government have implemented new policy changes and announced economic programs to support businesses. ABLE BC wants to know how these policies and programs are impacting your liquor business.

We have received over 110 responses! Thank you to everyone who has already completed the survey. If you haven’t yet done so, please take 5 minutes to complete our COVID-19 survey

Your feedback plays an essential role in informing our government relations and advocacy efforts.

If you have any questions or concerns about this survey, please contact ABLE BC: info@ablebc.ca

Canada to lower rent by 75% for small businesses

Today, Prime Minister Trudeau announced the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program, a rent relief program to help businesses who are struggling to pay their landlords due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The federal government has reached an agreement with provinces and territories to lower rent by 75% for small and medium sized businesses. This will be applied for April, May, and June. 

Launching in mid-May 2020, the CECRA will see BC small businesses receive a total of over $300 million in federal-provincial relief, with BC contributing an estimated $80 million.

The 75% reduction in monthly rent for small businesses affected by COVID-19 will be achieved by providing forgivable loans to cover 50% of the rent payments for eligible small business tenants for April, May and June.

The loans will be forgiven if the landlord reduces the tenant’s monthly rent by at least 75%. The commercial tenant would be responsible for covering 25%, the property owner 25%, while the federal and provincial governments share the remaining 50%.

Eligibility: Businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and have temporarily closed or suffered a 70% drop in pre-coronavirus revenues, as well as non-profit organizations, will be eligible for the assistance program.

For larger businesses that need rent support, Trudeau said he will be announcing further information soon.

We will share application details and additional information when it becomes available.

Helpful Links

Applications for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Open on Monday

Applications for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy applications open on Monday, April 27.

New subsidy calculator: the federal government has launched a calculator on the Canada Revenue Agency website to help businesses calculate what they are covered for through the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.

CEWS Key Points

  • As a Canadian employer whose business has been affected by COVID-19, you may be eligible for a subsidy of 75% of employee wages for up to 12 weeks, retroactive from March 15, 2020, to June 6, 2020.
  • The subsidy is intended to help you re-hire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19, help prevent further job losses, and better position you to resume normal operations following the crisis.
  • The subsidy amount is based on the number and type of eligible employees you have, and the amount and type of pay they received before and during the crisis.
  • The maximum benefit is $847 per employee each week.
  • There is no limit on the total subsidy amount that an eligible employer may claim, according to the government.

Visit the Government of Canada website for more information and:

  • Determine your eligibility for the CEWS
  • Determine which employees are eligible for the CEWS
  • Calculate your subsidy amount 
  • Learn how to apply

For an overview of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan click here.

For a comprehensive summary of supports for Canadian businesses, including provincial and federal economic programs, where and how to apply for them, click here.

Applications for BC Emergency Benefit for Workers Open May 1

Applications for the $1,000 BC Emergency Benefit for Workers open on May 1, 2020. 

The BCEBW is a one-time, tax-free $1,000 payment for British Columbians whose ability to work has been affected as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most people who are eligible for the federal Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) are also eligible for the BCEBW, including those who have run out of EI benefits and subsequently qualify for the CERB.

To be eligible for the BCEBW, people must:

  • have been a resident of British Columbia on March 15, 2020;
  • meet the eligibility requirements for the CERB;
  • have been approved for the CERB, even if they have not received a benefit yet;
  • be at least 15 years old on the date of application;
  • have filed, or agree to file, a 2019 B.C. income tax return; and
  • not be receiving provincial income assistance or disability assistance.

Starting May 1, applications can be made online, at any time, and a link to the application portal will be available here.

Also starting May 1, people can call 778-309-4630 or toll-free within B.C. at 1 855 955-3545, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (PT) for general support or questions. Applications over the phone will begin on May 4.

Payments will start to go out within days of application. While there may be minor delays during the initial surge, government staff will be working to quickly process payments.

The benefit is part of the Province’s $5-billion COVID-19 Action Plan.

LDB Update: Limited Selection Bottle Pick Service Resumes

We are pleased to share with you that LDB Wholesale Operations is resuming bottle pick service for a limited selection of top selling items. Bottle pick service resumed as of April 23, 2020.

LDB Wholesale writes: The select products reflect the top-selling SKUs and were chosen in an effort to support liquor retailers and hospitality customers while ensuring orders will be picked, assembled and shipped on time. 

The complete list of available products can be found here. Please note that the 10% bottle pick rule- as applicable to specific customers types, and outlined in the WCC Order Handbook – will continue to apply.

The LDB has also shared with us the following updates: 

BC Liquor Stores continue to operate across the province with reduced hours. You can view store hours here.

Wholesale volumes are a bit flatter this week. Both Distribution Centres are picking and shipping on-time. Both Distribution Centres also continue to function with lower than optimal staffing levels, though we are seeing this starting to trend-up slightly.

BDL Update: BC Order Board and Online Web Ordering System Reopened

BDL has shared with us the following update from April 23 on their system restart:

The entire BDL Team wishes to sincerely thank you for your continued support and patience during what is proving to be a difficult time for all of us. We understand how the cyber-attack that disabled our online systems, has impacted your operations. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.

Early Thursday, April 23, 2020, BDL will be in the position to reopen the BC Order Board and Online Web Ordering System. To be ready for our system coming back online, the last manual order taken by the Labatt and Molson sales representatives will be Wednesday April 22, 2020.

Starting April 23, 2020 at 8 a.m. PST, you can start placing orders online, as you would have normally done prior to our systems outage.  As a reminder, the 48-hour order and payment lead time will be in effect with the BC Order Board reopening. As well, previously established deliver frequency and delivery days will be applied going forward.

All orders received Monday to Wednesday this week will be processed Thursday and Friday this week. 

We are processing the back-log orders and generating invoices for orders taken up to Wednesday, April 22, 2020 that you will receive by way of mail the week of April 27, 2020. 

Auto debit customers will be relieved of funds April 27, 2020. Customers can continue to make online bill payments and email their payment confirmation to arwest@thebeerstore.ca. Direct any inquiries to our Accounts Receivable Dept at 1-866-352-6088.

Once again, we apologize for any inconvenience this has caused and thank you for your patience and understanding. 

If you have any questions or concerns, or require product replenishment on an urgent basis, please call our contact center at 1-800-661-2337 or email bdl@bdl.ca.

Thank you,
Brewers Distributor Ltd. Team

Labatt: Consumer Trend Insights

Thank you to our industry partner Labatt for sharing the following update on new insights on consumer behaviour: 

The last few weeks have seen our world changing at a rapid rate, and the situation continues to evolve. Even with the challenges we face, we all want to ensure business continuity for our industry. 

To that end, we have partnered with our Global Insight team to identify some of the key current trends from around the globe, including those from Canada, and we wish to share them with you.

Download the full update from Labatt here.

Highlights of the update include: 

  • Various markets around the world are behaving differently based on disposable income and market maturity. In markets like Canada, we’ve clearly seen a heavy stock-up spike in retail sales, but not every market is reacting in the same way. For example, in France and the UK total alcohol sales in retail are offsetting on-premise closures. We think it is unlikely Canadian markets will follow the same trend, rather we are more likely to behave like the US – a small total decline after a few weeks of big growth. 
  • Consumers are undertaking fewer but higher value trips. Among the Labatt portfolio, bigger packs and trusted brands have seen the fastest growth. The shift to ‘premiumization’ that we saw before the COVID-19 crisis has continued, with imported brands seeing high double-digit growth.
  • E-Commerce has also experienced significant growth with new consumers entering the category. Studies show that this trend will continue even after the crisis. 

Download the full update from Labatt here.

ABLE BC Member Woody’s Pub pays tribute to frontline workers

Earlier this week, long-time ABLE BC Member Gordy Cartwright (owner of Woody’s Pub) paid tribute to frontline workers by flying a banner over the Royal Columbian Hospitality thanking them.

Watch the video here

“We bang the drums every night and I thought ‘how am I going to do this in a different way?'” said Cartwright. The plane few from RCH to Peace Arch Hospital, where it was watched by dozens of health care workers. 

With all the negative news dominating headlines, we tip our hat to Gordy on a creative and positive way to thank our frontline works for their tireless commitment during this crisis.

For more information:

Public Health Agency of Canada Website

Updates from the Government of British Columbia

Updates and Resources from ABLE BC

Human Resources & Occupational Health & Safety Info from go2HR

If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact ABLE BC:
604-688-5560 or info@ablebc.ca.

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