February 12, 2021
Dear ABLE BC Members and Industry Colleagues,
Here’s what you’ll find inside today’s update:
- Update from ABLE BC: operating on Valentine’s Day
- Updated PHO Public Order: Gatherings and Events
- New funding for businesses to launch online
- Applications wanted for Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant
- Holding meetings in the workplace during COVID-19
- BC Tourism and Hospitality Conference: registration open now
- Capilano University: free online program for tourism and hospitality businesses
- Legal update for Canadian employers on February 21: Legislation, travel restriction, and disciplinary action
Find all past updates from ABLE BC here.
Update from ABLE BC: operating on Valentine’s Day
With Valentine’s Day this Sunday, we want to take this opportunity to remind you about the current public health order conditions around hosting gatherings and events:
- All gatherings and events are currently suspended.
- No person may permit a place that is subject to the Food and Liquor Serving Premises Order to be used for an event, including private events, with the exception of: support group meetings; critical service meeting (which cannot be held at the workplace or provided virtually); a meal provided without charge to people in need; a wedding, baptism, funeral, or Jewish divorce court proceeding; a program for children or youth; and occupational training, which cannot be provided virtually.
- An event refers to: “an in-person gathering of people in any place whether private or public, inside or outside, organized or not, on a one-time, regular or irregular basis […] such as […] events; meetings and conferences […] a party […] a live solo or band musical performance […] auction; fund raising benefit; contest; competition […]. The full definition of ‘event’ can be found on page 5 of the public order.
Operating on Valentine’s Day
Similar to Super Bowl Sunday, ensure whatever promotions or specials you may have on Valentine’s Day do not start to look and feel like an event. If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact ABLE BC: email@example.com.
Remember, you must also continue to follow all public health protocols on Valentine’s Day, including:
- Patrons must be able to maintain a distance of two metres from other patrons unless they are separated by physical barriers
- Patrons must be assigned to a table, booth, or counter and shown to their seats. Patrons must stay in the seat to which they are assigned, or at which they seat themselves, and must not move from table to table
- Liquor may only be served to patrons who are seated
- There must be no more than six patrons seated at a table or booth, even if they belong to the same party
- You must determine the maximum number of patrons who can be accommodated safely on your premises and monitor that number
- You must take steps to prevent the congregation of patrons inside and outside your premises
- Background music, including live solo and live band music, and any other background sounds, including from televisions and electronic sound producing devices, must not be amplified and must be no louder than the volume of normal conversation.
For more information, please see the public order.
We are not aware of any additional protocols for Valentine’s Day.
Inspections on Super Bowl Sunday
ABLE BC is proud to say our industry did an excellent job operating safely on Super Bowl Sunday.
We understand there were over 200 inspections of establishments on Super Bowl Sunday. Out of the inspections that took place, only a very small number of establishments had infractions, and the infractions were from minor issues (i.e. patrons mingling and moving tables).
We understand these regulations are frustrating and damaging to your business, but ABLE BC’s ability to advance your interests and effectively work with our government partners depends on industry adhering to public health protocols. Abiding by these protocols helps ensure our industry stays open and avoids new or stricter protocols.
If you need help with your COVID-19 safety plan, we encourage you to use go2HR’s free safety plan review service.
If you have any other questions, please contact ABLE BC: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updated PHO Public Order: Gatherings and Events
An updated version of the public order for Gatherings and Events was released on February 10, 2021.
Key changes in the order (last updated on February 5 and January 8) include:
- Acknowledging concerns of virus variants now present in Canada and the province (page 2, H) and the societal effects of public health protocols and the pandemic (page 2, I)
- New language around constitutionally-protected interests, including the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (page 2, J)
- There have been no changes to Section L, Retail Businesses, but we encourage you to review the protocols on pages 20-21
Download a copy of the order here.
New funding for businesses to launch online
On February 3, the provincial government announced the new Launch Online Grant program: designed to help over 1,500 eligible small and medium-sized BC businesses adapt to changes in consumer behaviour and pivot to market their products online.
The program is based on a first come, first-served basis and will run until March 31, 2021 or until all funds are distributed.
These grants will provide business owners, including those in hard-hit sectors such as retail, tourism and restaurants, with up to $7,500 to build or improve their online store and promote BuyBC at a local, national and international level.
Grant recipients can use the funding for a variety of online-related expenses, including pictures, creating an online inventory system, advertising costs, subscription costs of an e-commerce platform and training staff to manage the website.
As part of the program, successful applicants must use one or more local BC service providers to complete their online store.
Eligibility criteria for businesses include having:
- a goods and services tax number and paying taxes in BC
- generated sales of more than $30,000 in either 2019 or 2020
- one to 149 employees (applications can be submitted by sole proprietors)
- repeatable products, or in the case of artists and jewellers, individual items that have slight differences (e.g., paintings and rings)
Learn more and apply here.
Applications wanted for Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant
The Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant program provides fully funded grants to qualifying businesses to ensure they have the support they need during and beyond COVID-19.
Even if your business does not meet all the criteria, you are encouraged to complete as much of the application as possible and submit it so that it’s in the system and can be actioned by program advisors.
How the program works
Grants of $10,000 to $30,000 are available to small and medium-sized BC businesses impacted by COVID-19. An additional $5,000 to $15,000 grant is available to eligible tourism-related businesses.
The program runs until March 31 or until the funds are fully allocated.
Learn more and apply online.
Holding meetings in the workplace during COVID-19
Can you hold staff meetings right now? Here’s what the regulations say:
According to the PHO public order for Gatherings and Events, an ‘event’ includes ‘meetings.’ However, ‘work activities’ are not included in this order (see number 11). The distinction here is likely that being in the workplace with other people is not considered to be an event, but having an in-person meeting in the workplace is considered an event.
There is an exception in the public order for ‘occupational training,’ which is allowed to happen in-person if it isn’t possible to hold occupational training virtually. In this circumstance, there are many requirements that would need to be satisfied if you were holding occupationally training in-person (see page 11). However, staff meetings would generally be considered more routine workplace meetings, rather than occupational training.
Therefore, at this time, the recommendation is to hold virtual meetings in order to limit opportunities for team members to be together in a confined space. Arrangements for work meetings should be written into your company’s COVID-19 safety plan, always following WorkSafeBC’s hierarchy of controls.
If there wasn’t a specific reference in the provincial health order regarding meetings, the provincial (default) advice would be to refer to WorkSafeBC protocols, which always align with the hierarchy of controls. In the case of meetings, this means that in-person, inside meetings are best avoided, in favour of virtual meetings.
WorkSafe BC says the following: Avoid meetings or gatherings where physical distances cannot be maintained. Consider using larger rooms, moving meetings outside, or having all or some attendees attend virtually.
If you have any other questions, please contact ABLE BC: email@example.com.
BC Tourism and Hospitality Conference: registration open now
Our industry partners at TIABC and the BCHA are excited to announce they are partnering to host the 2021 BC Tourism & Hospitality Conference: March 8 to 12, 2021 online. Registration opens on Friday!
The conference theme is Mission Possible, a reference to the resilience and overall tenacity of our vital sector, as we look to the future of tourism and hospitality beyond the pandemic.
The online event will include two 60-minute presentations each morning and afternoon (total of 4 per day), with the addition of keynote presentations on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Friday will offer a selection of free concurrent workshops for anyone (in addition to delegates) in the tourism and hospitality industry to choose from.
Presentations and workshops will be offered on a wide range of topics from industry leaders, including:
- Doug Stephens, Retail Prophet
- Randy Durband, Global Sustainable Tourism Council CEO
- Don Walsh, Destinations International CEO
Cost: $99 per person or $250 per company for up to 4 people.
Registration opens on Friday. Learn more about the conference.
Capilano University: free online program for tourism and hospitality businesses
The Tourism Business Enhancement Program, designed by Capilano University’s School of Tourism Management, is a free online program created specifically for people working in the tourism, recreation and hospitality sector that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.
The program is an opportunity to review an aspect of their business to create a pivot strategy that can be implemented soon after completion. It is primarily aimed at managers and supervisors, but applications from frontline staff will be considered if they meet certain conditions.
The program runs for five weeks, includes one-on-coaching, a $1,000 reimbursement for childcare and is delivered entirely online.
Program begins March 8. Apply today!
Legal update for Canadian employers on February 21: Legislation, travel restriction, and disciplinary action
Join the Dentons Canada team for part 21 of its Legal Update for Canadian Employers: a one-hour complimentary webinar series on workplace issues relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The webinar takes place Friday, February 26 from 9:00 am to 10:00 am PT. Register here.
This month’s coverage will include the following topics:
- Update on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
- The latest on COVID-19 travel restrictions
- Dealing with employee/client mask refusals and disciplinary action for off-duty conduct
The session will end with Q&A where Dentons will try to answer as many of your questions as possible.