July 23, 2020
Dear ABLE BC Members and Industry Colleagues,
Here’s what you’ll find inside today’s update:
- Enhanced restrictions for hospitality industry
- ABLE BC in the news
- BC State of Emergency Extended
- Industry recommendation: masks or PPE for front of house staff
- Business community voices concerns about Workers Compensation Amendment Act
- BC Chamber of Commerce: Pulse 4 Survey Results
- Canada United offers up to 5K in small business grants
- TikTok Challenge: teens dressing in COVID-19 masks to buy alcohol
Find all past COVID-19 updates here.
Enhanced restrictions for hospitality industry
During a press conference on Monday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said enhanced restrictions will be coming for BC’s hospitality industry, in light of the recent spike in COVID-19 cases and concerns about the spread of COVID-19 in bars, pubs, and restaurants.
In a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Henry confirmed the public order is being amended.
We have been working with the PHO and her team on these protocols; they have also been consulting with industry.
The updated public order has not yet been released. ABLE BC will send out an urgent update with the public order, as soon as it becomes available.
However, during yesterday’s press conference, Dr. Henry stated that when it comes to liquor and food primaries, all patrons must now be seated at a designated seat, there will be no liquor self-service, no dance floors, and measures need to be in place to reduce lineups, gatherings, and pressure points.
Dr. Henry also emphasized that groups at restaurants must be limited to six, and patrons must not push tables together or engage in behaviour that puts staff at risk.
We expect the updated public order to be available this week and will let you know as soon as it is.
UPDATE: a revised public order was released later in the day on July 23. Read more here.
ABLE BC in the news
ABLE BC’s Executive Director Jeff Guignard and our members have recently been in the news, speaking about the protocols establishments have in place to protect patrons and staff, and the need for patrons to cooperate with new regulations:
Journal Pioneer: BC bar and club owners call for co-operation in distancing as pandemic cases rise
CTV News: Vancouver bar and club owners pleading with patrons to follow COVID rules
CTV News: BC imposing tougher rules on bars, nightclubs as COVID-19 caseload grows
BC State of Emergency Extended
The BC government has formally extended the provincial state of emergency, allowing Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, to continue to use extraordinary powers under the Emergency Program Act to support the Province’s COVID-19 pandemic response.
The state of emergency is extended through the end of the day on August 4, 2020, to allow government to continue to take the necessary actions to keep British Columbians safe.
On July 10, the COVID-19 Related Measures Act came into force. The legislation enables provisions created for people and businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to continue as needed after the provincial state of emergency ends.
Industry recommendation: masks or PPE for front of house staff
Like all of you, we are deeply concerned about the recent increase in COVID-19 cases.
We know and trust that operators are doing everything they can to keep patrons and staff safe. However, ABLE BC and our restaurant partners are now recommending that all members have their front of house staff wear masks or other PPE while serving customers.
ABLE BC associate member BWI Business World sells two varieties of PPE approved PVC Plastic Face Shields.
Small Business BC’s PPE Marketplace also connects businesses with suppliers of non-medical PPE, plexiglass and signage.
Please understand you are still not required to do this, but we are hearing from more and more consumers who expect their servers to be wearing masks.
Let’s work together to flatten the curve and help prevent any further spikes in cases.
Business community voices concerns about Workers Compensation Amendment Act
On July 20, the BC Chamber and 21 other BC business associations sent a letter to the Hon. Harry Bains, outlining the business community’s concerns with Bill 23, Workers’ Compensation Amendment Act, 2020, which was tabled in the legislature on July 14.
As we shared in last week’s update, the BC government recently announced proposed changes to the Workers Compensation Act. The proposed changes “focus on improving supports for injured workers, while also advancing worker safety.”
Employment lawyers at Mathews Dinsdale say: “The primary effect of these amendments will be that employers can expect increased premiums. However, there are other proposals – for example, imposing liability on corporate directors for unpaid premiums – that may have other substantial impacts on employers.”
Mathews Dinsdale summarize the potential increased costs to employers here.
ABLE BC will provide more updates on this issue as it develops.
BC Chamber of Commerce: Pulse 4 Survey Results
The results are now in for the fourth pulse check survey of 1,401 member-businesses of the BC Chamber of Commerce, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, Business Council of British Columbia, and other partners.
This survey is the fourth in a series of pulse checks using the BCMindReader.com platform where businesses are asked about the economic impacts they’ve experienced due to COVID-19, their prospects and outlook, and the usefulness of existing government supports.
While British Columbia has entered phase three of its Restart Plan, two-thirds (65%) of businesses surveyed are using some form of government support. Businesses expect a substantial “second wave” of negative impacts should these programs expire too quickly.
Only about three-in-ten businesses (28%) on government support expect to return to normal once the programs end. Of the remainder, 32% expect to reduce employee hours, 27% expect to lay-off or terminate employees, and 24% anticipate taking on debt. One-in-ten will have to close either temporarily or permanently.
As the BC government works on its $1.5 billion recovery plan, the BC Chamber of Commerce says bold vision will be required to help businesses survive in the short term and the economy to be competitive and resilient in the future. However, businesses are not particularly confident that the recovery plan will help their business succeed or survive. Only 16% are confident, compared to 47% that are not confident.
Read more about the key findings.
Canada United offers up to 5K in small business grants
Canada United is offering small business relief grants of up to $5,000 to help small Canadian businesses with recovery efforts as a result of COVID-19.
The grant funds will grow over the next several weeks as every video watched and social post liked from Canada United will result in a 5¢ contribution from RBC. Funds can be used for PPE, renovations, or e-commerce capabilities.
To determine if you’re eligible to apply for a relief grant or learn more about this program, visit GoCanadaUnited.ca.
TikTok Challenge: teens dressing in COVID-19 masks to buy alcohol
As we shared on Tuesday, a new TikTok Challenge has been spreading throughout the US and the UK: minors are dressing up as elderly people wearing COVID-19 masks to buy alcohol.
The challenge has now been ‘spotted’ in Ontario. Read more about it here and ensure your staff are checking for two pieces of ID.
Download our free PDF sign that asks customers to remove their mask so you can check their ID.
Purchase additional due diligence material, including ID checking signs and buttons in ABLE BC’s online store.