July 28, 2020

Dear ABLE BC Members and Industry Colleagues, 

Here’s what you’ll find inside today’s update:

  • Industry recommendation: all front of house staff should wear masks
  • Recap of last week’s updates
  • New Provincial Health Officer Public Order: clarifications and reminders
  • Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy extended to December
  • WorkSafeBC Safety Committees
  • Federal government tax updates
  • Free Webinar: Navigating the extended Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
  • ABLE BC in the news
  • BC Hospitality Foundation online lottery

Find all past updates from ABLE BC here.

As always, if you have any additional questions or need to reach us you can email: jeff@ablebc.ca or danielle@ablebc.ca.

Industry recommendation: all front of house staff should wear masks

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 and interacting with 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 not required to do this, but we are hearing from more and more consumers who expect their servers to be wearing masks.

It is also vitally important that all operators are adhering to the public health order rules. As you may have seen in the media, the hospitality industry has recently been ‘called out’ for contributing to the spike in cases. 

We understand and hear from many of you that, while you have protocols in place, not all customers follow them. ABLE BC and our industry partners are currently working on a public campaign to help address this issue. Please stay tuned for more details. 

Let’s work together to flatten the curve and help prevent any further spikes in cases.

Recap of last week’s updates

Here’s what you may have missed from ABLE BC last week:

  • Update on July 20: Liquor and food primaries can now purchase liquor at wholesale price
  • Update on July 21:
    • Recap of last week’s updates
    • Liquor and food primaries can now purchase liquor at wholesale price
    • Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy could be extended to December 19, 2020
    • Enhanced restrictions for hospitality industry
    • Online tool for temporary layoff provisions
    • Reminder: Serving it Right certification expiry on September 15, 2020
    • Tourism & Hospitality sector seeks $680 million recovery stimulus package from BC Government
    • ABLE BC on BNN/Bloomberg Radio
    • TikTok Challenge: teens dressing in COVID-19 masks to buy alcohol
  • Update on July 23:
    • 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 ABLE BC updates here. Find COVID-19 resources here.

New Provincial Health Officer Public Order: clarifications and reminders

On July 23, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry released a revised Public Order for owners and operators of premises, including licensed premises, in which food services or drink services are provided.

Download a copy of the public order here.

Read ABLE BC’s update on the new public order here.

Important Clarifications: 

Hours of operation: bars and pubs are not required to close at 11:00 pm. However, events may only be hosted between 12:00 pm and 11:00 pm, and no more than two events may be hosted in one day on the same premises or in an area of the premises. All events must end no later than 11:00 pm.

Hosting meetings: we’ve received a number of questions from members – particularly hotels and conference centers – about whether the 12:00 pm to 11:00 pm time restriction also applies to meetings.

Under the current public order, events are defined as: “anything which gathers people together whether on a one-time, regular or irregular basis, including a ceremony or celebration of any type, reception, musical, theatrical or dance entertainment or performance, live band performance, disc jockey performance, strip dancing, comedic act, art show, magic show, puppet show, fashion show, book signing, reading, recitation, display, movie, film, meeting, lecture, talk, educational session, auction, fund raising benefit, contest, quiz, game, rally, festival, presentation, demonstration, or sporting or other physical display, but does not include music provided by live performers or a disc jockey for the sole purpose of providing background music while patrons are eating or drinking.”

We are seeking clarity on this issue and hope to have an update for you soon.

Contact tracing: under the current public order, you are not required to collect contact information from patrons, but we recommend that you collect the first and last name and telephone number or email address from 1 member of every party. Retain this information for 30 days, in case there is a need for contact tracing on the part of the medical health officer.

However, if there is an event on the premises, you must collect the first and last name and telephone number, or email address, of every patron.

For more information on hosting events, please see page 4 of the public order.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy extended to December

On Monday, Bill C-20, An Act respecting further COVID-19 measures, received Royal Assent, extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) until December 19.

Specifically, the changes introduced in Bill C-20 will:

  • Allow the extension of the CEWS until December 19, 2020, including redesigned program details until November 21, 2020.
  • Make the subsidy more accessible to a broader range of employers by providing a gradually decreasing base subsidy to all eligible employers that are experiencing a decline in revenues. This will help many struggling employers with less than a 30-per-cent revenue loss get support to keep and bring back workers, while also ensuring those who have previously benefited could still qualify, even if their revenues recover and no longer meet the 30 per cent revenue decline threshold.
  • Introduce a top-up subsidy of up to an additional 25 per cent for employers that have been most adversely affected by the COVID-19 crisis. This will be particularly helpful to employers in industries that are recovering more slowly.
  • Provide certainty to employers that have already made business decisions for July and August by ensuring they will not receive a subsidy rate lower than they would have under the previous rules.
  • Address technical issues with the CEWS identified by stakeholders, for example by providing continuity rules to address circumstances where an employer purchased all or substantially all of another entity’s business assets.
  • Make the proposed amendments to the CEWS previously introduced in Bill C-17, An Act respecting additional COVID-19 measures.

Bill C-20 will also allow for the sharing of information to facilitate the delivery of a one-time payment for persons with disabilities.

For more information:

WorkSafeBC Safety Committees

In case you were unaware, WorkSafeBC requires any business with more than 20 employees to have a joint health and safety committee. We understand this issue has recently been raised on WorkSafeBC inspections.

For more information, including templates and resources to setup your committee please visit:

  • WorkSafeBC: joint health & safety committees
  • go2HR: health & safety resources

Federal government tax updates

On July 27, Canada Revenue Agency announced an extension to the payment deadline and interest relief on outstanding tax debts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Payment deadline extension

The CRA is extending the payment due date for current year individual, corporate, and trust income tax returns, including instalment payments, from September 1, 2020, to September 30, 2020. 

Penalties and interest will not be charged if payments are made by the extended deadline of September 30, 2020. This includes the late-filing penalty as long as the return is filed by September 30, 2020.

Interest on Existing Tax Debt

The CRA is also waiving interest on existing tax debts related to individual, corporate, and trust income tax returns from April 1, 2020, to September 30, 2020 and from April 1, 2020, to June 30, 2020, for goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) returns. 

While this measure for existing tax debts does not cancel penalties and interest already assessed on a taxpayer’s account prior to this period, it ensures that a taxpayer’s existing tax debt does not continue to grow through interest charges during this difficult time. This measure provides immediate relief to impacted taxpayers.

Filing returns

The previously extended filing due dates for individual, corporate, and trust income tax returns remain unchanged. However, recognizing the difficult circumstances faced by Canadians, the CRA will not impose late-filing penalties where a current year individual, corporation, or trust return is filed late provided that it is filed by September 30, 2020.

The CRA encourages everyone to file their individual, corporate and trust returns as soon as possible, even though payment deadlines are being extended. This is particularly important for individuals receiving credits and benefits, such as the Canada Child Benefit.

For more information, please read the government news release.

Free Webinar: Navigating the extended Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

Join BDO Canada for a free webinar on July 30 at 12:00 pm EDT: Navigating the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. 

Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced extension and expansion details to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program on July 17. The new enhancements are complex and require further explanation on how they will impact businesses. 

This webinar offers practical guidance and actionable solutions on how the CEWS enhancements will impact a business if operations are taking place domestically and internationally. 

You will learn about the: 

  • Expansion of the base CEWS to more employers
  • ‘Top-up’ subsidy
  • Reference periods for the drop-in-revenues test

Register 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 changes our industry is facing: 

CBC News: No dancing, no self-service, no problem, say Vancouver bars of new rules

infonews.ca: Liquor store sales in BC return to normal after initial pandemic bulk-buying frenzy

The Province: Bars, nightclubs alter their business models to stay afloat

BC Hospitality Foundation online lottery

For the past 3 years, the BC Hospitality Foundation has benefited from an online lottery called Hotels to Help (licensed by the BC Lottery Commission), raising over $55,000 for the BCHF last year. 

In light of COVID-19, this year the BCHF will have ONE online lottery in mid- October.  

The foundation is looking for “experiential prizes” that they can combine with several restaurant gift cards to give people exciting trips within BC. This may include accommodations, meals, experiences, and VIP tastings. Please note alcohol cannot be included as a prize.

Lottery prize donations can be made redeemable for 2021 dates only.

The lottery is promoted with press releases and online. The BCHF receives well over 30,000 views of the lottery prizes.

To donate a lottery prize, please complete this form. Deadline for lottery items: August 10, 2020.

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