March 16, 2020

Dear Members and Industry Colleagues, As we all continue to grapple with the urgent impacts of COVID-19 and the potential health risks for your customers and staff, ABLE BC wants to ensure you are kept updated on how it may impact you and your business.

Impact on LDB Distribution

ABLE BC is working with our partners at the LDB to get more information on how COVID-19 could impact the supply chain. While you have to make the decision that is right for your business, at this time ABLE BC has heard nothing to suggest that operators should ‘stockpile’ product. We will update members as soon as more information becomes available.

If your establishment has a capacity of 250 people or more

Effective March 12, government is directing all event organizers to   cancel any gathering larger than 250 people. This includes indoor and outdoor sporting events, conferences, meetings, religious gatherings, or other similar events. 

For gatherings under 250 people, the Public Health Agency of Canada has released risk considerations when deciding whether to postpone or cancel your event. If your establishment has a capacity of over 250 people, ABLE BC is recommending that you voluntarily cap your capacity at 250 patrons

Download a sample sign you can post to notify customers.

Stop accepting beverage container returns

We recommend that retailers temporarily stop accepting returns of empty beverage containers. 

Download a sample sign you can post to notify customers.

Changes to Employment Insurance

Should you have to lay off staff or your staff be unable to work during this time, the federal government has made changes to Employment Insurance (EI)  in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

EI sickness benefits provide up to 15 weeks of income replacement and is available to eligible claimants who are unable to work because of illness, injury or quarantine. Canadians quarantined can apply for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits. 

As well, for people quarantined due to COVID-19, the government is eliminating the waiting period entirely, so they can receive EI benefits for an entire 14-day quarantine. 

2020 BC Hospitality Summit Postponed

In light of the global COVID-19 outbreak, and the need for our hospitality leaders to manage their businesses in this difficult time, the BC Hotel Association and the Alliance of Beverage Licensees announced on March 12 that we are postponing our upcoming  2020 BC Hospitality Summit

The BC Hospitality Summit was scheduled to take place April 6 and 7 at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Grand Okanagan Resort. The conference will be rescheduled for fall 2020.  We will share the new conference date with you as soon as possible.

All delegate registrations will be automatically refunded within the next two weeks. Read our full announcement.

Pandemic Preparedness Guide

There are a number of things businesses must consider should COVID-19 escalate in Canada, including: 

  • Staff absences
  • Disruption to essential services, like information, telecommunications, financial services, energy supply, and logistics
  • Disruption to supply of necessary materials or contractors
  • A major increase or decrease in demand for products and services
  • Cancellation or disruption of travel and cross-border movement of people and goods
  • Cancellation of public meetings or gatherings like sports events and concerts
  • Impact on the trade status of Canada or our trading partners
  • Increased public fear that causes citizens to avoid public places, including front line retail and tourist-related attractions, restaurants, and leisure businesses

Download the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Pandemic Preparedness Guide for additional information.

Other Tools for your Business

Share useful programs and materials with your customers and staff to encourage proper hygiene and sanitation. Here are some signage examples:

 Here are some other useful materials:

For more information

Public Health Agency of Canada Website

As of March 13, the PHAC continues to deem the  risk to Canadians low but this could change rapidly. There is an increased risk for more severe outcomes for Canadians:

  • Aged 65 and over
  • With compromised immune systems
  • With underlying medical conditions

The PHAC is monitoring new cases daily, and has issued travel advisories to some nations, including Italy, China, and Iran. We strongly encourage you to keep updated on any developments and combat misinformation by monitoring the PHAC website.

Updates from the Government of British Columbia

On March 12, the  Government of British Columbia recommended against all non-essential travel outside of Canada, including to the United States. Anyone who chooses to travel outside of Canada will be asked to stay away from work or school for 14 days upon return. 

Government has asked employers to excuse staff for sick leave without requiring a doctor’s note, if their employees are ill or required to self-isolate.

Only a health-care professional can determine whether you require a test – employers should not require employees to have a test if a health-care provider has recommended against it. Workplaces should also start thinking about social distancing measures: e.g. no handshakes.

Current news releases from the BC Ministry of Health can be found here.

Updates from Destination BC 

Canada continues to be a safe travel destination, but understandably COVID-19 is top of mind for travellers and businesses in BC, and globally. 

Destination BC is committed to keeping BC’s tourism industry updated as new information becomes available: 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact ABLE BC: 604-688-5560 or

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