October 30, 2020

Dear ABLE BC Members and Industry Colleagues,

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

  • Halloween during COVID-19 and PHO public orders
  • Industry recommendation: masks for front-of-house staff
  • 2020 Provincial Election Update
  • Winter 2020 Issue of the Quarterly Pour is out
  • Download updated Liquor Primary Reopening Best Practices Handbook
  • Complete the 2020 BC Liquor Conference Survey
  • BC Hospitality Foundation lottery ends on Sunday
  • Challenges with Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant
  • Changes to Canada Emergency Business Account
  • BC Tourism Task Force Report: The Future of Travel
  • Provincial state of emergency extended
  • Managing cold and flu season during COVID-19

Find all past COVID-19 updates here.

Halloween during COVID-19 and PHO public orders

Halloween is going to be very different this year for everybody and traditional Halloween parties are exceedingly more complicated.
We know many of you have concerns about Halloween and are very frustrated you cannot operate your bars, pubs, and nightclubs as you normally do.

Since the release of the public order ceasing liquor sales at 10:00 pm, ABLE BC has been actively working with the Provincial Health Officer and her senior staff to try and find a path forward and get the order amended.

Regrettably, there will not be any change at this time to the hours of liquor sale at food and liquor serving premises. Nightclubs are still not permitted to reopen.

We know the devastating impacts this may have on your business and will continue to take your concerns directly to the Provincial Health Officer and find a way to move forward.

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

Industry recommendation: masks for front-of-house staff

During her October 26 address, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said that she is “stepping up our recommendations and advice around wearing masks. It is now the expectation that people will wear a non-medical mask in public spaces,” she told reporters. “It is not an order, because this is something I know we support as part of our mutual responsibility to protect each other.”

We know and trust that operators are doing everything they can to keep patrons and staff safe. 

However, earlier this summer ABLE BC and our restaurant partners recommended 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 given Dr. Henry’s recent announcement and customer expectations, it is recommended. It is also vitally important that all operators are adhering to the public health order rules. 

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

2020 Provincial Election Update

Voters across British Columbia headed to the polls on Saturday to take part in the province’s 42nd general election.

While results are still to be finalized, it appears BC has a majority NDP provincial government

Global News had live online results by riding so you could see who will form B.C.’s next government and who won in your riding. However, a number of ridings were too close to call on election night and will be decided in the coming days.

ABLE BC offers our congratulations to all MLAs elected to the legislature. We look forward to working with government and all elected officials in the weeks and months ahead.

The NDP made specific commitments to the hospitality industry during their campaign, including: 

  • Help BC restaurants and hospitality businesses through COVID-19 and beyond: “we’ll continue to support this sector by making permanent the urgent action we took in the spring: authorizing the expansion of service areas, such as patios; allowing restaurants and pubs to purchase beer, wine, and spirits at wholesale cost instead of liquor store retail prices; and allowing liquor delivery with takeout.”
  • Cap online food delivery charges by third-party apps at 15 per cent, and all other additional fees to five per cent.
  • Full platform is available here.

ABLE BC will be meeting with government as soon as possible to advance these commitments, on behalf of our industry.

Winter 2020 Issue of the Quarterly Pour is out

The Winter 2020 issue of the Quarterly Pour is out! Read it here.

Feature articles in this issue:

The Quarterly Pour (formerly called The Publican) is the official publication of ABLE BC. Find past issues here.

Download updated Liquor Primary Reopening Best Practices Handbook

ABLE BC has updated our Liquor Primary Reopening Best Practices Handbook. Download it here.

Changes include:

  • Updated rules and conditions to reflect new public orders released on October 9, 2020
  • Updated list of recent liquor policy changes
  • Updated overview of federal and provincial government financial support

Download it here.

Additional Resources

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

Complete the 2020 BC Liquor Conference Survey

Thank you to all those who attended the first ever virtual BC Liquor Conference last week. We would greatly appreciate your feedback! Please take 5 minutes to complete our conference survey 

With this being our first online conference experience – and the future unclear as to when we’ll be gathering in-person next – your feedback will help inform our future events. Take the survey here.

BC Hospitality Foundation lottery ends on Sunday

Tickets for the BC Hospitality Foundation online lottery are available until Sunday! Prizes for the “BC: Our Beautiful Backyard” Lottery include first-class food, drink, and accommodations in Whistler, Greater Vancouver, Vancouver Island, and the Okanagan.

Sales close at midnight on Sunday, November 1, 2020. 

The roster of 15 prizes features a selection of mini vacations, a personal chef at your home, gift cards and pub packs in Vancouver and Victoria. All trips are redeemable in 2021.

Learn more and buy your tickets here

The BCHF thanks all the businesses that generously donated the amazing prizes for the venture. Proceeds from the lottery will support the BCHF’s charitable work, which includes providing financial assistance to hospitality workers in financial crisis due to extraordinary health conditions, as well as administering a scholarship program to foster the development of the next generation of hospitality industry workers and leaders.

Get your lottery tickets today!

Changes to Canada Emergency Business Account

The Government of Canada is providing continued support to small business owners and entrepreneurs to help them adapt and position their businesses for recovery.

On Monday, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland announced that as early as October 26, 2020, the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) will be available to businesses that have been operating out of a non-business banking account.

To be eligible, businesses must have been operating as a business as of March 1, 2020, must successfully open a business account at a Canadian financial institution that is participating in CEBA, and meet the other existing CEBA eligibility criteria. The deadline to apply for CEBA is December 31, 2020.

Learn more.

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program: ends tomorrow

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses provides relief for small businesses experiencing financial hardship due to COVID‑19. The deadline to opt in for the final 3 months of the program is tomorrow: October 30, 2020.

IMPORTANT: Only applications that have been approved for April, May and June are eligible to opt-in for the July, August and September extensions. 

Learn more

On October 9, the federal government announced new targeted support to help businesses through the pandemic, including the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy.

The subsidy would provide simple and easy-to-access rent and mortgage support until June 2021 for qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19. The rent subsidy would be provided directly to tenants, while also providing support to property owners. More details to come.

BC Tourism Task Force Report: The Future of Travel

Our industry partner TIABC shared the following update on BC’s new Tourism Task Force: 

On September 18th, the BC Government appointed 11 business and industry leaders to a Tourism Task Force, focused on identifying actions to help support BC’s tourism businesses and workers impacted  by the global COVID-19 pandemic and put the sector on a path to sustainable recovery and growth.

Government has allocated $50 million to implement actions that arise from the task force’s final report, due on December 31st. Recommendations will focus on strategies and actions to help address short-term challenges through the 2021 tourism season, while also considering what changes could be made to enhance British Columbia’s long-term competitiveness. 

Tourism Task Force members met regularly in October to gather information to help inform their deliberations. This included assessing BC’s competitive position prior to COVID-19 and reviewing estimates of the pandemic’s impact on the sector over the short term. In 2018, British Columbia’s tourism sector was outpacing growth in the provincial economy, with increasing revenues, employment, wages and number of visitors. As we all know, BC’s visitor economy has been hit hard by the pandemic, and Destination BC estimated in May 2020 that the province’s $21.5 billion annual tourism industry could see a reduction down to $6.7 billion in 2020.

The Task Force also sought to gain an understanding of how countries and regions have approached their support of tourism.  Jurisdictions around the world have taken varying approaches to dealing with the fallout of the pandemic on their visitor economies, with different strategies for helping the many businesses and workers who rely on it for their livelihoods.

Members also analyzed existing research and information compiled from industry groups and sector associations throughout the pandemic, to identify any gaps that remain in supports provided to date by the B.C. and Canadian governments. 

The Tourism Task Force will now focus on engaging with select stakeholders that broadly represent key sectors of the industry in a series of focused roundtable discussions through November. Task Force members recognize how deeply the tourism sector has been impacted and the urgent need for support, and that is why the Task Force will prioritize roundtable discussions on topics where they have specifically identified a need for further information. Task Force members, including TIABC’s Walt Judas, are committed to keeping industry informed as their work progresses towards the final report in December. 

Provincial state of emergency extended

The Province of British Columbia has formally extended the provincial state of emergency, allowing health and emergency management officials 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 November 10, 2020, to allow staff to continue to take the necessary actions to keep British Columbians safe and manage immediate concerns and COVID-19 outbreaks.

Read more.

Managing cold and flu season during COVID-19

The winter flu season is fast approaching. Influenza (flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious, respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. This upcoming flu season, it is likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both spread, adding to the ongoing challenges that we are already facing. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to do everything possible to reduce the spread of flu.

When it comes to the workplace, there are several things that employers and workers can do to help protect themselves and others against flu. Here are some tips from go2HR to help you manage and prevent the spread of flu in your workplace this winter.

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