B.C. Tourism Minister Melanie Mark takes questions in the B.C. legislature about months of delays to aid for tourism industry devastated by COVID-19 restrictions, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)

B.C. Tourism Minister Melanie Mark takes questions in the B.C. legislature about months of delays to aid for tourism industry devastated by COVID-19 restrictions, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)

B.C. diverts more COVID-19 small business relief to tourism

An extra $50 million shifted to attractions hit by travel bans

B.C.’s long-awaited COVID-19 fund for tourism and other small businesses has been restructured for the second time in December, with an extra $50 million shifted from the $300 million fund dedicated to tourism operators only.

Tourism Minister Melanie Mark confirmed Tuesday the additional money is to act on the key recommendations of the tourism task force set up last summer, which called for additional ‘bridge’ financing.

The $300 million small business aid fund is expected to be taken up quickly, after Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon announced an easing of requirements. It is now available to businesses operating for at least 18 months, rather than three years, and businesses need only to show that they have lost at least 30 per cent of revenue in the month they apply.

Mark said the changes respond to the first three recommendations from the tourism industry task force, chaired by Vancouver International Airport CEO Tamara Vrooman.

“The task force recommended that we take the $50 million that we had given them when the task force was initiated, set aside that plus $50 million from the small and medium business grant program, and dedicate it solely to tourism,” Mark said.

RELATED: B.C. eases rules for COVID-19 small business aid

RELATED: Election didn’t slow business help, Horgan says

“We are all struggling, like almost all small businesses are right now, and this grant might make the difference to many of us whether or not we make it through this pandemic,” said Mike Willie, owner-operator of Sea Wolf Adventures, a wildlife-watching business at Port McNeill on northern Vancouver Island.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

Wolf photo by Brian Hay
2020 hunting season review and wildlife update: Part III

This is Part III of a three-part series by F.J. Hurtak, looking at the issues of the 2020 hunting and wildlife management season

1914
It happened this week in 1914

Jan. 10 - 16: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the newspapers at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

Piling in place along Innis Avenue in Cranbrook, part of the new Broadstreet Properties development. David Humphrey photo
Innis Avenue to close to all traffic starting January 18

Avenue facing new development will be closed from Monday, Jan. 18 to Thursday, Jan. 21, for sewer connection

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Most Read