Queen Victoria arrives in Barkerville during the 2019 Victoria Day weekend celebrations. Barkerville Historic Town and Park typically opens in mid-May, but COVID-19 travel and gathering restrictions continue. (Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

Queen Victoria arrives in Barkerville during the 2019 Victoria Day weekend celebrations. Barkerville Historic Town and Park typically opens in mid-May, but COVID-19 travel and gathering restrictions continue. (Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

B.C. restaurants to get COVID-19 ‘circuit breaker’ grant extension

Tourism promised $100 million boost when travel resumes

B.C.’s COVID-19 recovery budget arrives with some of the strictest pandemic restrictions on travel and dining still in place, with a promise to carry on existing programs and support major attractions when travel resumes.

While there are few new initiatives in Tuesday’s budget, Finance Minister Selina Robinson said contingency funds are in place to extend support for businesses who found out last week that travel, dining and indoor fitness are restricted for another five weeks, to after the May long weekend. The initial COVID-19 “circuit breaker” restrictions put in place at the end of March were followed by a grant program for up to $10,000 to assist 14,000 restaurants, bars, breweries, wineries, gyms and fitness centres, and Robinson said work is underway to extend the program.

“We are continuing to identify how to best meet the needs of those particular businesses, and there will be more to say in the days ahead around that,” Robinson told reporters April 20.

The budget includes $100 million over three years to support tourism recovery, “including support for major anchor attractions that help make British Columbia such a unique destination,” the finance ministry said in a statement. Another $20 million is available for community destination development grants for projects such as trails and airport improvements.

RELATED: B.C. offers ‘circuit breaker’ grants for hospitality businesses

RELATED: B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery

The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade gave the budget a ‘B’ for economic recovery, with the private sector lagging the growing government sector in job growth.

“Over one year into the pandemic, the government primarily re-announced measures from their StrongerBC plan, announced last fall,” the board said in a statement. “There were no measures announced in response to the public health orders announced this week but significant amounts of funding in the budget remain unallocated.”

CEO Bridgitte Anderson praised Robinson’s budget for coming through the pandemic in better shape than some jurisdictions, with contingency funds to carry on supports.

“However, we are still striving for a post-pandemic vision for the economy that attracts investment, creates good jobs and promotes opportunity,” Anderson said. “It’s not clear this budget puts B.C. on a fast track to thrive in an increasingly competitive world.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

2021 B.C. BudgetBC politicsCoronavirus

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

Just Posted

The District of Ucluelet is fast-tracking temporary use permits for RVs/campervans as seasonal housing. (Westerly file photo)
Ucluelet reviews 11 applications for RVs as seasonal housing

“Housing is so essential to everyone, and an issue that cases a lot of stress to business owners.”

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht public works dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

Hotel Zed Tofino. (Westerly file photo)
Two Tofino businesses up for building awards

14th annual Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Most Read