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

Benjamin Cashion, left, the first baby born at Shuswap Lake General Hospital in 2021, is already taking to his older brother Liam. (Submitted)
Newcomers to Shuswap welcome Salmon Arm hospital’s first baby of 2021

The Cashion family’s newest son Benjamin was born on Jan. 8.

A map released by the BCCDC on Jan. 15 shows the number of new COVID-19 cases reported for each local health area between Jan. 3 and 9. (BCCDC Image)
Salmon Arm and Vernon see increase in new COVID cases, curve flattening elsewhere

The rate of new cases is levelling off in Kelowna, Penticton and Revelstoke.

(Photo: Pixabay)
Enderby chamber proposes new rural e-business training program

The program would help rural-area businesses expand using online tools and insights

Signs in Homer, Alaska, offer inspiration during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Michael Armstrong-Homer News)
COLUMN: COVID-19 pandemic hits home

In Plain View by Lachlan Labere

With bridge construction well underway on the project to replace the Solsqua-Sicamous bridge. Motorists should expect delays of up to half an hour. (Jim Elliot/Eagle Valley News)
Pedestrian path would connect Solsqua-Sicamous bridge to community

District of Sicamous staff say bridge replacement project on tight schedule

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

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

The organizer of a Kelowna protest against COVID-19 restrictions was fined by the RCMP for the third time Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19: Organizer of Kelowna anti-restriction protest ticketed for third time

The individual’s latest ticket for $2,300 was handed out by RCMP at an anti-lockdown rally Saturday

Mount Boucherie Secondary School is one of three Kelowna schools with confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to an update from the school district Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 confirmed at 3 Kelowna schools

Interior Health has confirmed exposures at Mount Boucherie, Springvalley and South Rutland schools

Half of the most expensive homes are on 2080 Mackenzie Crt, which is across the street from Revelstoke Mountain Resort. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
The 10 most valuable homes in Revelstoke for 2020

Combined, the properties are worth more than $35M

Lake Country native Evan-Riley Brown is in the cast for the new film Journey To Royal: A WW II Rescue Mission to be released on video on demand and streaming services on Feb. 2. (Contributed)
Okanagan actor lands role in WW II movie

Evan-Riley Brown, from Lake Country, cast in production labelled as hybrid of a feature film and documentary called Journey To Royal: a WW II Rescue Mission.

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

Most Read