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

Just Posted

(James Smith photo)
North Delta crime beat, week of May 3

A selection of property crimes submitted weekly by the Delta Police Department

Doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)
Fraser Health adds 4 first-come-first-serve vaccination clinics to Surrey

First 1,000 people to show up to receive vaccine

(Delta Police Department photo)
South Delta crime beat, week of May 3

A selection of property crimes submitted weekly by the Delta Police Department

(Clockwise, from top-left) Brenda DeJong, Carol Jones, Marcia Strang, Cathy Collis and Mark East star in the upcoming Sidekick Players Zoom presentation of the Norm Foster play “Halfway There,” directed by Carroll Lefebvre, on May 22, 2021. (Submitted photos)
Delta’s Sidekick Players continue ‘Foster Zoom Fest’ with ‘Halfway There’

Tsawwassen-based theatre company hosting another online performance on Saturday, May 22

The leadership team at Johnston Heights Secondary is looking to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society through the Relay for Life, planned as an online and in-person event (following COVID-19 restrictions) for the week of June 1 to 7.
Pushed back a year, Surrey students well on their way to Relay for Life fundraising goal

Johnston Heights Leadership Team aims to raise $6,500 for Canadian Cancer Society

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

B.C. Wildfire Services shows a fire on Chehalis Forest Service Road as of Sunday, May 16, 2021. (BC Fire Services)
Wildfire near Harrison Mills grows to 3 hectares, BC Fire Service on site

Resident near wildfire: ‘I pray that the Creator brings rain as soon as possible’

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of May 16

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

People shop in Chinatown in Vancouver on Friday, February 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver community leaders call for action following 717% rise in anti-Asian hate crimes

‘The alarming rise of anti-Asian hate in Canada and south of the border shows Asians have not been fully accepted in North America,’ says Carol Lee

Most Read