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

“Skeena,” by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow is one of five fonts in the running to become the default for Microsoft systems and Office programs. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Font named after Skeena River could become the next Microsoft default

One of the five new fonts will replace Calibri, which has been Microsoft’s default since 2007

CGL’s graphic of the month showing planned activity for summer. (CGL update/Lakes District News)
Coastal GasLink reaches 692 km pipe delivery milestone

2 new COVID cases linked with pipeline accomodations

Volunteers from Tachie and Binche spent Sunday morning and afternoon cleaning up the Tachie Highway. (Joshua Hallman photo)
Tachie and Binche communities cleanup Tachie Highway

“We don’t just say we care about the environment,” said organizer. “We take action.”

CN Rail locomotives are moved on tracks past cargo containers sitting on idle train cars at port in Vancouver last February. RCMP in Northern, B.C. are currently investigating after a CN Freight Train struck some debris that appeared to be intentionally placed across the track on the Nechako River Bridge in Fraser Lake (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Freight Train strikes debris on Nechako River Bridge: RCMP

Intentionally placed debris could have resulted in a disaster

Highway 16 between Prince George and Vanderhoof was reduced to single lane alternating traffic April 21, 2021 at Cluculz Lake between East Bay and Lloyd Drive due to a slide. (YRB Vanderhoof photo)
Repair efforts continuing on Highway 16 after slide

Two-way traffic restored earlier this week

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

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

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. CDC updates info, acknowledging small respiratory droplets can spread COVID-19

Large droplets, not aerosols had been fixture of public health messaging for many months

A picture of Shirley Ann Soosay was rendered from a postmortem photographer and circulated on social media. (DDP graphic)
B.C. genealogist key to naming murder victim in decades-old California cold case

In July 1980, Shirley Ann Soosay was raped and stabbed to death

Mary Kitagawa was born on Salt Spring Island and was seven years old when she was interned along with 22,000 B.C. residents in 1942. (B.C. government video)
B.C. funds health services for survivors of Japanese internment

Seniors describe legacy of World War II displacement

Most Read