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

Undated Google maps image of Aldergrove Community Secondary School (file)
Aldergrove gets first electric school buses in Langley

Two battery electric buses are being purchased this year

Aldergrove Canada Day parade took place in 2020 with COVID protocols in place. (Aldergrove Star files)
Canada Day parade in Aldergrove set to go ahead

Aldergrove Star mistakenly reported that Township’s virtual July 1 celebrations included parade

Missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs was found deceased on Thursday evening (June 17).
Body of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs found

Hobbs was reported missing Monday after leaving his job site in Langley

Mosquito control contractors have been applying the bacterial larvicide by ground since late April. (Black Press files)
Pest control experts keeping mosquitoes at bay along the Fraser River

Bacterial larvicide has been used along the shores in Maple Ridge, Langley, and Pitt Meadows

Bella Jun claimed the prize for select female dog at the Westminster Dog Show. (Special to The Star)
Aldergrove breeder earns two top honours at Westminster dog show

Woodside’s German Shepherds, Arabella and Bella Jun, earned best in breed and select female

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

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

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

Seth Rogen’s vibrant orange sculpture was sold for $7,000 above Vancouver Art Gallery’s initial estimation at auction Tuesday. June 15. (Heffel Fine Arts)
Vase made by Seth Rogen sells for $12,000 at Vancouver auction

The B.C.-born comedian has a new pot habit and it’s paying off

BC Lions running back John White IV (3) runs with the ball during first quarter CFL football action against the Ottawa Redblacks in Ottawa on Saturday, September 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
BC Lions file trademark for new logo

Canadian Football League team files for new design on June 1

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Camper van explosion burns Vancouver Island gas station to the ground

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

Most Read