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B.C. gyms, bars ordered to close due to COVID can now apply for financial relief

Click to play video: 'B..C businesses say COVID-19 relief grants are of little help'
B..C businesses say COVID-19 relief grants are of little help
A number of B.C. businesses say the provincial government's COVID relief program that was launched Wednesday will do little to keep them from going under. As John Hua tells us, gyms and fitness centres are among those taking the hardest hit at a time of the year when they are the usually the busiest. – Jan 12, 2022

B.C. businesses can now apply for a grant to help ease the financial impact of the latest COVID-19 wave, but many in the hospitality and fitness industries say the support is coming too late.

On Wednesday, Jobs and Economic Recovery Minister Ravi Kahlon held a news conference to say applications are open for the COVID-19 Closure Relief Grant. The program was announced in December, just a few days after a provincial health order shut down gyms, fitness centres, nightclubs and bars.

Venues that can no longer hold events are also eligible for the $1,000 to $10,000 in support, as are businesses that offer online rentals or services but whose physical locations were closed.

Click to play video: 'B.C. businesses ordered to shut down due to COVID can apply for relief funds'
B.C. businesses ordered to shut down due to COVID can apply for relief funds

Funds from the program, which is expected to support more than 3,000 businesses, can help with expenses such as rent, employee wages, insurance, maintenance and utilities.

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“This is not the way any of us wanted to start the new year with more strain on our businesses, families and communities,” Kahlon said.

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“Our government will be there to help hard-hit businesses that have had to shut down and get them some necessary support to help pay their bills.”

The province has set aside $10 million for the project, which supports recently expanded federal programs that provide up to 75-per-cent wage and rent support to businesses and $300 a week to eligible workers affected by public health orders.

Click to play video: 'B.C. gyms call for greater clarity on COVID-19 closures'
B.C. gyms call for greater clarity on COVID-19 closures

The province is attempting to fast track the delivery of the benefit, but was unclear how long that will take.

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Businesses who have refused to follow provincial health orders, and remain open, are not eligible.

“We have built in an auditing process for those businesses who have chosen not to follow the orders,” Kahlon said. “To those majority of businesses who have followed the orders, this grant is available for you.”

 

Eligibility requirements will depend on size and businesses with no employees or contracted staff are eligible for up to $1,000 ranging to businesses with 100 or more employees or contracted staff being eligible for up to $10,000.

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