The province is adding $75 million in new money to its business relief grant and extending it to hotels, motels and short-term accommodations.
“We’re adding $75 million to the original $50 million, bringing the total funding of this grant to over $125 million,” said Jobs and Economic Recovery Minister Ravi Kahlon in a media availability Monday.
“This means that business can access double the funding,” Kahlon said. “Those that qualified for up to $10,000 will now receive up to $20,000.”
The Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant remains in place for about 14,000 restaurants, bars, breweries, wineries, gyms and fitness facilities affected by the provincial health officer’s pandemic order, introduced last month, restricting indoor gatherings including indoor dining and adult group fitness classes.
It is now also available to more than 5,300 hotels, motels and other short-term accommodations — including Airbnbs and vacation rentals registered in B.C. as small businesses — affected by the province’s emergency order to restrict travel between B.C.’s three regional zones.
The orders are expected to remain in place until at least May 25.
Of the $125-million total, $100 million is available to restaurants, bars, breweries, wineries, gyms and fitness facilities and $25 million to hotels, motels and other short-term accommodation providers.
The tourism and hospitality sectors are under extreme pressure from COVID-19, said Tourism Minister Melanie Mark in a statement. The funding is meant to create jobs and protect the province’s legacy as a renowned tourist destination, she said.
Kahlon said the new money comes from COVID contingencies in the provincial budget.
In total, almost 20,000 businesses can apply for relief through the grant. Businesses can receive up to $20,000 to help with expenses like employee wages, rent, maintenance and utilities. The individual amount a business receives will be based on the number of employees.
Applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, and applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Applications will be accepted until June 4, 2021, or when the funds are disbursed, said the province.
Businesses that previously applied for or received the grant do not need to apply again and will automatically receive additional funding, the province said.
Kahlon said businesses that were closed or that had licences revoked because of breaking the COVID-19 provincial health orders are not eligible for the grant.
For more information, go to gov.bc.ca/business-relief.