Destination BC Bulletin 02: COVID-19

Provincial Government’s COVID-19 Action Plan

The Action Plan, announced on March 23, focuses on services to protect the health and safety of British Columbians, provide immediate relief to individuals and businesses, and position our province for economic recovery over the long term. The $5 billion plan explains the financial supports available in response to COVID-19 including several actions that individual businesses in the tourism and hospitality sectors will be able to benefit from, such as

  • Delayed/deferred tax filing and payment deadlines, plus reduced School Tax Rates, through provincial tax changes.
  • A tax-free one-time payment of $1,000 for those who are income-affected by the pandemic, via the BC Emergency Benefit for Workers.
  • $1.5 billion for economic stimulus and recovery, which will come into play in the longer-term for particularly hard hit parts of the economy, like tourism.

The Province, in partnership with Small Business BC, has created an excellent financial resource: COVID-19 Supports for Small Businesses in BC. This handy PDF includes a wide range of government and private sector supports for small businesses in British Columbia affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Destination BC’s COVID-19 Response

In collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, and with the leadership of Minister Lisa Beare, Destination BC has taken immediate steps to address the severe global conditions affecting local tourism.

As we mentioned in our previous bulletins, we are actively planning a significant recovery campaign for the tourism industry in three phases—Response, Recovery, Resilience—to provide the strongest possible outcomes for our industry once circumstances change and public safety is assured.

We are currently in the early stages of the Response phase. During this phase, we will provide weekly guidance to BC’s tourism industry on how we can work together to best support our province, and the future of our industry. The more we do to respond now, the faster the recovery can begin.

Help prevent non-essential travel and keep our communities safe by encouraging travelers to #exploreBClater

Messaging Guide for BC Tourism

The weekly Messaging Guidance serves to equip tourism partners across BC with up-to-date sentiments to use on their channels. This week, we continue to support the government’s efforts to ‘flatten the curve’ of the virus infection rate, by reinforcing the order from our Provincial Health Officer to stay home. The Messaging Guidance for March 26-April 1 has a series of images and messages you can easily use to get the word out. The more of us who share the sentiment, the stronger our voice becomes, and the sooner we can stop the virus and start on the road to recovery.

BC Tourism: Top 5 Things to Know

News and information about COVID-19 is being served to us all faster than we can take it in. To help, we have created a “Top Five” roundup for industry. This simplified resource, made up of bite-sized pieces of important information, highlights the Top Five Things to Know as a tourism stakeholder – for your health, for your business; and about the provincial government’s action plan, Destination BC’s response, and federal government programs. We will continue to update this resource as we go.

Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

The economic response plan outlines actions to help Canadians and businesses facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and help mitigate its negative economic effects.
On March 25, the federal government announced further financial aid with the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)—a simpler and more accessible combination of two previously announced benefits: the Emergency Care Benefit and the Emergency Support Benefit. The CERB will provide $2,000 a month for four months for workers who have lost their income because of COVID-19. Critical for businesses, this includes workers who are still employed but not receiving income due to the pandemic disruptions, enabling businesses to keep their employees as they navigate this very difficult time.

For an overview on the national response to the virus outbreak, visit Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Canada’s response. For detailed information on Canada’s whole-of-government actions to respond to the outbreak,visit Government of Canada takes action on COVID-19.

Financial and Operational Resources for Businesses

Small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of the Canadian economy, and we are seeing more actions unfold every day in a bid to help Canadian businesses as COVID-19 affects their operations, their employees, and their family members.

Like many other organizations, we have compiled a list of resources on COVID-19 to support employers and employees affected by the downturn in business, and help mitigate the impacts on our economy. This includes actions the Government of Canada and BC are taking to help businesses. Find them on our COVID-19 resource page.

Temporary Employment via go2HR

go2HR has a solution to help tourism and hospitality employees facing a shortage of work. Effective immediately, go2HR is allowing healthcare employers to post their job openings on the go2HR Job Board for free. The goal is to provide a tool for displaced tourism and hospitality workers to find temporary employment during this difficult time.

BC Parks/Parks Canada Closures

With health and safety top of mind, BC Parks has closed certain parks and recreation areas, until further notice.

To encourage Canadians to follow the advice of our health authorities to stay home and stay safe, Parks Canada is temporarily suspending all visitor vehicle access to Parks Canada places.

Mental Health During COVID-19

This is a difficult time for everyone, and it’s okay if you are experiencing increased feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. You are doing the best you can in a time when simply turning on the news can feel overwhelming. But feeling stressed and fearful every day takes a toll on health and well-being very quickly, so it’s important to take time for yourself to manage your mental health. There are things we can all do as individuals and collectively to deal with stress and support one another during through this pandemic. The Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has created some simple tips around Managing COVID-19 Stress, Anxiety and Depression.

Destination BC COVID-19 Communications

Key Resource: Website
We are working hard to provide industry with real-time updates through our COVID-19 resource page. Here you will find federal and provincial information on infection prevention, travel advisories and suspensions, transport and border services, financial and business supports, official Provincial health directives, and more. Please share our resource page with your network, and check back often for updates.

On this page you will also find FAQs, which we are fielding from industry and working with partners and official sources, including BC’s Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, and Ministry of Health, to answer. If you have questions that cannot be answered through the various resources on our website and official channels, please send them to and we will work to address them.

Weekly Industry Calls
Destination BC is holding weekly calls each Thursday with industry partners from across the province. During these calls, we are sharing facts, trends, and updates from sectors. These calls are a great opportunity to hear more about what we know, including our plans to support industry. Please email to participate. The calls will be recorded and made available via our COVID-19 resource page. Listen to the March 26 recording here.

Regular Industry Bulletins 
In an effort to keep industry informed on the fast-moving COVID-19 situation, Destination BC will be sending out these regular bulletins in place of the monthly Directions emails for the foreseeable future. Please encourage your network to subscribe to our newsletter, and feel free to forward these emails to your colleagues and friends.

Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for more COVID-19 updates as it relates to BC tourism.

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