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Province offering relief to businesses hit hard by circuit breaker measures

Provincial funds are coming to businesses hit hardest by the latest round of provincial health orders.

The new Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant will provide affected businesses with up to $10,000 in one-time funding.

The money will go towards helping with expenses like rent, insurance, wages, maintenance and utilities. 

It can also help cover unexpected costs that resulted from the restrictions, such as the purchase of perishable goods.

On March 30th, a three-week ban started on indoor activities such as restaurant dining, adult group fitness, and limited indoor worship.

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To help businesses impacted by this circuit breaker measure, the province will provide more than $50 million to help the 14,000 restaurants, bars, breweries, wineries, gyms and fitness centres.

“We understand how greatly this group of businesses have been, and continue to be, impacted by the pandemic,” said Premier John Horgan. 

“This grant will provide the funds these businesses need to help them through this extraordinary time. As a community, we have come so far together in this fight against COVID-19. Let’s stay the course and we will get through this together.”

“Our commitment to support businesses is unwavering and our work to ensure that they have every opportunity to get past this pandemic will continue,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. 

“We have reason to be hopeful and things will soon get better for all of us in British Columbia. In the meantime, our local businesses need us, and we need them. I encourage communities to BuyBC and shop local wherever you can.”

However, Kahlon said bad actors who violated PHO orders need not apply.

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“If you are closed, or had your licenses revoked due to PHO non-compliance, you are not eligible for this grant,” he said. “And I want to thank the 99.9 percent of small businesses across this province who are doing the right thing to keep their communities safe and keeping their employees safe.”

More than $50 million from the $345-million Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant program has been set aside for businesses through the grant. 

The individual amount a business receives will be based on the number of employees.

The grant is open to eligible businesses of any size that have been operating since Feb. 1st, 2021. To ensure affected businesses can access the funds quickly,  it has a streamlined application.

“COVID-19 has presented significant challenges for everyone in the restaurant industry,” said Mark von Schellwitz, Restaurants Canada vice-president, Western Canada.

“We appreciate that the B.C. government continues to find ways to help the hospitality sector. This new grant will be of great benefit to many restaurants as they continue to adapt and change in response to the pandemic.”

Applications are expected to open the week of April 12th.

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