Last updated: March 31, 2020
March 23, 2020 – TIABC news release re: Tourism Industry Responds to COVID-19 Action Plan – Click here
We know this is a very difficult time for our tourism industry, and that COVID-19 is top of mind for travellers and businesses globally. Destination BC is here to support you, and we are doing everything we can in partnership with provincial and federal government, industry partners, and Health Authorities to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on BC and our tourism industry.
There is a lot of uncertainty around what our world will look like next month, next week, and even tomorrow; we want to assure you that we are all in this together. Now more than ever, we will leverage our collective power to align and support us through the times ahead.
To ensure we are doing our part in “flattening the curve” of COVID-19 in BC, Destination BC is following the direction of the Ministry of Health. With challenges ahead, the Honourable Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, pens an open letter to each and every tourism business and community across British Columbia.
Top 5 Resources Right Now
News and updates about COVID-19 is being served to us faster than we can take it all in, and with many new resources becoming available each week, it’s hard to know where to start. We want to help you find the information you’re looking for, so here’s a list of the Top 5 Resources For Tourism Businesses During COVID-19 we think you need to know about, now.
Destination BC’s COVID-19 Response
Response, Recovery, Resilience
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. It is our goal to support industry as much as we can and provide the strongest possible outcomes for our industry once this crisis is over. We are actively planning a significant recovery campaign for the tourism industry in three phases—Response, Recovery, Resilience—which can be implemented once circumstances change and public safety is assured. Learn more about Destination BC’s Response to COVID-19.
We are now in the early stages of the Response phase. To support industry, Destination BC will provide weekly messaging guidance to BC’s tourism industry on how we can work together to ‘flatten the curve’ of the virus infection rate.
Messaging Guide for BC’s Tourism Industry
Week of March 26 – April 1
This week, we continue to support the government’s efforts to ‘flatten the curve’ of the virus infection rate by reinforcing the message 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, the sooner we can stop the virus and begin down the road to recovery.
Week of March 21-25 March
This week, we can help our industry most by ensuring Canadians are observing the advice of our health authorities. We must use the power of our collective voice to prevent non-essential travel and keep our communities safe. Please refer to the Messaging Guidance for 21-25 March for guidance this week only, which includes #exploreBC…Later graphics and design files available for use.
COVID-19 email communications
In an effort to keep industry informed on the fast-moving COVID-19 pandemic, Destination BC is sending out regular bulletins in place of monthly Directions emails for the foreseeable future. Subscribe to Directions for the latest updates from us on COVID-19 as it relates to BC tourism. Visit our newsletter archives to view past email communications on COVID-19.
COVID-19 industry calls
Destination BC is holding weekly calls each Thursday morning with cross-provincial industry partners. During these calls, we are sharing facts, trends, data from research and analytics, and updates from sectors. These calls are a great opportunity for industry to hear more about what we know, including our plans to support BC tourism. The recordings will be posted below following each call:
Destination BC’s events/meetings policy
Given the current circumstances of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Destination BC has made the decision to cancel or postpone all non-essential travel, events and business meetings. This decision aligns with the Provincial Health Officer’s advice regarding virus containment and physical distancing. Our team will work with you to either continue the meeting by phone or online platforms, or rebook in-person events at a later time.
Canada’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak takes a whole-of-government approach, based on plans and guidance related to pandemic preparedness. For an overview on the national response to the virus outbreak, visit Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Canada’s response page.
On March 27, the Prime Minister announced further measures to support small businesses facing impacts of COVID‑19, including,
- a 75% wage subsidy for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020.
- the new Canada Emergency Business Account.
- the new Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program.
- deferring all GST/HST payments until June.
On March 25, the government announced the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) for people who have lost income due to COVID-19, providing $2,000 a month for four months to people who have lost their income because of COVID-19.
On March 18, the Prime Minister announced more support for workers and businesses through Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, including:
- Up to $27 billion in direct support to Canadian workers and businesses, plus $55 billion to meet liquidity needs of Canadian businesses and households.
- Closing the border between Canada and the U.S. for non-essential travel until further notice.
On March 16, the Prime Minister announced new actions under Canada’s COVID-19 Response, actions include:
- An Official Global Travel Advisory is in effect: Avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada (including to the US) until further notice. In addition, a Pandemic COVID-19 travel health notice with travel health advice for Canadians has also been issued.
- Anyone who travels outside Canada must self-isolate for 14 days on their return.
- Until June 20, Canada will deny entry to travelers who are not Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents. Some exceptions apply.
- Air operators have been formally mandated to prevent any travelers with symptoms to board an aircraft at point of origin to Canada.
- International passenger flight arrivals will be redirected to four airports: Vancouver International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Montréal-Trudeau International Airport, and Calgary International Airport.
- Suspended visitor services to all Parks Canada sites, including its national parks, national marine conservation areas and historic sites.
- Canadians are strongly advised to practice physical distancing to prevent further virus spread.
To learn more about Canada’s actions to help Canadians and businesses facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, refer to Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.
To learn more about other actions Canada is taking, including new investments to limit the spread of the virus and prepare for its potential impacts, go to the Government of Canada takes action on COVID-19 page.
The priority is to protect British Columbians and ensure our province is best positioned to effectively respond to the pandemic.
- On March 23, the BC government announced the COVID-19 Action Plan: B.C.’s first steps to support people, businesses.
- On March 23, two significant changes were made to the Employment Standards Act to protect jobs during difficult times.
Visit the BC government’s COVID-19 Provincial Support and Information page to learn more about the measures in place and supports available for British Columbians.
A dedicated phone service is also available, providing non-medical information about COVID-19, including the latest information on travel recommendations and physical distancing. Information is available in more than 110 languages, seven days a week between 7:30 am-8 pm, at 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319) or via text message at 1-888-268-4319.
On March 18, the BC government declared a provincial state of emergency to support the province-wide response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Declaring a state of emergency is an important measure to support our provincial health officer, Dr, Bonnie Henry, and Minister of Health, Adrian Dix, in swift and powerful response to the virus. Go to BC Gov News for the latest news releases on COVID-19, where you can find out more about the provincial measures in place to contain the virus, including:
- Physical distancing orders are in place
- The temporary closure of the following businesses in BC:
– Salons, spas and personal services.
– Casinos, community gaming centres and bingo halls.
– Bars, pubs and nightclubs.
– Restaurants must move to takeout or delivery only
- Prohibiting gatherings or events larger than 50 people until further notice. This includes indoor and outdoor sporting events, conferences, meetings, religious gatherings and other similar events.
The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, led by the Honourable Lisa Beare, is working across government to ensure that the needs of the tourism sector are fully recognized and considered in the government’s response, including representation on the Premier’s Cabinet Committee, and the Deputy Minister’s committee overseeing the BC Pandemic Provincial Coordination Plan. Minister Beare is also participating in regular calls with federal Minister Joly and her provincial counterparts responsible for tourism to ensure a coordinated Canadian response.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is working with provinces, territories, and international partners, including the World Health Organization, to actively monitor the situation. Public health risk is being continually reassessed as new information becomes available, with updates being posted to the government’s COVID-19 Updates page. The risk to Canadians is considered high. This does not mean that all Canadians will get the disease. It means that there is already a significant impact on our health care system. If we do not flatten the epidemic curve now, the increase of COVID-19 cases could impact health care resources available to Canadians.
The current assessment indicates that there is an increased risk of more severe outcomes for Canadians:
- aged 65 and over
- with compromised immune systems
- with underlying medical conditions
- Canadian travelers abroad
For any questions, call the Health Canada COVID-19 information line: 1-833-784-4397, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
BC Centre for Disease Control
The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is the provincial reporting centre for reportable cases and categories of communicable diseases. As a key partner of the provincial government, the BC Centre for Disease Control website is the central resource for British Columbians to hear updates and learn more about COVID-19 in BC, including case counts, BC Government statements, protective and preventative measures to take, plus the latest advice and resources from officials.
The three things health officials are asking of all of us: first, use hand hygiene, second, maintain physical distancing, and third, stay at home if you are sick or at high risk for serious illness.
The World Health Organization (WHO)
For the latest global updates on COVID-19, visit the World Health Organization’s worldwide outbreak update here.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) have issued a joint statement on international cooperation as key to the containment of COVID-19. Read it here.
What to do in suspected cases of COVID-19
If you have symptoms and may have been exposed to COVID-19, use the BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool, developed with the BC Ministry of Health, to help determine whether you may need further assessment or testing for the virus. You can complete the assessment for yourself, or on behalf of someone else, if they are unable to.
To arrange for further assessment or testing, call your local primary care provider or 8-1-1, or for deaf or hard of hearing call 7-1-1.
Resources for tourism businesses
We have compiled a list of resources to support employers and employees affected by the downturn in business caused by COVID-19, and help mitigate the impacts on our industry and economy. Please visit each organization’s website for details.
FINANCES AND OPERATIONS
The Province and Small Business BC have produced an excellent resource detailing the latest financial COVID-19: Supports for Small Businesses in B.C. (latest version updated March 27). This PDF includes most of the resources we have highlighted below.
- Provincial Tax Changes
- The BC Emergency Benefit for Workers
Applications will open in April 2020.
- Monthly bill deferrals/flexible payment options
Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan is a good resource to learn about the federal help available for individuals and businesses in Canada. Business supports include financial aid to:
- Avoid layoffs through the Work-Sharing Program and wage subsidies
- Access credit through the Business Credit Availability Program, a guarantee on loans, the Canada Emergency Business Account, and more.
- Provide more flexibility through increased time to pay federal income taxes, and deferral of GST/HST payments until June.
- Maintain financial stability for businesses through the Insured Mortgage Purchase Program, Bank of Canada actions, and lowering the Domestic Stability Buffer.
- Give support to staff through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), improved access to EI, mortgage help, extra time to file tax incomes, bill payment deferrals, and more.
Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation: Recent CMHC updates about COVID-19
BC Hydro: COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program
ESDC: Employment and Social Development Canada: COVID-19 update
The ESDC develops, manages and delivers social programs and services, including Employment Insurance (EI) and the Work-Sharing Program; temporary special measures have been applied to both.
Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD): Support for Tourism Operators and SMEs
WD is one of the Regional Development Agencies tasked to keep Canada’s economy stable by assisting western small- and medium-sized enterprises through this difficult time.
Business Development Bank of Canada: Support for entrepreneurs impacted by the coronavirus COVID-19
Support includes small business loans, working capital loans, purchase order financing, and advisory service experts.
Canadian Bankers Association: Canada’s Six Biggest Banks Take Decisive Action to Help Customers Impacted by COVID-19
Bank of Montreal, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank and TD Bank have made a commitment to work with personal and small business banking customers on a case‑by‑case basis to provide flexible solutions to help them manage financial challenges.
COVID-19: First Nations Community Guide on Accessing Additional Supports
This page includes information on the Indigenous Community Support Fund, a $305 million new distinctions-based fund to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation communities.
First Nations Leadership Council
Accurate and timely information for all BC First Nations, including how to access financial support.
First Nations Health Authority
COVID-19 Information for Community Leaders
FNHA Advises Communities to Prepare for Possible Spread of Coronavirus
CHECKLISTS, GUIDES & TOOLS
BC Centre for Disease Control: Business Pandemic Influenza Planning Checklist
World Health Organization: Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19
Alliance of Beverage Licensees BC (ABLE BC): Free Downloadable Signs for Businesses
Download a sign to post in your establishment asking customers to stay 1-2 metres apart from each other and practice physical distancing.
Hotel Association of Canada: COVID-19: Information For Hoteliers
This page includes:
- Guidance for Employers to Plan & Respond to Coronavirus
- FAQ: Taking Care of Employees and Guests
- Temporary Guidelines for Modified Operations COVID-19
- Hotel Operating Procedures – Self-Isolation
Travel & Transportation
The Government of Canada is continually assessing travel risks for Canadians. An official global travel advisory is in effect: Avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice. In addition, a pandemic COVID-19 travel health notice with travel health advice for Canadians has also been issued.
Avoiding non-essential travel outside of Canada, includes to the US and aboard cruise ships, until further notice. Anyone who chooses to travel outside Canada must self-isolate for 14 days on their return, even if they do not present any symptoms.
Canadian travelers are advised to sign up with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service here to stay connected with the Government of Canada in case of an emergency abroad or at home.
The Government of Canada continues to monitor the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, and is constantly determining what new measures may be required to contain the spread of the virus.
Canada is denying entry to travelers who are not Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents. With some exception such as air crews and diplomats. Canadians who are displaying COVID-19 symptoms will not be able to board domestic flights or trains.
Incoming travelers who are permitted into Canada at this time will be health screened at all borders – land, sea and air. Air operators have been formally mandated to prevent any travelers with symptoms to board a plane at point of origin, meaning anyone who has symptoms will not be able to come to Canada.
Transport Canada is working to ensure the health and safety of Canadians, as well as the continuation and security of Canada’s transportation network during the COVID-19 situation so that goods — including food, medicine, medical equipment, and other necessities — continue to reach us. Learn more about the COVID-19 measures, updates, and guidance issued by Transport Canada, comprising Aviation and Cruise updates.
Learn about the latest in Aviation measures in response to COVID-19.
Most passenger air carriers have issued responses to COVID-19, emphasizing the approach to safety and flexible options in light of the current situation. For concerns about travel plans, refer to your airlines’ website for guidance and options.
YVR has implemented a number of health-screening measured as directed by PHAC, along with additional cleaning processes and procedures. You can find more information about measures underway at YVR here.
The Government of Canada will defer the start of the cruise ship season in Canada, from April 2, 2020, to July 1, 2020, at the earliest.
For updates from Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), including enhanced screening measures for cruise passengers and crew, and the 30-day suspension from U.S. ports of call, visit CLIA’s Press Room.
BC Ferries has issued an advisory to avoid non-essential travel until further notice.
- Anyone who begins to feel ill can seek medical attention at local hospitals or urgent care centres.
- Symptoms of COVID-19 include, but are not limited to, fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue and difficulty breathing.
- Note: In suspected cases of COVID-19, it is important to call ahead to the hospital, doctor or urgent care centre first for advice. Where language may be a barrier, businesses can provide support by offering to contact a health-care professional on their behalf.
- Those who suspect they might have COVID-19 symptoms, should provide health-care professionals with the following info (via phone):
- Where they have been travelling, working or living;
- If they had close contact with a sick person, especially someone with a fever, cough or difficulty breathing.
- For non-emergency situations only, call 8-1-1, or for the deaf and hard of hearing, call 7-1-1. This is a free-of-charge provincial health information and advice phone line operated by HealthLink BC. Translation services are available in more than 130 languages.
- In the event of an emergency, call 9-1-1.
- Find the nearest hospital or health centre here.
- Visit the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)’s website for the latest outbreak update on COVID-19.
- Visit the Health Link BC website for detailed information on COVID-19, including FAQs.
- Visit the BC Centre for Disease Control (BC CDC) website for the latest on how to prevent the transmission of diseases. Follow BC CDC on Twitter for regular updates: @CDCofBC
- Call the Health Canada COVID-19 information line: 1-833-784-4397. Interpretation services are available in multiple languages. Or email: email@example.com
- Follow Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, on Twitter: @CPHO_Canada
- Learn more about the British Columbia Pandemic Provincial Coordination Plan and Pandemic Preparedness in British Columbia.
- For the latest audio clips of COVID-19 media availabilities, visit the BC government on Soundcloud.
For non-medical information about COVID-19, including the latest information on travel recommendations and physical distancing, call 1-888-COVID19 or text 1-888-268-4319. Information is available in more than 110 languages, seven days a week, from 7:30 am-8 pm.
FAQs: Tourism businesses and accommodation
In partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, BC’s Ministry of Health, and other industry partners, we have created an FAQ. This will be continually updated, providing information from BC, national, and international partners to give you the information you need as it relates to travel and tourism. It will help you answer questions from your staff, visitors, and partners.
If you have additional tourism-related questions in regard to COVID-19, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be working with the appropriate officials to source up-to-date answers for you, so please be patient as we work to address your questions as quickly as possible.
Click here to view the Destination BC page (FAQs at bottom of page): www.destinationbc.ca/news/coronavirus-update