The South Surrey and White Rock Chamber of Commerce is applauding the announcement of a new provincial grant to help businesses adversely affected by the ‘Circuit Breaker’ COVID-19 health orders introduced on March 30.
The measures placed a three week moratorium on use of public business spaces until April 19, restricting restaurants and coffee shops to take-out and patio-only service.
On Thursday (April 8) the province announced a more than $50 million fund, the Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant, which will provide affected businesses with up to $10,000 in one-time funding to help with such expenses as rent, insurance, employee wages, maintenance and utilities.
“We have been asking for more streamlined support that goes directly to the business owners and programs that include new businesses that have opened during the pandemic and are often ineligible for government support,” chamber executive director Ritu Khanna said.
“It is good to see that this new grant takes some of those points into consideration.”
The grant can also be used to help cover unexpected costs that resulted from the restrictions, such as the purchase of perishable goods, she noted.
At the time the orders were issued, Khanna was critical of the lack of warning businesses had received, while generally supporting the importance of measures taken to protect the health of customers and staff.
It’s estimated that some 14,000 restaurants, bars, breweries, wineries, gyms, and fitness centres province-wide have been affected by the health orders.
More praise for the new funding came from BC Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Fiona Famulak.
“Today’s announcement of the Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant signals that government heard our network’s feedback, (and) understands the impact felt by businesses in the last 10 days, and the need to respond quickly,” she said.