During these times of uncertainty please stay safe and healthy, Gastown! Please keep in mind this is a fluid and rapidly changing situation.
At this time, due to low transmission in BC, all levels of government have recommended that business can continue providing efforts are made to keep a one metre distance as often as possible. There are no recommendations at this time at adjusting operating hours for your business.
- Support your Employees.
No employer should feel like they have to lay off a worker because of the virus, and no one should have to worry about their job if they have to be quarantined. That’s why the Government of Canada’s $1 billion COVID-19 Response Fund goes towards support for employers and workers through the Work-Sharing program, and by waiving the one-week waiting period for Employment Insurance sickness benefits.
- Financial Implications and Business preparedness
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce, as well as Business Development Canada, has developed helpful and comprehensive guides to help you with planning and preparedness.
- Business Travel and Event
Companies should consider the impacts of international travel on their operations. Canada has several active travel health notices for COVID-19 for countries around the world. These are updated regularly based on ongoing risk assessments.
Read here for more details on the above.
- Workplaces and communities should be practicing social distancing.
- Restaurant reservations are down to 33%.
- As of March 1st, business on the books for air reservations made until the end of the year for flights to Vancouver is down by -5.2% overall. Priority markets of concern include Australia, Germany, Japan, Mexico, and China.
- March and April are expected to experience sharp declines in bookings (-22% for the month of April). China is particularly affected because of the continued travel advisory and flight cancellations.
- Group travel and VFR (visiting friends and relatives) are more heavily impacted overall
- Local organizers can expect that Chinese, Japanese and Italian nationals will not be travelling to attend global events, due to travel and other restrictions
- It is important to note that wherever possible events are being rebooked rather than cancelled, however in-house hotel conventions are experiencing some cancellations.
- Globally, business travel is anticipated to slow due to corporate travel policies putting restrictions in place.
- Gatherings of more than 50 people were also being banned
- Whenever possible, booking agent and cruise lines are working collaboratively to encourage re-bookings (rather than cancel trips
- On a positive note, the Port of Vancouver has accepted 10 additional sailings for 2020 as of late February. While international bookings are declining, we may see a possible increase in both domestic and U.S. passengers. The cruiseship season has been deferred but not cancelled.
Checking for symptoms
If you or someone you know is experiencing possible COVID-19 symptoms, call your local primary care provider or 8-1-1. Those who are deaf or hard of hearing can call 7-1-1. You can also conduct an initial self-diagnosis at the provincial government’s HealthLinkBC page.
Whether it is a public health issue, natural disaster, or other emergencies, it is important to be prepared and ensure you have an up-to-date business continuity and disaster recovery plan. Here are some other resources to assist you in your planning.
Information and Planning Sources
- Assessment of the local situation — Vancouver Coastal Health
- Assessment of the global situation — World Health Organization
- Government of Canada’s latest information
- B.C. Centre for Disease Control virus update
- Screening Measures at YVR
- Destination BC virus update
- British Columbia Pandemic Provincial Coordinator Plan
- Resources for Canadian businesses (Trade Commissioner Service)
- Support for entrepreneurs impacted by the coronavirus COVID-19 (BDC)
- Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) – Employment and Social Development Canada (Government of Canda)
- Business Preparedness Checklist COVID-19 (GVBOT)
- Business Pandemic Influenza Planning Checklist (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Resources for Small Businesses during COVID-19 (Small Business BC)
- Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19 (World Health Organization )
- PreparedBC: Guide for Small Business (Government of B.C.)
- Crisis Communications Plan (Canadian Chamber of Commerce)
- Business Continuity & Recovery Plan (Canadian Chamber of Commerce)
- Does Your Force Majeure Clause Cover the Coronavirus? (MPI)
- Support for Restaurants (BCRFA)
- COVID-19 resources for foodservice operators (Restaurants Canada)
- Keeping you and your employees safe (CFIB)
Templates and Tools
- PreparedBC: Emergency Plan for Small Businesses (Government of B.C.)
- Webinar: Coronavirus (COVID-19): Managing the impact on global supply chains (EDC)
- Business continuity plan and templates for entrepreneurs (BDC)
Dedicated Number for Immediate Access to Employment Insurance Benefits
The one-week waiting period has been waived for employees who are in quarantine or who are ordered to self-isolate. Employees in quarantine who wish to get the one-week waiting period waived are to call: 1-833-381-2725.