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March 17 2020

COVID-19 Advisory

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.

Key considerations

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Trends

  • 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.

RESOURCES

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

Business

Checklists

Guides

Templates and Tools

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.