Businesses that had been ordered to close Dec. 22, 2021, as a means of limiting the spread of COVID-19’s Omicron variant are now eligible for grants of up to $20,000 – double the amount announced one week ago.
The provincial government put out the notice Jan. 19 on the heels of an announcement earlier this week that the closure period has been extended until Feb. 16, which is almost a month later than the previously anticipated reopen date of Jan. 18.
All bars, lounges and nightclubs that do not serve full meals and event venues that are no longer holding events that had been ordered to fully shut down can now apply for relief grants between $2,000 and $20,000, depending on the number of employees on staff at the time of closure. Previously, the grant range was $1,000 to $10,000.
Eligible fitness facilities and gyms that were previously closed at the same time as the other businesses are now permitted to reopen, per the announcement this week, and those businesses will still only be able to apply for grants up to $10,000, depending on staff numbers.
"It's fair to say that the Omicron variant has created new challenges for all of us, but our government's commitment to support people and businesses through this latest COVID-19 wave is unwavering," said B.C.’s Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation Ravi Kahlon. "While we are encouraged to see that many fitness activities will now be able to take place in a safe, controlled environment, we know there are still sectors directly impacted by these public health measures.
“Our government will continue to support these businesses, as we have in the past. Together, we can move closer to putting this pandemic behind us."
The amount of funding available for the each business is based on the number of employees and contracted staff at the time of closure, as follows:
- No employees or contracted staff: $2,000
- 1 to 4 : $4,000
- 5 to 99: $10,000
- 100+: $20,000
More than 3,000 businesses are expected to receive funds from the grant program, which has a total commitment from the government of $14 million. This is a $4 million increase over the original $10 million committed previously.
Applications will be accepted until Feb. 28. Businesses can apply online here.