BC Liberals call for supports for businesses impacted by restrictions

BC Liberals call for supports for businesses impacted by restrictions
Nicholas Pescod/CHEK News

The BC Liberals are calling on the B.C. government to implement support programs for businesses impacted by the new COVID restrictions.

The provincial government announced a series of new restrictions Tuesday that include requiring bars, nightclubs, gyms, fitness centres and dance studios to close until Jan. 18, 2022.

No financial support was announced, but Ravi Kahlon, minister of jobs, economic recovery and innovation, said on social media that support for businesses will be shared soon.

Shirley Bond, interim leader for the BC Liberals said the business support programs should have been announced at the same time as the new restrictions.

“Small businesses across British Columbia have been battered during the pandemic, and many of them are barely holding on,” Bond said. “So today, what the government should have done, if they were adding additional restrictions, they should have announced programs of support at the same time. Otherwise, businesses sit for the next number of weeks wondering what kind of support they’re going to get.”

The B.C. government previously provided financial support to businesses impacted by the province-wide lockdown last April. Those supports included an emergency benefit that provided a tax-free $1,000 payment to British Columbians whose ability to work has been affected by the pandemic, as well as reducing commercial property tax bills.

Bond said the provincial government should reopen those same programs.

“Why on earth would they not have announced support at the same time as restrictions that are going to impact those businesses again? Would they simply not have reassured those business owners to say programs will be reopened, you’ll get the same type of support that you had previously.”

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