A second round of pandemic-related health measures will add more financial pain to owners and employees of restaurants, pubs, fitness firms and others.
All indoor dining and group fitness classes (along with indoor worshipping) is prohibited until at least April 19 due to a spike in COVID-19 cases and a rise in the more contagious variants of the disease.
While deferring to expert health advice is understandable, it is acceptable to question the hows and whys and what nows connected to this latest decision.
The BC Liberals are rightly calling on the provincial NDP government to act now to provide financial support for those businesses impacted — businesses that have been struggling since the pandemic was declared a year ago.
The decision to ban the aforementioned indoor activities came with a mere 11 hours’ notice to those running restaurants, pubs and fitness classes. Like the last-minute decision to order venues closed early on New Year’s Eve, this latest surprise is a gut punch to a beleaguered industry.
COVID-19 cases have been rising steadily for some time; surely the provincial government could have alerted those affected to this announcement last week.
We echo the BC Liberals’ call for the government to immediately adjust the small- and medium-sized business recovery grant program by speeding up the application and approvals process and by easing the eligibility criteria.
In addition, these businesses need financial help now, not in a few weeks’ time, when it just may be too late for some.