COVID-19: Smithers and Area Business Updates

Check out the Smithers and District Chamber of Commerce's Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/SmithersChamber/ for Related Closures and Operating Hour Changes to Smithers and Area Businesses and other useful information

 

May 5, 2020 Resources

 

March 26, 2020 Smithers District Chamber of Commerce COVID-19 Message

In the midst of continued uncharted global pandemic territory, we must take a pause to appreciate and recognize our businesses and entrepreneurs. While many of us have had to make small adjustments in daycare and schedules, (some on a bigger scale than others), these businesses and service providers have been blindsided. These individuals have been forced to make difficult decisions to protect our health and safety by closing their business and livelihoods. Essential service providers are risking their own health and safety everyday to support our basic needs and keep elements of our economy moving.

Inspired by the city of Vancouver, at exactly 7pm everyday, individuals around Canada are taking to their decks and the street corner to loudly and proudly cheer for essential services! Canadians are proudly showcasing bright hearts on their businesses and homes. We are seeing businesses support their community back with kind gestures, gift cards, contests and positive messages.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO TODAY TO SUPPORT YOUR COMMUNITY?

  • Message a favorite business with a note of appreciation and gratitude!
  • Purchase a gift card to use later
  • Shop Local! There’s no time like the present to support e-commerce platforms!
  • Help a neighbour in need: check in! Collaborate with neighbors and friends to check in on the most vulnerable in our community
  • Make a financial donation to a community service organization
  • Hang hearts and cheer loud at 7pm!

We appreciate everyone who is having to self-quarantine and isolate. This is an incredible act of social solidarity! Collectively, Canadian’s are sacrificing so we can give our health care system and essential services a fighting chance. So amid the chaos and closures, try not to lose sight of the broader goal of these preventative actions. We are asking everyone to open their hearts (#heartsofsmithers) and be mindful of the needs and challenges facing others. Let’s continue to think of safe ways to continue to interact and support our amazing community! #wereallinthistogether #heartsofsmithers #smitherscares

 

March 26, 2020 Supports for Small Businesses

Here is an excellent resource link put together by Small Business Branch, Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Competitiveness (JEDC).  Part of the broader economic development arm of team government.

This is another excellent informative resource in addition to the BC Chamber links that have been sent out.

COVID-19 Financial Supports for Small Businesses *this document link will be updated as more updates and measures come.

 

March 24, 2020 An Update from the Smithers District Chamber of Commerce & BC Chamber of Commerce

BC Government Listens to Urgent Business Feedback

Dear Chamber Members,

We heard you.

As you may know, today the BC Government announced a COVID-19 Action Plan, which includes $5 billion allocated for programs that support businesses, workers, and economic recovery. We know you’re eager to gain more clarity on how to access these initiatives, and the province will provide these details soon. In the meantime, here are the major points:


FOR BUSINESSES

Employer Health Tax
– Effective immediately, businesses with a payroll over $500,000 can defer their employer health tax payments until Sept. 30, 2020.

PST – Extending tax filing and payment deadlines for the provincial sales tax (PST), municipal and regional district tax, tobacco tax, motor fuel tax and carbon tax until Sept. 30, 2020.

Carbon Tax – The scheduled April 1 increase to the provincial carbon tax, as well as the new PST registration requirements on e-commerce and the implementation of PST on sweetened carbonated drinks, will be delayed and their timing will be reviewed by Sept. 30, 2020.

Property Tax – We shared with the government that property tax relief would be helpful for businesses right now. The government responded by cutting the provincial school tax on property in half for a total savings of $500 million for commercial and industrial businesses in Class 4, 5 and 6.

FOR INDIVIDUALS

B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers
One time tax-free $1000 payment for those British Columbians who receive federal Employment Insurance (EI), or the new federal Emergency Care Benefit or Emergency Support Benefit.

Expanding B.C. Climate Action Tax Credit
Eligible families of four will receive up to $564 and eligible individuals will receive up to $218 in an enhanced payment.

As many as 86% of British Columbians will see some extra money from this enhancement.

FOR PUBLIC SERVICES

Non-Profits, service delivery agency and child care providers – $1.7 Billion will go towards investments in housing and shelter supports, income and disability assistance programs and crucial health services.

Student loans – the Province is freezing B.C. student loan payments for six months, starting March 30, 2020. Federal student loan payments are being frozen as well.

Deferral programs – such as ICBC and BC Hydro. ICBC is extending deferrals to up to 90 days.

This announcement was directly informed by the COVID-19 Business Impact Survey conducted by our BC chamber network and partners, which ran from March 13-18.

Businesses said they need immediate relief and flexibility on tax remittance, specifically the EHT and PST. Today, the government promised deferred payments on these taxes, and many others, until September 30th, 2020. We also shared with government that property tax relief would be helpful for businesses right now, and they responded by cutting the provincial school tax on property in half for commercial and industrial businesses in Class 4, 5 and 6.

The BC Government also announced further wage replacement programs, as our network requested, including a tax-free, one-time payment of $1,000 to those whose ability to work has been affected by the outbreak. This benefit will be aligned with the enhance EI eligibility put forward by the federal government.

While this isn’t yet a panacea to the crisis our members face – today’s announcement will help you work through your business continuity and contingency plans. We know you’re eager to gain more clarity on how to access these initiatives, and the province will provide these details tomorrow.

Premier Horgan said that today’s announcements are “just the beginning,” so it’s imperative you keep using your voice. Sign up for BCMindReader.com to participate in future surveys. We’ll be using this platform to continue to ask what you need, so we can advocate to government on your behalf.

The BC Chamber of Commerce has created a page of resources for businesses affected by COVID-19. We’ll continue to update you as new resources and supports are added.

You’re not in this alone.

Smithers District Chamber of Commerce & Your BC Chamber Team

*Please reach out if you have further questions or require clarification
info@smitherschamber.com, 250.847.5072
 

March 19, 2020 Smithers Visitor Information Centre Closure

As of tomorrow Friday March 20, 2020, we will be closing the Smithers Visitor Information Centre. Despite taking all precautions to keep our centre open, we feel temporarily closing is the best decision to protect the public and ourselves.

Thanks for your understanding and please reach out if you have any questions or concerns.

Sheena Miller
Manager, Smithers District Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 2379
Smithers, BC  V0J 2N0
Phone:  250-847-5072   Fax: 250-847-3337 F
Email:  info@smitherschamber.com
Web:  www.SmithersChamber.com

 

March 18, 2020 Destination BC Update

Thank you for keeping your Destination BC Visitor Services team up-to-date with the decisions you are making regarding the adaptation of your operational hours or the closure of your visitor centre in response to how you are providing visitor services in your community. You should all be commended for the care and concern you are showing for your employees, visitors, and communities during the COVID-19 situation. 

As of today, we have been informed that the following visitor services teams have temporarily closed their brick-and-mortar locations due to COVID-19.

Please note that this list is evolving and may be out-of-date by the time you read it. Please also note that this list does NOT include our seasonal Visitor Centres as they were not open at this time of the year anyways.

If you are a year-round operation that has closed your brick-and-mortar location, but do not see your Visitor Centre name of this list, please let me know:

  • Northern BC:
    • Prince George
    • Prince Rupert
    • Terrace
    • Tumbler Ridge
    • Fort Nelson
       
  • Thompson Okanagan:
    • Valemount
    • Sicamous
    • Trail
    • Penticton
    • Kelowna
    • Kamloops
    • West Kelowna
    • Merritt
    • Peachland
    • Keremeos
    • Grand Forks
    • Christina Lake
    • Enderby
    • Osoyoos (effective March 19)
    • Oliver
       
  • Vancouver, Coast & Mountains:
    • Harrison Hot Springs
    • Vancouver
    • New Westminster
    • Chilliwack
    • Hope
    • Mission
    • Sechelt
    • Gibsons
    • Sidney
    • Whistler
    • Richmond
    • North Vancouver
    • Abbotsford
       
  • Vancouver Island:
    • Salt Spring Island
    • Port Hardy
    • Campbell River
    • Mill Bay
    • Parksville
    • Powell River
    • Sooke
    • Qualicum Beach
    • Ladysmith
    • Gabriola Island
    • Nanaimo
    • Sidney
    • Port McNeill
    • Ucluelet
  • Kootenay Rockies:
    • Revelstoke
    • Invermere
    • Radium Hot Springs
    • Rossland
    • Trail
    • Enderby
    • Creston
    • Nelson
    • Kimberley
  • Cariboo Chilcotin Coast:
    • Quesnel

We can see that our visitor services teams are being proactive and taking innovative approaches in continuing to provide visitor services to those that may still be coming to your Visitor Centre. Some examples include:

  • Signage on doors and windows indicating alternative ways of connecting to you and/or receiving information – digital, social media, phone calls, websites, video, or at alternative locations within your community
  • Social Media posts on your channels indicating closures and offering alternatives
  • Provision of wifi passwords so visitors can access wifi outside your doors, if available
  • Maps, QR codes, websites indicating where nearby washrooms are located
  • Information about where visitors can find more information about COVID-19 and travel, including https://www.hellobc.com/what-you-need-to-know/

We are also hearing that while some Visitor Centres remain open, they have introduced methods of ensuring social distancing protocols are adhered to.

I encourage you to logon to the new Network Engagement Portal (the NEP) where there is already some useful sharing of information, including a few examples of signage, regarding COVID-19 and visitor services in the Discussion Forum. Search COVID in the search window and you will see the results.

Take good care everyone. We are here for you if you have any questions. As always, for more information and to find a repository of resources, go to destinationbc.ca/news/coronavirus-update, and check back often for updates.

"For the latest information related to COVID-19, and how Destination BC is supporting industry, please visit our corporate website for updates."