VANCOUVER (May 13, 2020) – Official Opposition Leader Andrew Wilkinson has sent a letter to government recommending bold actions to support British Columbia’s struggling hospitality industry to immediately help restaurant owners and their workers as they look to reopen soon.
“Half of all independent restaurants aren’t expecting to survive the devastation of COVID-19 and 120,000 restaurant employees are out of work right now in our province. These people need help now,” said Wilkinson. “Governments of all levels need to throw these businesses a lifeline so tens of thousands of British Columbians can safely start working again.”
Wilkinson’s letter calls for the government to:
· extend existing provincial liquor approvals for increased patio or outdoor space;
· double the tax deduction for business related meals to 100%;
· expedite permitting of patio and outdoor dining areas for food and liquor service;
· permanently allow restaurants to deliver alcohol;
· follow other provinces in creating a small business hardship grant, and;
· allow restaurants and bars to purchase liquor at wholesale prices from any liquor store.
“Nearly one in ten restaurants has already closed its doors for good and more are likely to close permanently soon, so we need to act now,” added Wilkinson. “Hundreds of thousands of people are out of work in this province and countless restaurants, bars, and hotels are at risk of never reopening. Now is the time for ideas and bold actions to get these businesses up and running again while protecting the safety of both workers and customers.”
The measures suggested in today’s letter supplement the earlier calls from the BC Liberal caucus for broader economic actions such as temporary PST relief, a commercial rent relief plan, and the need for funding for businesses and non-profits to secure personal protective equipment.