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COVID-19 Weekly Tourism Sector Update
 

May 14th, 2020

 

Tourism Prince Rupert is committed to supporting the resiliency & recovery of our local tourism industry. Learn more about the work of Tourism Prince Rupert by visiting our corporate website at the link below.
 
Visit the Tourism Prince Rupert Website
TPR COVID-19 Resource Page

Updated Travel Guidelines for May 2020

Though some recreational facilities will begin to reopen in mid-May, the provincial health authority is still recommending that all non-essential travel outside of your home community be postponed. Please stay within your home community and do not travel to recreation properties or other communities for leisure.

In Wednesday's announcement, BC residents were reminded that they shouldn’t plan to travel for the May long weekend, nor should road trips to other communities be planned during Phase 2. Once provincial health officials see further evidence that the curve has flattened, they will start to look at allowing more regional travel.

Those travelling to BC for essential services will still need to abide by the 14-day self-isolation requirement. Late summer, when it is predicted that we will have moved into Phase 3, was noted as a better time for residents to plan on visiting other communities in BC.

Beginning on May 14, 2020, those BC Parks, recreation sites and trails that can accommodate physical distancing will re-open for day use. This will include day-use sites and protected areas.

Parks and recreation sites that can safely provide existing service levels, such as garbage disposal and washroom facilities, will do so. These facilities will be cleaned more frequently.

Click here to read the complete plan.

Some areas and facilities remain closed, including playgrounds, picnic shelters and visitor centres. Check BCParks.ca for the most up to date information.

Camping at provincial parks and recreation sites will reopen beginning June 1, 2020 with some exceptions. BCParks.ca will carry information about the status of camping in provincial parks.

B.C. is currently entering Phase 2 of the Restart Plan, which includes:
  • small social gatherings;
  • a resumption of elective surgeries and regulated health services like physiotherapy, dentistry, chiropractors and in-person counselling;
  • provincial parks open for day use;
  • opening more non-essential businesses in keeping with safe operations plans;
  • recalling the provincial legislature for regular sittings.
The target date for the start of Phase 3, which will include opening up of additional businesses and services, is between June and September, if transmission rates remain low or in decline.

Phase 4 will only be achieved when the threat of COVID-19 has been significantly diminished through widespread vaccination, broad successful treatments, evidence of community immunity, or the equivalent.
 

Charter & Recreational Fishing Guidelines

The Sports Fishing Institute of BC is reviewing specific public fishery guidelines and protocols with Worksafe BC and the PHO at this time. The guidelines will be made available, distributed, and posted on the SFI site as soon as possible.

Fishing is permissible during Covid restrictions as it was acknowledged to be an essential service and activity. 

However, the health and safety guidelines must be followed and adhered to. If you cannot meet all the COVID-19 orders and guidance to fish or hunt safely, do not go fishing or hunting.

  • Only fish and hunt with members of your household
  • Stay 2 metres (6 feet) from other people you come across
  • Do not share vehicles with individuals outside of your household
  • Fish and hunt locally
  • Wash your hands often, especially around communal areas such as boat ramps, gates, etc.
  • Follow all travel advisories and self isolation requirements
  • Follow all municipal, First Nation community, provincial and federal closures (e.g. parks, infrastructure, etc.)
  • Do not fish outside of your home community.
The above guidelines apply also to charter fishing operations, until new guidelines are approved by WorkBC and distributed by the Sports Fishing Institute of BC.

The status of restrictions will change over time, so  please check in at the Provincial website, Fishing and Hunting Covid-19 Updates periodically.

Visit the Sports Fishing Institute of BC's COVID-19 update page. 

Guidelines are developing and evolving across Canada. See the Keep Canada Fishing website page dedicated to Fishing during Covid-19.

Small Business Recovery Task Force

The Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Prince Rupert, and the City of Prince Rupert’s Economic Development Office are pleased to announce their partnership on a Small Business Recovery Task Force. The purpose of the Small Business Recovery Task Force is to work collaboratively and efficiently to advocate for relief and find solutions to support our local stakeholders.
Meeting weekly, representatives from Tourism Prince Rupert, the Prince Rupert & District Chamber of Commerce, and the City of Prince Rupert’s Economic Development Office are able to share concerns and feedback from each sector and develop shared action items to address with the relevant levels of government or local business.

The Small Business Recovery Task Force has already been hard at work advocating for specific relief measures communicated by local stakeholders. To support recovery efforts, the City of Prince Rupert has announced it would be waiving the $350 fee for restaurants to open sidewalk patios this summer, in order to allow for more tables spaced out to meet social distancing requirements. This request was brought forward by the Task Force after communication with local restaurant owners. On the tourism side, the City of Prince Rupert has also agreed to offer a complete refund for all seasonal charter fishing business licenses, for those operators who elect not to operate this season. 

Read the complete statement. 

Resources for Re-Opening After COVID-19

BC’s restart plan has set the stage for a phased return to normal operations. As you prepare to ramp up operations or reopen your business, you may need to adjust your existing occupational health and safety program to make sure you are protecting both workers and guests against COVID-19.

The provincial government has tasked WorkSafeBC with developing guidelines for businesses to operate safely in the current environment. As the Health and Safety Association for BC’s tourism and hospitality industry, go2HR is liaising with WorkSafeBC, industry associations, Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture, RDMOs and TIABC to assist tourism industry employers with the development and implementation of appropriate COVID-19 Safety Plans for their individual businesses.

Individual businesses will not be required to submit COVID-19 mitigation plans to WorkSafeBC, but they will be required to post their plans publicly to create accountability and confidence. Compliance with these plans will be enforced by random checks and an investigation of complaints by Public Health and WorkSafeBC.

Businesses will not be required to open as of a certain date. Individual businesses will need to consider their own circumstances, as well as those of their employees and customers, and not all businesses will find that it makes sense to re-open given restrictions around physical distancing. BC restaurants are aiming to resume dine-in service beginning June 1st.

Note: WorkSafeBC "will not be reviewing or approving the (health and safety) plans of individual employers, but during a WorkSafeBC inspection, they will ask employers about the steps they have taken to protect their workers. You must ensure that workers understand the measures you are taking to reduce the risk as many will have concerns about returning to work. Involve them in the planning process as much as possible to ensure their concerns are heard and addressed." 
See WorkSafeBC's article COVID-19 and returning to safe operation for more details.

Read Go2HR's Best Practices template for tourism businesses

Read more about opening after COVID-19

Destination BC's Recovery Marketing Program

Beginning mid-May, Destination BC will focus on hyper-local marketing to encourage people to #exploreBClocal – to be a tourist in their hometown and to support the small tourism businesses that are the foundation of our industry – all while adhering to the provincial health directives that are in place to protect us all. Further details on these campaigns will be released in the coming weeks.

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)

This new program will provide funding to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are unable to access the government’s existing support measures, including Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs), and access to capital for rural businesses and communities. 

This new Fund, officially launched today (May 13, 2020), is being delivered by Regional Development Agencies (RDA) across the country to help organizations continue their operations and position themselves for a successful recovery. 

Funding amounts vary by RDA, and fall under two categories.
  • $675 million to support regional economies, businesses, organizations and communities in regions all across Canada;
  • $287 million to support the national network of Community Futures Development Corporations, which will specifically target small businesses and rural communities across the country.
 
More information on the fund can be found here.

Northern BC Tourism Resiliency Program

The Northern BC Tourism Resiliency Program will provide Northern BC tourism businesses with meaningful, one-on-one support to access and navigate programs available as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the help of a program manager, tourism businesses will have support to develop a tailored relief plan, with support accessing the various support programs now available from the provincial & federal governments, as well as other tourism-specific resources. 
 
Register for the NBC Tourism Resiliency Program
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For up to date information on the effects of COVID-19 on the tourism sector in British Columbia, please visit https://www.destinationbc.ca/news/coronavirus-update/
 
Tourism Prince Rupert will be working hard to provide you with email updates regarding any new advisories or support programs as they are announced.

Please note we are only providing new information each week. For access to our past newsletters, please visit our Newsletter Archive page.

If you have any questions, please contact:

Ceilidh Marlow
Executive Director, Tourism Prince Rupert
Phone: 778-361-0440
Email: ceilidh@visitprincerupert.com
Copyright © 2020 Tourism Prince Rupert, All rights reserved.


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