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COVID-19 | Tourism Sector Update | April 2nd, 2020

Every week, the Canadian response to COVID-19 is rapidly changing and new announcements are made that will have particular effects on Prince Rupert's tourism sector. Tourism Prince Rupert is closely monitoring COVID-19's effects on our local tourism sector and will continue providing updates as they are announced. 

Tourism Prince Rupert's Recovery Strategy

Our mission at Tourism Prince Rupert is to successfully market Prince Rupert externally to strengthen economic viability for our members and the community. We have been working closely with our partners at Northern BC Tourism and Destination BC to develop a comprehensive recovery strategy for our local and regional tourism sector.  We are working with local and regional partners to develop a new marketing campaign that will be ready to market Prince Rupert's tourism offerings to locals who are looking for an adventure after months of isolation, and to regional residents looking for the perfect weekend getaway. We are working hard to be prepared for the minute restrictions are lifted, so our local tourism sector can bounce back quickly with strong marketing & enticing incentives. 

At this time, however, we are discouraging all travel to the region through our social media channels, website, and email mailing list. We will provide an update as soon as these restrictions are lifted. 

Local Updates

North Pacific Cannery Closed for 2020

On March 26th, 2020, the board of the Port Edward Historical Society decided to close the North Pacific Cannery for the 2020 season. The site will be fully closed to the public until the 2021 summer season.
The City of Prince Rupert is continuously updating any local advisories or closures related to COVID-19 on their website. For a complete list, visit: http://www.princerupert.ca/covid19

Prince Rupert's local MLA, Jennifer Rice, has also developed a resource with up-to-date information on the Provincial Government's response to COVID-19. To view this resource, visit: http://jenniferrice.ca/covid19/

On April 2nd, Tourism Prince Rupert submitted a formal letter to the City of Prince Rupert's Mayor and Council asking for increased collaboration and consultation with Tourism Prince Rupert regarding advisories or closures in the tourism sector as a result of COVID-19.
Tourism Advisories & Updates
Industry Updates

Destination BC has released a list of key resources for the Tourism Sector in BC.

You can also view Destination BC's 3-phase response to help support the tourism sector in the immediate future and in the aftermath of COVID-19
 HERE.

The Tourism Industry Associations of BC and Canada have also been working to advocate for tourism-specific supports and stimulus packages in the wake of COVID-19. Please see below the most recent updates from their advocacy work:
  • The TIAC welcomed news that the government is implementing a key recommendation from the Canadian Airports Council, supported by TIAC in its letter to Minister Morneau, dated March 16: government will be waiving rents for a number of airport authorities across the country. The announcement will apply to 21 airport authorities, with comparable treatment for PortsToronto (operator of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport), from March until December 2020. This is expected to represent savings of $330 million. 
  • Originally announced yesterday by the Prime Minister, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) will subsidize 75% of the first $58,700 of salaries for qualifying businesses from March 15 until June 15. While few details are known at this time, the PM stated that to qualify, businesses will have to show a 30% decline in revenue due to COVID-19. 
  • The Prime Minister also announced a $2 billion package to Canadian companies shifting operations to manufacturing much-needed medical equipment, including ventilators, personal protective equipment, medical apparel, and other tools to help the medical community do their job more effectively.
For more information on their work, please visit: 
Update on Sport & Charter Fishing

There has been some speculation and a number of questions about closure of the sports fishing sector for the 2020 season. To clarify, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has jurisdiction over sports fishing, and they have not notified us of any closures to date. Under the current provincial orders, municipalities do not have the ability to authorize sports fishing closures. The provincial government has issued the following guidelines regarding fishing and hunting at this time:

Specific guidance for angling and hunting activities, including but not limited to:
  • Only fish and hunt with members of your family or others you are living with
  • Maintain physical distancing (2 metres or 6 feet) from other individuals you come across.
  • Do not share vehicles with individuals outside of your family or others you are living with.
  • Fish and hunt locally.
  • Wash your hands frequently, especially around communal areas such as boat ramps, gates, etc.
  • Adhere to all travel advisories and self isolation requirements.
  • Adhere to all municipal, First Nation community, provincial and federal closures (e.g. parks, infrastructure, etc.).
  • Many BC Parks and recreation sites are closed. It is suggested to check ahead.
  • If you are not confident you can meet all of these conditions, please postpone your trip.
You can access the latest COVID-19 update from DFO here: https://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/covid19/industry-industrie/index-eng.html

Click here to read a letter from MP Taylor Bachrach (Skeena-Bulkley Valley) and MP Gord Johns (Courtenay-Alberni) to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans asking for sport fishing licenses to be restricted to provincial residents only. 

Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada Launches COVID-19 Stimulus Fund
The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) recognizes that during these uncertain times, its shared singular focus for 2020-2021 must be on COVID-19 recovery and preparing for future tourism seasons. Because of this, ITAC has created the COVID-19 Development Stimulus Fund, dedicated to addressing the impact of COVID-19 on Indigenous tourism businesses by affecting positive change.

The overall goal of this program is to assist in providing relief for Canadian Indigenous tourism businesses that are being affected by the impacts of travel restrictions and physical distancing recommendations. This program will allow businesses to prepare for future tourism seasons by allowing them to focus on things like market awareness, training qualified staff and designing sustainable business growth strategies.

To learn more, visit: indigenoustourism.ca/corporate/tourism-development-funding-support-program

Please note that the following tourism-specific travel advisories are also in place:
  • Note that all Air Canada flights from Prince Rupert (YPR) to Vancouver (YVR) suspended from March 26th to April 30th. The Northwest Regional Airport in Terrace remains unaffected at this time. Air Canada has issued a response to COVID-19 here.
  • WestJet has issued a response to COVID-19 here.
  • Transport Canada: Cruise season delay announcement.
  • Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has announced an update to the February 7 guidelines for cruise passengers and crew. The additional enhanced screening measures in response to COVID-19 are effective March 4, find them here.
  • Destination Canada has cancelled Rendez-vous Canada 2020. find the full statement here.
  • Find the Vancouver Convention Centre’s update on COVID-19 here
  • The following parks & trails in Prince Rupert are closed indefinitely:
    • Prudhomme Lake Provincial Park
    • Diana Lake Provincial Park
    • Kitson Island Marine Provincial Park
    • Rushbrook Trail
    • McClymont Trail
    • All municipal parks & playgrounds, including Sd52 school playgrounds
Federal & Provincial Advisories
Federal Response: On Friday, March 27th, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a number of new measures, including: 
  • 75% wage subsidy for small to medium sized businesses to keep employees on payroll so workers are supported and the economy is positioned to recover from COVID-19 crisis. This is updated from the earlier 10%, and backdated to March 15. Learn more about the Emergency Wage Subsidy Program.
  • Canada Emergency Response Benefit is still accessible for entrepreneurs.
  • Businesses struggling with cash flow can access Canada Emergency Businesses Account – 40K loans guaranteed by government for qualified businesses, interest free for the first year, with up to $10,000 forgivable.
  • Additional $12.5B through Export Development Canada and Business Development Canada to help small to medium sized businesses with operational cash flow requirements.
  • Option to defer GST and HST payments and duties and taxes owed on imports until June (equivalent $30B interest free loans to businesses).
Review the Government of Canada's complete COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

The Government of Canada is also continuously updating their COVID-19 Information Page, which includes a self-assessment tool if you think you might be sick, updates on the number of cases in Canada, and more. 

Other important updates from the Government of Canada:
The federal government has also outlined a number of measures aimed at protecting Canadians and promoting social distancing:
  • Canada will deny entry to travellers who are not Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents. Some exceptions apply. Update: the Canada-US border has now been closed to all non-essential travel.
  • Air operators have been formally mandated to prevent any travellers with symptoms to board an aircraft at point of origin to Canada.
  • International passenger flight arrivals will be redirected to four airports: Vancouver International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Montréal-Trudeau International Airport, and Calgary International Airport.
  • All Parks Canada locations are now closed indefinitely.
  • Canadians are strongly recommended to avoid non-essential travel outside Canada, including to the US. Anyone who chooses to travel outside Canada must self-isolate for 14 days on their return.
  • Canadians are advised to practice social distancing to prevent further virus spread.
 
Provincial Response: The Provincial Healthy Authority is currently reporting that every health region in British Columbia has patients with COVID-19: 476 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 348 are in the Fraser Health region, 67 are in the Island Health region, 107 are in the Interior Health region and 15 are in the Northern Heath region. 

Read the latest update from BC's Health Authority.

On March 26th, the Provincial Government issued an order suspending all local states of emergency in BC. 
Read more about the Province of BC's latest order.


Read a summary of the Province of BC's COVID-19 Action Plan
  The Provincial Government has also issued the following advisories:
  • Gatherings or events larger than 50 people are not permitted in British Columbia until further notice. This includes indoor and outdoor sporting events, conferences, meetings, religious gatherings and other similar events. 
  • Casinos, including community gaming centres and bingo halls, are closed until further notice.
  • All Provincial Parks are now closed indefinitely.
  • Bars and clubs are unable to meet the requirements for social distancing and are therefore closed until further notice.
  • All personal service businesses, including nail salon & hair salons, massage, & physiotherapy, have been asked to close. 

The Province of BC has also created a dedicated phone service to provide British Columbians with non-medical information about COVID-19, including the latest information on travel recommendations and social distancing. Information is available in more than 110 languages, seven days a week between 7:30 am-8 pm:
 
1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319) or via text message at 1-888-268-4319.
 
Other Helpful Resources: 
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

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