Business in Vancouver: Closing time: B.C. businesses brace for the worst from pandemic

March 24, 2020
Colin Wong


Canada’s economic response plan is set to deliver up to $27 billion in direct support to workers and businesses. Some $15 billion of that is earmarked for the enhancement and expansion of employment insurance. Another $55 billion in tax referrals will bring some temporary cash flow relief to businesses and families. Canada’s Big Six banks are also offering mortgage payment deferrals for up to six months.

“I think our national government is responding [in] a pretty meaningful way to this unprecedented shock,” Jock Finlayson, chief economist at the Business Council of British Columbia, told BIV. “Whether it’s going to be enough in the circumstances, I think, is more debatable.”

Those circumstances are changing hourly, and measures critical to addressing what B.C. has now declared a public health emergency will bring further economic impact. Businesses with primary liquor licences have been ordered closed throughout the province. Restaurants in Vancouver must close or offer takeout only. Events are cancelled, theatres are dark, recreational facilities are closed and non-essential travel postponed.

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