Livestock competitions have been part of the Pacific National Exhibiton for more than a century. (Maple Ridge News files)

Livestock competitions have been part of the Pacific National Exhibiton for more than a century. (Maple Ridge News files)

B.C. provides $50 million to keep major tourist attractions going

Tour bus companies also eligible for latest COVID-19 aid

With uncertainty continuing for a second COVID-19 summer ahead, the B.C. government is opening applications for a $50 million fund for major attractions and tour bus operators to keep them going until they can welcome tourists again.

The program offers up to $1 million for operations with 150 or more employees, and up to $500,000 for smaller attractions and tour bus companies. Tourism Minister Melanie Mark said applications are opening Tuesday and will be accepted until June 7 for anchor attractions such as the Pacific National Exhibition, the Butchart Gardens in Vancouver, museums, amusement parks, science centres and other visitor landmarks.

Premier John Horgan said the funding is in grants, not loans, and can be used for fixed costs such as payroll, rent and utilities that have accumulated for businesses during more than a year of pandemic restrictions.

Horgan said the relief is designed to help attractions prepare for an easing of non-essential travel. The B.C. government is preparing an announcement next week for a phased return to recreational travel that will lay out a timeline for what provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has termed “Restart 2.0.” It will start after the “circuit breaker” restrictions on indoor dining and recreational travel are lifted, some time after the May 24 holiday.

“But I want to stress for people that we set the May long weekend as a target for the circuit breaker because we need to make sure we reduce cases, we see hospitalizations go down and we increase our vaccinations,” Horgan said May 18. “We’re right on track, but we’re not out of the woods yet, and I don’t want to give false hope until we get through the weekend and we look at the data and then we’ll be laying all that out very clearly for the public at that time.”

The PNE has said it needs $8 million to survive for another year. Horgan said it and other not-for-profit operations are the main targets for the program, and the PNE is looking to the city of Vancouver for further assistance.

“We’ve seen a decline in case counts, the seven-day rolling averages are very positive, the impact on hospitalizations and acute care is very positive, so I’m optimistic that come the summer, we’re going to be having full mobility,” Horgan said.

RELATED: ‘Stay local’: B.C. tourism groups back latest travel ban

RELATED: Vancouver says PNE needs $8 million to survive COVID-19


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureBC politicsCoronavirus

Just Posted

Traffic will be diverted through Radium along highways 93 and 95 as a part of the closures. (Claire Palmer photo)
Extended closures to Trans-Canada Highway announced east of Golden this fall

It’s the second round of extended closures as a part of Phase 4 of the Kicking Horse Canyon Project

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Photograph By MICHAEL POTESTIO.KTW
Former Kamloops security gaurd wants job back after kicking incident caught on video

Rick Eldridge quit when a video surfaced of him kicking a man outside a facility for homeless

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

People participated in a walk to honour the 215 children found at a former Kamloops residential school, as well as residential school survivors. (Twila Amato/Black Press Media)
Kelowna marks National Indigenous Peoples’ Day with walk to remember Kamloops 215

“Let’s speak the truth and deal with the truth, and heal.”

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Most Read