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COVID-19 – DAILY BULLETIN: March 23, 2020

The District of Clearwater continues to encourage people to STAY HOME.  This is the best way to help your community flatten the curve and slow the virus.  This is crucial action that MUST be taken to help our health care system weather this crisis.  Please think twice about leaving your home.

Physical distancing MUST also be adhered to.  When in public, people are asked to keep 2 meters or 6 feet apart.  Wash your hands frequently.  With the warmer weather, people should get outside but not in groups.  Go outside as a family and walk but not as a group.  Be mindful of your community exposure.  These are critical times and community support is deeply appreciated.

The District of Clearwater would also like to extend appreciation to the businesses that are able to remain open and are implementing the health guidelines as established by the Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Henry.  We have many good people working hard to deliver essential services in Clearwater and their innovation to serving customers safely is an important part of the flattening the curve effort.

Together we will get through this difficult times.  Please refer to the District website for more information including a wide range of links to other government services that are available for those impacted by COVID-19.

OTHER NEWS:  State of Emergency
In order to coordinate with the Provincial government, the District of Clearwater will fall under all directives of the Province as it relates to a State of Emergency.  This includes business operations.  As per current directives, unless specified by the Province or the Provincial Health Officer (this includes sit down service at restaurants, hair salons and other), all businesses are encouraged to stay open and follow best health practices.  This includes physical distancing of at least 2 meters (6 ft) and implementing stringent and continued hand washing practice.  Businesses that welcome the public are asked to implement safe measures to facilitate the physical distancing and to be vigilant with cleaning and sanitizing.  This is particularly important with pin pads.

These are difficult times for business and we recognize the lengths that business owners are going to keep things moving.  We have compiled a list of resources that could be useful to you in these times.  These links include information on layoffs, small business stimulus packages, EI information and more.  No doubt, as the days pass by, more and more supports will become available.

We do encourage businesses to document their current business level so that there is a baseline economic story.  As we learned in the wildfires, documenting your business case BEFORE COVID-19 is paramount to presenting a business case for the losses and outline eligibility for stimulus packages.  Prepare your numbers now so that you can be prepared quickly once programs are rolled out.

The District of Clearwater appreciates all that you do.  These are most difficult times but we hope that if we can build the firewall, we can mitigate impact as best possible.

– Total of 472 COVID-19 cases in British Columbia
– Total provincial deaths resulting from COVID-19 is 13 people.
– Every health region in BC has patients with COVID-19

  • Vancouver Coastal Health – 248
  • Fraser Health – 150
  • Island Health – 39
  • Interior Health – 30
  • Northern Health – 5

Of the above, 33 are currently hospitalized and 14 are in intensive care.

Positive News:  100 patients have recovered and remaining people who have tested positive for COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation

Quote by Dr. Henry:  “The gravity of the situation cannot be overstated, and everyone must do all they can to support our efforts break the chain of transmission and flatten the outbreak curve.  Our health-care workers are at the heart of our pandemic response and they face the added risks of exposure both in the community and at work.”  It must be stressed that the best thing people can do is to STAY HOME.

Online assessment: www.bccdc.ca – an excellent resource for those that have questions

For non-health questions about COVID-19 call 1-888-COVID-19 or visit: www.gov.bc.ca/covid19

PREMIER HORGAN / MINISTER OF FINANCE – Highlights of Press Conference

Government announces $5 billion in income supports, tax relief and direct funding for people, businesses and services impacted by COVID-19

Focus is on health and safety and to give immediate relief to people and businesses

$2.8 billion to help people and fund the services they need to weather the crisis;  of this, $1.1 billion to boost the income of people affected by by COVID-19

$2.2 billion will provide relief to businesses and help them recover after the outbreak.

A new B.C. Emergency Benefit for Workers will provide a tax-free $1,000 payment to British Columbians whose ability to work has been affected by the outbreak. The benefit will be a one-time payment for British Columbians who receive federal Employment Insurance (EI), or the new federal Emergency Care Benefit or Emergency Support Benefit as a result of COVID-19 impacts. This includes workers who have been laid-off, who are sick or quarantined, parents with sick children, parents who stay at home from work while child care centres and schools are closed, and those caring for sick family members, such as an elderly parent. The workers can be EI-eligible and non-EI eligible, such as the self-employed. The benefit will be paid to B.C. residents, in addition to their federal income supports.

The COVID-19 Action Plan takes further steps to boost income supports by increasing and expanding the B.C. Climate Action Tax Credit in July 2020.  Eligible families of four will receive up to $564 and eligible individuals will receive up to $218 in an enhanced payment. This boosts the regular climate action tax credit payment of up to $112.50 per family of four and up to $43.50 per adult.

The action plan provides $1.7 billion for the critical services British Columbians need which includes investments in housing and shelter supports, income and disability assistance programs and crucial health services, such as funding for the BC Centre for Disease Control hotline, quarantine costs, lab tests and work underway at the First Nations Health Authority and the United Way’s Better at Home program for seniors.

Licensed child care providers staying open will receive enhanced funding to keep operations going. These centres are eligible to receive seven times their average monthly operating funding from government, which is expected to cover approximately 75% of a group facility’s average monthly operating expenses.

To help people with B.C. student loans, the Province is freezing B.C. student loan payments for six months, starting March 30, 2020. Federal student loan payments are being frozen as well.

British Columbians needing more time to pay their bills can also apply to existing payment deferral programs at ICBC and BC Hydro.

ICBC is extending deferrals to up to 90 days.

People dealing with job loss, illness or loss of wages due to COVID-19 may also qualify for BC Hydro’s Customer Crisis Fund grant program for up to $600.

Effective immediately, businesses with a payroll over $500,000 can defer their employer health tax payments until Sept. 30, 2020.

Businesses with a payroll under this threshold are already exempt from the tax.

Tax filing and payment deadlines for the provincial sales tax (PST), municipal and regional district tax, tobacco tax, motor fuel tax and carbon tax delayed until Sept. 30, 2020.

The scheduled April 1 increase to the provincial carbon tax, as well as the new PST registration requirements on e-commerce and the implementation of PST on sweetened carbonated drinks, will be delayed and their timing will be reviewed by Sept. 30, 2020.

Business and light- and major-industry property classes will see their school tax cut in half. This will provide $500 million in immediate relief for business that own their property and allow commercial landlords to immediately pass savings on to their tenants in triple-net leases.

The Province has allocated $1.5 billion for economic recovery.

Learn More:
For information on B.C.’s COVID Action Plan and other government resources and updates, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/covid19

To learn more about Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html

Protecting jobs during difficult times: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020LBR0012-000551

For non-medical information relating to COVID-19, call 1 888 COVID-19

For more information on how B.C.’s COVID-19 Action Plan helps people and businesses, visit: http://news.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/bc-takes-steps-to-support-people-businesses-during-covid-19-pandemic

For the latest videos and livestreaming of COVID-19 media availabilities, visit: https://www.facebook.com/BCProvincialGovernment/

To view tables of epidemic curve and age distribution, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Epidemic_Curve_Age_Distribution_March_20_2020.pdf

For the latest videos and livestreaming of COVID-19 media availabilities:
on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BCProvincialGovernment/
on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BCGovNews