BC event industry urges state to reopen after being denied government support

A struggling wedding and event company says British Columbia’s current COVID-19 rules do not add up and is asking the state to allow a safety-planned indoor wedding reception.

Paige Petriw, owner of Spotlight Events, Open letter To the British Columbia government, which emphasized that the $ 1.2 billion wedding event industry has been ignored and denied funding.

With revenues in the wedding event industry plummeting 70-90% since March 2020, some British Columbia operators are currently facing bankruptcy or have already sold their homes to survive. Petriu says.

“When a wedding or event is closed, the impact on our industry will be at least 6-12 months beyond the blockade,” she said in a letter. “You can’t survive with another shutdown.”

Under the present State health orderIndoor venues such as restaurants and hockey stadiums can operate at 50% capacity, but indoor-sponsored events such as weddings and funerals are not allowed.

“It’s very frustrating and devastating, it’s just a policy contradiction,” Petriu told The Epoch Times. “The government has basically closed the market. We are completely left behind.”

The event company is not ordered to be completely closed and can continue to operate outdoors and is not eligible for BC’s COVID-19 Closure Relief Grant Program.

However, demand for winter outdoor weddings and special events is negligible compared to the rest of the year, the company says.

Pacific owner Kirsty Provins said: Fairy tale, children’s event company.

January 19th, the government Said We have extended our relief program and doubled our financial support to eligible companies ordered to close until 16 February. Eligible companies include indoor event venues, gyms, fitness centers and bars that had to be closed and canceled. A nightclub that does not provide a complete meal.

The Ministry of Employment and Economic Recovery and Innovation said in an email that the grant program aims to complement the existing federal government’s COVID-19 project support. Increased revenue from pandemics.

“We know this is a very difficult time for businesses, especially for businesses that are directly affected by recent public health measures,” the ministry said.

According to Petriu, with only federal support, the wedding event business is sufficient to keep the lights on and the dismissed staff cannot be rehired.

“Our industry here in British Columbia is essentially obliged to shut down at the discretion of the state government,” she said. “We are affected by it disproportionately and should be disproportionately supported.”

The British Columbia government said its representative and the office of Dr. Bonnie Henry, a state health officer, regularly meet with event departments and wedding planners to address their concerns.

However, the event company that spoke with The Epoch Times said it was not involved in recent discussions with the government.

Liting Chan, owner of Paradise Events, a Burnaby-based wedding design and planning company, said: “Our industry is punished because it is mostly made up of small and medium-sized enterprises that are not supported by large organizations.”

Mr Chan said the government did not consider the nature of the event business. When the state’s COVID-19 policy changes, wedding planning can take 8 to 18 months, unlike restaurants that can be reopened immediately.

Chan said many couples canceled, postponed, or significantly reduced guest invitations due to continued restrictions of nearly two years.

When the restrictions were relaxed last summer, Chan held several weddings with an average guest size of 50, starting from about 250 before the pandemic began. She says her confidence is rocking when it comes to new customers booking weddings this year and 2023, most of them less than 100.

According to Petriu’s letter, the industry will meet with the Ministry of Health to outline plans to allow event companies to “operate professionally managed indoor events and rallies under specific guidelines and restrictions.” I am asking.

The industry’s top priority is for governments to clearly define professionally controlled events and non-professional personal gatherings.

“We don’t just have a party in your backyard,” Petriu said. “We want to work with the government to run professionally controlled events in venues that are already tightly regulated by state health authorities.”

The Epoch Times asked the Ministry of Health about plans to safely reopen the event industry, but did not respond by the press time.

The rally size restrictions will expire on February 16th.Health Minister Adrian Dix said CBC radio On February 7, the state is now on track to identify those who have been mitigated or lifted. He added that not only hospitalization, but also the positive test rate is declining.

On February 4, Dr. Teresatam, Canada’s Director of Public Health, said there was a need to find a more “sustainable” way to deal with the pandemic. This includes reviewing existing COVID-19 policies, such as restrictions and vaccine cards.

Petriu said he agreed with Tam’s remarks. The event industry is calling on British Columbia to provide a clear path to social events in the coming months.

“As long as the restrictions on health order for organized events and gatherings continue to reverse, we will not begin to recover,” Petriu’s letter said.

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