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Downtown Victoria's Business Buzz: What you need know when doing business in downtown Victoria.

Good afternoon DVBA members,

We at the DVBA know this is an unprecedented time for business and property owners. Again, I want to assure you that we are laser-focused on ways we can support you now and through to recovery.
Below is a quick roundup what our team is working on: 

First, we are advocating in several ways for financial support for our members and your staff: 
  1. We successfully lobbied for the City to review its budget. Any activities that will now not occur should be removed from the budget. We are urging corresponding cost savings be passed directly on to reduce property taxes.
  2. We were also part of the efforts to have government delay collection of various taxes. Now, we are calling for a postponement of property tax.
  3. We are calling on senior levels of government to provide direct financial aid to small and medium businesses so they can remain viable during the crisis. Many simply can not take on more debt, especially when we do not know when recovery will start. As such, we need the government step in to help both commercial tenants and commercial landlords to remain viable.
Effectively immediately, our Clean Team is focused on three key areas: 
  1. Sanitizing and cleaning all transit stops in downtown
  2. Staying on top of graffiti to ensure the area continues to feel safe for people
  3. Being extra eyes on the street, especially in back alleys, and looking for signs of criminal activity or break-ins and reporting accordingly.
The DVBA has placed all our communications efforts in two immediate areas:
  1. Regular information to our 1,500 members on emerging issues and resources
  2. Constant consumer-facing marketing, including online, social media and paid advertising, promoting ways the public can support our businesses  
Other activities: 
  1. The DVBA is currently connecting on a daily basis with the City, Chamber of Commerce, Destination Greater Victoria, and other business groups in the city
  2. We participate daily on conference calls connecting various sectors of our economy with each other in an effort to coordinate information flow and share best practices among businesses
  3. The DVBA is connecting with the International Downtown Association to gain insights on how Business Improvement Associations can best support the local economy both in the short-term and through recovery.
Wishing you all well, 

Jeff Bray
Executive Director
Downtown Victoria Business Association
jeff@downtownvictoria.ca
D 250-386-2239 | C 250-217-9461
In this issue... 
  1. Suggestions for Your Storefront from the VicPD
  2. Tiny Victoria Small Business Relief Fund 
  3. Pro-bono Tech and Marketing Support - YYJLocalsforLocals
  4. News Highlights for Downtown Businesses 
VicPD Suggestions for Your Vacant Storefront
Vacant shops may be vulnerable to criminals, especially with less foot-traffic around downtown. Here are a few simple tips from the VicPD to keep your space safe: 
  • Remove any items that might prompt thefts. 
  • Remove all cash and leave tills open to discourage unnecessary damage from someone searching for money.
  • Regularly check on your business to confirm it remains secure.
Tiny Victoria Small Business Relief Fund
The team at Tiny want to help local small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Many otherwise healthy businesses have hit desperate cash crunches, and the Tiny team hopes to help them make it through this period of uncertainty.

Tiny is committed to making a ton of small 0% non-recourse loans to Victoria-based small businesses. They can't help everyone, but they may be able to help you! 

Submit your request with some information about your business, your situation, and what you need. 
Request a Loan
YYJLocalsforLocals

The four organizers of the YYJLocalsforLocals project have assembled a team of volunteers to support local businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Victoria is such a great place to live because of the amazing restaurants, bars, breweries, coffee shops, and unique local retailers. The overall goal of the project is to help make sure that when this is over and everyone is safe and healthy, all those great places will still exist.

YYJLocalsForLocals offers eight main services, listed below. Any small business in the area can request one of these services through the website located at yyjlocalsforlocals.com.

Some of our pro-bono services:

  • Help designing merch to drive sales
  • Building a single-page website (landing page)
  • Write a message about how your business is handling COVID-19
  • Email design to send to your customers
  • Social media post or ad copy & design
  • Help setting up gift card sales on your website
  • Marketing help to promote your delivery service
  • Help setting up a subscription box service
Go to YYJLocalsforLocals.com
News Highlights for Downtown Businesses
BC Government: COVID-19 Action Plan
  • Businesses with a payroll over $500,000 can defer their Employers Health Tax payments until Sept. 30, 2020. Those businesses with payrolls under this threshold are already exempt from the tax.
  • Business and light- and major-industry property classes will see their school tax halved, providing $500 million in immediate relief for business property owners and their tenants.
  • It includes a freeze on most evictions and rent increases, as well as a monthly rebate of up to $500 for struggling renters.
  • Top up to BC climate action credit – this will go to up to 86% of people – this will come through filing taxes
  • Tax filing and payment deadlines have been extended for the provincial sales tax (PST), municipal and regional district tax and carbon tax until Sept. 30, 2020. The scheduled April 1 increase to the provincial carbon tax will be delayed and reviewed by Sept. 30, 2020
  • Making further announcement today at 9:30, I'll watch & pass along key points. 
Trudeau says financial supports on the way as government revamps COVID-19 benefits program
  • Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) offers income support for up to 16 weeks to those who lose pay because of the pandemic. available to wage earners, contract workers and self-employed people who don't qualify for employment insurance (EI).
  • The online portal to apply for CERB will be available in early April, and people can expect payments within 10 days. CERB payments will be issued every four weeks, and will be available from March 15, 2020 to Oct. 3, 2020.
  • redeploying 1,300 staff from other departments to process the [EI] claims and to handle queries from Canadians
 Hospitals across Canada face COVID-19 'storm'
  • Given it takes up to 14 days for symptoms of COVID-19 to appear, it is too early to tell how much of an effect the physical distancing measures and closures are having in Canada.
  • "This is not something that we can relax after two weeks," he [Dr. Michael Gardam, Humber River Hospital Chief of Staff] warned.
The Downtown Victoria Business has been working with the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce and the City of Victoria to ensure there is an easily-available website specifically for businesses to get the most up-to-date information on federal, provincial, and municipal programs available to you. This website will be regularly updated and provides relevant business-related information pertaining to COVID-19. 
Check out the page now
Copyright © 2020 DOWNTOWN VICTORIA BUSINESS ASSOCIATION, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
20 Centennial Square
Victoria, BC, V8W 1P7
 


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