COVID-19 Resources for the British Columbia Golf Industry

Last Updated: February 1, 2022

The landscape in which the golf industry operates is continually changing and The AGA-BC will be keeping this page up to date with the latest support, benefits, health orders, tourism messaging, etc. The links and information below are intended as an overview to help golf operators stay up to date with changes to support programs, PHO regulations and guidelines, and operational best practices.

Current Focal Points for BC’s Golf Industry

As the BC golf industry begins to plan and prepare for the 2022 season, there is still much uncertainty. Recent spikes in transmission have prompted the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) to adjust recommendations and guidance, but the general trajectory of policy seems to be moving towards the relaxation of official restrictions and a call to individuals and businesses to consider the greater good in all decisions.

Fortunately, golf in British Columbia is perceived as a comparatively safe activity and golf courses have largely been applauded for the implementation of stringent safety protocols. If all golf operators continue to maintain best practices and reinforce the safety of our sport, there is hope that 2022 can be a banner year for the industry.

With the above in mind, it is important for golf operators to plan based on the current orders pertaining to masks, proof of vaccination to enter restaurants, bars and certain events, and limitations on the size of organized gatherings and events.
Golf courses are encouraged to stay up to date on the latest health orders and guidance by referring to the Provincial Health Officer’s COVID-19 page.

A Specific Note About Travel for Sport and Tournaments

At the time of publication, travel for sport and/or recreation is permitted within all areas of BC. Travel for sport outside of the province is, however, discouraged.

Confusion also arose in 2021 about tournament play – to help confirm that golf tournaments are a permissible form of activity, the following bullets have been adapted from the Province’s official messaging:

  • At this time youth (21 and under) tournaments of all types are permitted, as long as rules regarding masks and proof of vaccination are adhered to.
  • Adult team tournaments are not permitted, but this restriction does not include gatherings where adult team members compete individually against each other. Therefore, golf tournaments would be permissible, provided that they are individual play and not team-travel.
  • For additional information about tournaments and events, please refer to the Provincial Health Order regarding gatherings and events

Messaging Resources

While restrictions have been significantly relaxed since the peak of the pandemic, there are still guidelines and best practices that every operator should be following to ensure the safety of customers and staff. To help ensure we are all communicating a cohesive message across sectors, the tourism bodies in BC have coordinated a number of tools and resources to help ensure all businesses in BC are providing clear and consistent messaging – these resources pertain to local, provincial, national, and international guests and travellers.

One key message to reinforce is to remind all guests and staff to be calm, kind, and considerate of others as we progress towards a gradual re-opening. Posting the following materials throughout your facility can help nurture the inclusive and respectful environment we are all striving for:

Proof of Vaccine

As of October 24th, you must be fully vaccinated to access some events, services, and businesses – this means that visitors to certain businesses will have to have 2 doses. The complete list of businesses and services that this requirement applies to can be found on the Province of BC’s page.

Ongoing Information and Staying up to Date

Changes to restrictions and health orders may happen at any time, so the AGA-BC encourages all golf operators to stay up to date and stay current with the full versions of the health orders pertaining to the services the golf industry relies on, such as gatherings and events, food and liquor serving establishments, and travel restrictions. Golf businesses are advised to plan using the current guidance and best practices because even as the economy reopens, restrictions may revert to the stricter versions to address surges in more transmissible variants of COVID-19.

All golf industry owners, managers, employees, and industry partners should continue to review all available resources to ensure the continued implementation of COVID-19 best practices and prevention measures – to support this undertaking, the AGA-BC will continue to monitor and communicate updates here.

To that end, the Allied Golf Association of British Columbia (AGA-BC) has compiled the following summary of resources.

Sections of Information in this Article:


GOLF AND TOURISM ASSOCIATION LINKS TO COVID-19 INFORMATION:

British Columbia Golf Updates

Golf Canada Updates and Resource Page

National Golf Course Owners Association Canada (NGCOA) 

PGA of Canada COVID-19 Member Resource Hub – member login required

Tourism Industry Association of BC

Tourism Industry Association of Canada

Destination BC


GOVERNMENT RESOURCES:

Federal Government of Canada:
COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
Managing Your Business During COVID-19

Government of British Columbia: 
British Columbia’s Response to COVID-19
BC’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan
BC’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan
BC’s Health Regions – map

Ministerial Orders Relevant to the Golf Industry:
Ministerial Orders pertaining to Province-Wide Restrictions
*The above orders may contain items that currently supersede many items in individual orders for the duration noted.
Ministerial Order of the Provincial Health Officer for Food and Liquor Serving Premises
Ministerial Order of the Provincial Health Officer for Gatherings and Events
Travel Restriction Information

Provincial Programs, Information, and Support:
Digital Marketing Bootcamps – BC Government is covering tuition costs for BC Tourism Businesses
Small Business BC
COVID-19 Supports for Businesses (Province of BC)
COVID-19 Supports for Tourism Businesses (Destination BC)
COVID-19 BC Support App and Self-Assessment Tool – Download on the App, Get it on Google Play or visit the Self-

Signage and Resources:

WorkSafeBC:
COVID-19 Information and Resources
Exposure Control Plan* REQUIRED of every golf course in operation


FOR GOLF INDUSTRY BUSINESS OWNERS:

If you are currently operating:

Best Practices for BC Golf Operations Amidst COVID-19

WorkSafeBC’s Guide to What Employers Should Do

WorkSafeBC’s Guide Information and Resources

Support:

Government of Canada – Support and Programs for Businesses

Government of BC – COVID-19 Supports for Small Businesses in BC

BDC – How to cope with the effects of COVID-19 on your business

Federal Wage and Hiring Support Programs

The Federal Government’s Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) was a primary resource for businesses during 2021. This program has expired as of October 23, 2021, but the Federal government does have ongoing programs that may apply to certain businesses in BC.

  • Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program (THRP) – Wage
    Effective: October 24, 2021, to May 7, 2022
  • Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program (HHBRP) – Wage
    Effective: October 24, 2021, to May 7, 2022
  • Canada Recovery Hiring Program (CRHP)
    Effective: June 6, 2021, to May 7, 2022
  • Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)
    Effective: March 15, 2020, to October 23, 2021

The Government of Canada site also provides additional information about eligibility, payment amounts – Information about the program details can be found here: COVID-19 Wage and Hiring Supports

How to Apply

    • Eligible employers would be able to apply for Wage and Hiring Supports through the Canada Revenue Agency’s My Business Account portal as well as a web-based application.  Employers would have to keep records demonstrating their reduction in arm’s length revenues and remuneration paid to employees. 

Ensuring Compliance

    • Prime Minister Trudeau announced serious consequences for those who abuse the system with his funding announcement. 
    • In order to maintain the integrity of the program and to ensure that it helps Canadians keep their jobs, employers would be required to repay amounts paid under these programs if they do not meet the eligibility requirements.  Penalties may apply in cases of fraudulent claims and may include fines and imprisonment.

Emergency Rent Subsidies

The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) ended effective October 23, 2021 and was replaced by 2 new programs. 

  • Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program (THRP) – Rent
    Effective: October 24, 2021, to May 7, 2022
  • Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program (HHBRP) – Rent
    Effective: October 24, 2021, to May 7, 2022

More information about the these and other available support measures can be found in the Finance Department’s Rent and Property Support Page

Employment Termination / Lay-Off Resources:

  • Province of BC resources and information about terminations and layoffs
  • Employers must give notice and/or pay to end employment or temporarily lay off employees.
  • The amount of written notice and/or pay is based on how long an employee has been employed.
    • Employed for three months = one week of notice and/or pay
    • Employed for one year = two weeks of notice and/or pay
    • Employed for three or more years = three weeks of notice and/or pay, plus one week of notice/pay for each additional year of employment (to a maximum of eight weeks)
  • Temporary Lay-offs 
    • An employee is laid off when they’re given less work or no work – with the plan that the employee will return to a regular work schedule. If an employee’s hours are reduced, they are considered laid off as soon as they earn less than 50 percent of their weekly wages at the regular rate (averaged over the previous eight weeks
    • Temporary layoffs can only be up to 13 weeks in a period of 20 weeks. **Note: the extension to layoff periods due to COVID-19 has ended. More information about the various maximum length and recall date requirements can be found on the Government’s Extension of lay-off periods page
    • They are only considered temporary if the layoff is part of an employment contract or the employee agrees to the layoff.  You must have them sign a voluntary temporary lay-off agreement.
    • You do not have to pay out vacation nor statutory severance.
    • If the temporary layoff is longer than 13 weeks (or applicable duration based on the date of lay-off and special extensions), it becomes a termination of employment. The start of the layoff is the termination date and the employer must give pay for length of service based on this date

Record of Employment:

  • How to Complete the Record of Employment Form
  • If your employees are directly affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) and they are no longer working, you must issue a Record of Employment (ROE).
  • When the employee is sick or quarantined, use code D (Illness or injury) as the reason for separation (block 16). Do not add comments.
  • When the employee is no longer working due to a shortage of work because the business has closed or decreased operations due to coronavirus (COVID-19), use code A (Shortage of work). Do not add comments.
  • When the employee refuses to come to work but is not sick or quarantined, use code E (Quit) or code N (Leave of absence), as appropriate. Avoid adding comments unless absolutely necessary.

Supplemental Unemployment Benefit Plan – EI Top-Up:

Unpaid Job-Protected Leave:

Tax Changes:

Updated October 7, 2021 – Province of British Columbia’s tax and tax-related changes, incentives and benefits

Provincial changes include:

  • Deferral of payments on the Employer Health Tax (EHT), municipal and regional district tax, tobacco tax, motor fuel tax, carbon tax, and PST
  • Tax incentives for Employment and Select Machine Purchases
  • The province is cutting the school tax by 50% for light- and major-industry property classes, expecting the tax cut to be passed on to business owners with triple-net leases.

Other Initiatives: 


FOR GOLF INDUSTRY EMPLOYEES

Working within the COVID-19 Pandemic:

Financial Assistance:

  • Employment Insurance (EI) Regular Benefits
    • Apply for EI here
    • How much you could receive – We cannot tell you exactly how much you will receive before we process your application. For most people, the basic rate for calculating EI benefits is 55% of your average insurable weekly earnings, up to a maximum amount. As of January 1, 2021, the maximum yearly insurable earnings amount is $56,300. This means that you can receive a maximum amount of $595 per week.
  • Working While on EI
    • If you work while receiving regular EI benefits and have served your waiting period, you will be able to keep 50 cents of your EI benefits for every dollar you earn, up to 90 percent of the weekly insurable earnings used to calculate your EI benefit amount. This 90 percent amount is called the earnings threshold. If you earn any money above this threshold, we will deduct it dollar for dollar from your benefits.
    • If you received CRB Benefits you may not earn more than $38,000 in the calendar year – if your net income is more than $38,000, You will have to reimburse $0.50 of the benefit for every dollar of net income that you earned above $38,000
    • For either Regular Benefits or CRB, when you work and receive benefits at the same time, you must report your work earnings and hours for each week you work, in the week in which the work occurred.
    • For more information, visit the Working While on Claim and/or CRB FAQ.
  • Family Caregiver Benefits – As of September 27, 2020, additional allowances and access to EI Benefits have been added where individuals are required to provide care to a family member.
  • Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit – The CRSB provides $500 per week for up to a maximum of two weeks, for workers who:
    Are unable to work for at least 50% of the week because they contracted COVID-19;
    Are self-isolated for reasons related to COVID-19; or
    Have underlying conditions, are undergoing treatments or have contracted other sicknesses that, in the opinion of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, person in authority, government or public health authority, would make them more susceptible to COVID-19.

Additional Assistance:

The recent changes to the benefit programs and support measures create multiple options for employees who find themselves without work due to COVID-19. For more information about programs and eligibility you are encouraged to connect directly with government representatives to learn more about which options apply to your situation:

Government of Canada

Province of British Columbia

viaSport Guidance on Travel Restrictions for Sports in BC – April 2021

Courtesy viaSport

The arrival of spring means a new group of sports and leagues are getting underway. The following reminders apply to anyone conducting or participating in sport activities in British Columbia.

  • Without exception, all sport activities must follow the directives listed in the PHO Order on Gatherings and Events
  • As of November 2020, travel for children and youth sport or adult group sport is not permitted
  • This means that teams and groups of participants can only travel to their home club and that club needs to be close to the participants’ residence.
  • Travel that is not allowed includes:
    • a hockey player travelling from Vernon to Penticton to participate on their spring hockey team;
    • a softball player travelling from Kamloops to Vancouver to participate on their rep team;
    • a dancer travelling from Langley to Whistler to participate in a virtual competition.
  • Although most sport should be played within the participant’s community, there are some examples where an individual can travel short distances. For example:
    • a skier who is part of the local ski club can travel to their local mountain, which might be in a neighbouring community;
    • an archer may need to travel to a neighbouring community because their community does not have an archery club;
    • a high-performance athlete may need to travel to a nearby community to receive specialized training.
  • To minimize potential exposures to COVID-19, mandatory physical distancing and other restrictions are in place for all sport activities, including training and practice. All games, tournaments, league play and other competitions are on hold until further notice.
  • There may have been some uncertainty about which phase of the viaSport Return to Sport Guidelines we are currently in, leading to some sport organizations continuing to plan for competitive activities this spring. The Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, has confirmed that under the current Provincial Health Order, there should be no competition and no travel for sport.
  • The PHO’s guidance on travel for sport is directed at all sport delivery organizations, including, but not limited to, not-for-profit, for profit, education institutions and sport camps
  • Following the directives in the current Gathering and Events Order is not optional. Sport organizations that are in breach in of this policy may be subject to enforcement measures such as fines or loss of business licenses. These policies are in play in order to maintain the health and safety of our communities

As a reminder:

  • Under current restrictions, within a home club setting, training and practice for youth age 21 and under may continue, as long as:
    • participants maintain a physical distance of three metres from one another (no handshaking, high fives, hugging, etc.);
    • the focus is on activities that have a low risk of COVID-19 virus transmission;
    • there are no spectators present, unless to provide care (i.e. first aid) to a participant
  • The Provincial Health Order does not specifically address every individual situation. When interpreting the Order, please remember the intention of the Order is important. That intention is to stay local as much as possible. This will help to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities and keep sports safe.
  • Please refer to this link for further details on travel and sport from the PHO: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/info/restrictions