COVID-19 Resources for the British Columbia Golf Industry

Last Updated: August 9, 2021

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.

In addition to the recent PHO updates, effective August 9th, Canada will allow entry to fully vaccinated American citizens and permanent residents (currently residing in the U.S.) for leisure travel. Fully vaccinated travellers also do not need to quarantine if they meet the additional requirements, as detailed on the Government of Canada’s website.

The most recent provincial update, as provided on August 6th, addressed changing circumstances in specific regions and reinforced that the BC Restart Plan is on track in the current Step 3. BC’s Restart Plan is a four-step process that will see restrictions relaxed in phases – we encourage all operators to check back regularly to stay on top of updates.

At this time, we are in Step 3, which is in effect from July 1st until further notice (September 7th at the earliest). During this stage, the orders pertaining to indoor dining at restaurants and indoor gatherings have been further relaxed and recreational travel is permitted within BC and Inter-Provincial Travel is once again permitted.

While restrictions have been significantly relaxed, there are still guidelines and best practices that every operator should be following to ensure the safety of customers and staff. With full tee sheets across the province, doing our part and keeping our fellow golfers safe is critical. To help ensure we are all communicating a cohesive message across sectors the tourism bodies in BC have coordinated a Toolkit to help businesses navigate Step 3 from July 1 until further notice and provide messaging and customer communications.

The BC Restart Plan also provides a number of resources to help remind all guests and staff to be calm, kind, and considerate of others as we progress through Step 3 of BC’s Restart Plan. Posting the following materials throughout your facility can help nurture the inclusive and respectful environment we are all striving for:

If we all continue to do our part, we can look forward to moving into Step 4 of the Restart Plan as early as September 7th. 

Changes to restrictions and health orders may happen at any time, so the AGA-BC encourages all golf operators to stay up to date on the overarching 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.

This means that in order for courses to maintain the level of operations we are currently working within, the AGA-BC will continue to monitor and communicate updates. All golf industry owners, managers, employees, and industry partners should continue to perform due diligence as well in regularly reviewing all available resources and links, ensuring the continued implementation of COVID-19 Protection – Best Practices for Responsible Operation of BC Golf Courses and golfers adherence thereto, so that we are all in the best position to continue safe and healthy operations.

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

Canadian Society of Club Managers

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

NEW for BC’s Restart Step 3: July 1 until further notice – Messaging Guidance for BC’s Tourism Industry (Destination BC)

NEW for August 9th Border OpeningMessaging Guidance for US Visitors (Destination BC)


GOVERNMENT RESOURCES:

Federal Government of Canada:
COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) – Benefits and Services
Managing Your Business During COVID-19

Government of British Columbia: 
Province-wide restrictions remain in place and a four-step restart plan has been introduced – 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. E.g. regional restrictions
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:
BC’s Four-Step Restart Plan
Digital Marketing Bootcamps – BC Government is covering tuition costs for BC Tourism Businesses
Small Business BC
BC’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan
BC’s Restart Plan
BC’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan
COVID-19 Supports for Businesses
Provincial Small and Medium-sized Business Recovery Grant
COVID-19 Provincial Support and Information
Managing COVID 19 Stress, Anxiety and Depression
COVID-19 BC Support App and Self-Assessment Tool – Download on the App, Get it on Google Play or visit the Self-Assessment Website
Signage and Resources:

WorkSafeBC:
COVID-19 Information and Resources
COVID-19 Safety Plans are no longer required in Step 3 – businesses can transition to a communicable disease prevention plan. Click here to learn more about communicable disease planning
Exposure Control Plan* REQUIRED of every golf course in operation
Restaurants, Cafes and Pubs: Protocols for Returning to Operations
Retail: Protocols for Returning to Operations
Office: Protocols for Returning to Operations


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

WorkSafe BC’s information regarding the transition from COVID-19 Safety Plans to Communicable Disease Prevention in Step 3 of the restart plan

Support:

Government of Canada – Support and Programs for Businesses & Canada Emergency Rent Support

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

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

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (75% Subsidy)

The Federal Government has proposed an extension to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) through to October 23, 2021. (Information and How to Apply).

The CEWS site also provides additional information about eligibility, payment amounts – Information about the program details can be found here: Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Updates and Eligibility

The important details from the Government’s current legislation:

  • Extended the program, with redesigned program details – noting that there is a further extension being considered that would mark October, 2021 as the new end date. Please review the official eligibility and rate information here:
  • Make the subsidy accessible to a broader range of employers by including employers with a revenue decline of less than 30 percent and providing a gradually decreasing base subsidy to all qualifying employers. This would help many struggling employers with less than a 30-per-cent revenue loss get support to keep and bring back workers, while also ensuring those who have previously benefited could still qualify, even if their revenues recover and no longer meet the 30 percent revenue decline threshold.
  • Introduce a top-up subsidy of up to an additional 25 percent for employers that have been most adversely affected by the pandemic. This would be particularly helpful to employers in industries that are recovering more slowly.
  • Address certain technical issues identified by stakeholders.

How to Apply

    • Eligible employers would be able to apply for CEWS 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 the CEWS if they do not meet the eligibility requirements.  Penalties may apply in cases of fraudulent claims and may include fines and imprisonment.

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy

The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy provides a subsidy of up to 65% for eligible expenses. This support measure is based on revenue decline and uses a sliding scale to determine the level of subsidy received. The program mirrors the structure of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and more information about eligibility and definitions of eligible expenses can be found on the Department of Finance’s dedicated CERS page.

Lockdown Support for Businesses Facing Significant Public Health Restrictions

Further to the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, the federal government also introduced further support for businesses affected by significant impacts as a result of public health restrictions. For an organization to qualify for the Lockdown Support the following conditions must apply:

  • the organization qualifies for the base Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy; and
  • the public health order requires that the organization
    • completely shut down the location; or,
  • cease some or all of the activities at the location and it is reasonable to conclude that the ceased activities, in the appropriate pre-pandemic prior reference period, were responsible for at least approximately 25 percent of the revenues of the entity at that location.

More information about the Lockdown Support can be found in the Finance Department’s Lockdown Support Announcement

Canada Emergency Business Account – Applications CLOSED but applications submitted prior to June 30th are still being processed

The Canada Emergency Business Account was implemented to provide interest-free loans of up to $60,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced.
To qualify, these organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019.
Applications were being accepted until June 30, 2021 and it is worth noting that repayment prior to December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 33 percent (up to $20,000)

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. **However, if the layoff is due to COVID-19 the layoff can be extended to up to 12 months, depending on the start date of the layoff. 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 July 29, 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.

Launch Online Grant Program – Applications CLOSED but applications submitted prior to the closing date may still be in process

March 17th, The Province of British Columbia announced a $30million expansion to the Launch Online grant program. This initiative will pay for up to 75% of eligible expenses, up to a maximum of $7,500 per business for eligible businesses to develop or enhance their online storefront. This biggest change for BC golf courses is that the eligibility has been expanded to include online booking systems, not just online storefronts.

Grant recipients can use the funding for a variety of online-related expenses, including pictures, creating an online inventory system, advertising costs, subscription costs of an e-commerce platform and training staff to manage the website.

More information about the program can be found on the Launch Online website.

Other Initiatives: 


FOR GOLF INDUSTRY EMPLOYEES

Working within the COVID-19 Pandemic:

Financial Assistance:

  • Canada Response Benefit – Updated Aug 2, 2021
    From the Government of Canada Website: “The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are directly affected by COVID-19 and are not entitled to Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. The CRB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Depending on when you start applying for the CRB, you can either receive $1,000 ($900 after taxes withheld) or $600 ($540 after taxes withheld) for a 2-week period.”
  • 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 vs Working on CRB
    • 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 are receiving 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