Downtown Williams Lake March 26, 2020. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

CHAMBER CHATTER: Navigating the future in response to COVID-19

A message from Williams Lake and District Chamber of Commerce president Vanessa Riplinger


Dear Chamber members,

In times like these, when we’re all feeling the economic impacts from COVID-19, we must keep in mind that safety must be our priority.

We have once again come together as a community, and we must work together to keep our health care workers protected.

The last week has upended our lives and the way we do business.

Read More:Taking time off work due to COVID-19 now falls under medical leave

First and foremost, our members are at the top of our minds and we wanted to let you know our next steps as we navigate our future.

The BC Chamber is in continual communication with federal, provincial and municipal officials.

We are encouraged by the federal government’s $82 billion federal economic response, in addition to their previously announced $10 billion of loan support through BDC and EDC.

The B.C. Government announced its $5 billion COVID-19 Action Plan for the Economy.

This will complement the $82 billion federal economic response package announced last week.

The provincial plan invests in services such as health care, help to provide monetary relief for workers and allocate $2.2 billion for businesses and recovery.

This action plan includes the extending of provincial tax filing and payment deadlines to Sept. 30, 2020, which applies to the Employer Health Tax, the provincial sales tax, municipal and regional district tax, the carbon tax and more.

The provincial carbon tax rate increase scheduled for April 1 will be delayed and reviewed. They will be cutting the school tax on the business property class as well as the light- and major-industry classes in half for 2020.

Read More: Ottawa seeking lower credit card interest rates amid COVID-19 crisis

The province also allocated $1.5 billion to support long-term economic recovery, once this pandemic has passed.

The BC Chamber has been working with all governments to ensure funds can flow to businesses and individuals.

Last week, the COVID-19 Cabinet was established. It is a group of like-minded organizations.

It is the hope of this group that it will serve as the voice of the business community.

We believe in the strength and resiliency of the Williams Lake and the Cariboo.

Please call with questions you have and we will do our best to help as we are in this together.

Stay safe.

Vanessa Riplinger

Vanessa Riplinger is the president of the Williams Lake and District Chamber of Commerce

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