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Local MLAs to host tourism town hall regarding COVID-19 impacts and recovery

MLA for Kootenay East Tom Shypitka and MLA for Columbia River-Revelstoke Doug Clovechok are set to host a town hall to discuss current difficulties and possible recovery strategies within the tourism industry.

“There is no doubt that British Columbia’s tourism industry is facing challenges due to COVID-19. Tourism operators, many of them small businesses, have faced many hardships that will require government’s immediate attention,” said a letter sent out by Clovechok and Shypitka.

Residents within both ridings are invited to join on the virtual meeting via Zoom with the MLAs to discuss concerns over the struggling tourism sector.

“During this pandemic, businesses have been hit really hard, and tourism is a sector that has been hit especially hard. In the south-east corner of our province, in Kootenay East, tourism is a big deal, and we’re a destination spot for a lot of folks,” said Shypitka. “We want to make sure that small businesses and the tourism sector is being looked after and that we can implement and transition safely and soundly and with confidence.”

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According to Shypitka, there are about 180,000 workers in restaurants and hospitality, and around 140,00 are out of work.

“We want to get those employees back into the workforce and we’re trying to get those businesses up and running. We’re trying to send a signal to the rest of the economy that we’re ready to go, but there’s a lot of roadblocks in place,” said Shypitka.

Shypitka said that recent data looks grim for the future of small businesses if they are unable to reopen.

“The Small Business Association did a survey and they basically came to the conclusion that most small businesses, those mom and pop shops that you see all around, have about another 30 days of resources to sustain themselves. So, if this goes on any longer, they anticipate about a 50% closure of some of these businesses,” explained Shypitka.

The public is invited to bring testimonials, comments, questions and ideas regarding the tourism sector’s current situation and its recovery.

The meeting will be attended by both Shypitka Opposition Co-Critics for Tourism Doug Clovechok and Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell.

The hour-long meeting will begin at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 10th.

Those who wish to RSVP are asked to email Malissa Nowakowski at [email protected] or text 250-661-2246.

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