COVID-19 Shutdown and Rent Relief to the Vancouver Hospitality Industry

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Dear Mayor Kennedy,

We are writing to you concerning the recent COVID-19 pandemic and to request emergency assistance. We are a group of Vancouver based hospitality workers, owners, and advisors who recognize that our entire sector, a sector made up of small businesses, is in jeopardy and may fail within the next two weeks.

The largest threat to the survival of any small business, including those in the hospitality sector, is to pay rent and property taxes without any revenue. No small business can survive more than a few weeks without some kind of support. Worse still, if these small businesses fail, that will result in a large percentage of Vancouver residents losing their jobs and their livelihood. These individuals are ones who will struggle to transition to another sector. While the federal program providing access to credit and low-interest rates is a step in the right direction, it would also be very risky for small businesses to overexpose themselves financially, when no one knows how the local, provincial, and national economy will look when we get through this.

What we really need right now is a way to ensure we have cash in the bank when we return to business in the new normal. So, we are asking that you please implement an emergency rent relief package that will allow small businesses like us to weather this storm or to champion this request for us with the provincial government, if necessary. This will allow the hospitality sector and its employees to immediately practice social distancing without fear of losing their homes or their businesses and will be the best way to ensure that small businesses survive this pandemic.

This is a very dire situation for individuals (400,000 employees) and businesses alike, and we are begging you to take immediate and drastic action to help ensure that some of Vancouver’s most vulnerable workers, and its small businesses, can emerge from this pandemic intact. Vancouver’s small businesses have been dealing with property tax hikes, rent hikes, and increased wages for a long time, while supporting all of our people as best we can at all costs.

What we need now is some support from you, to help ensure we can continue to add vibrancy and uniqueness to this beautiful city we all call home.

Thank you.