COVID-19 update

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Updated October 21, 2020

COVID-19 update

Updated October 21, 2020

COVID-19 update as of October 21

In the spirit of celebrating ultimate hosts, it's also Small Business Week, and we're proud to join our partners across the city, province and country in recognizing the resiliency, courage and innovation of our industry's small businesses and entrepreneurs.

This Small Business Week, we're celebrating you!

While 2020 has cancelled a lot of things, it can't cancel the grit and determination that continues to shine as our industry's small business owners and entrepreneurs continue innovating and adapting to our ever-changing environment. We at Tourism Calgary are continually inspired by you - our valued partners - for your resilience and tireless dedication toward providing residents and visitors with safe and memorable Calgary experiences. As we recognize Small Business Week, we hope you will take advantage of the many opportunities available to you over the coming days to connect with your community, celebrate your accomplishments and access new resources that will support the recovery and growth of your business.

On behalf of the Tourism Calgary team, thank you for joining us in celebrating the ultimate hosts, small businesses and entrepreneurs who foster community spirit and contribute so significantly to Calgary's $2.5 billion visitor economy.

Additional COVID-19 resources and information, and previous updates from Tourism Calgary available further down this page.

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Additional COVID-19 information and resources

GoC

Government of Canada

Information on travel advisories, Canadian borders and Federal economic and financial support for individuals and businesses. 

Government of Alberta

Government of Alberta

Information on provincial public health orders, COVID-19 cases in Alberta, updates from the Chief Medical Officer and provincial financial support for both individuals and businesses.

City of Calgary

City of Calgary + Calgary Emergency Management Agency

Information on municipal public health and safety measures, city services and municipal financial support for both individuals and businesses.

TIAC

Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC)

Information on the impact of COVID-19 on tourism in Canada including national advocacy efforts and government announcements that specifically impact the tourism industry.

Calgary Skyline

COVID-19 BUSINESS CONTINUITY AND REOPENING RESOURCES FOR TOURISM PARTNERS

Enhanced business continuity and reopening resources for Tourism Calgary partners.

LoveYYC

#LoveYYC From Home

A Tourism Calgary-led initiative focused on supporting members of Calgary's resilient tourism industry that has safely found safe and exciting ways to engage Calgarians, and that inspires residents to share their love for their city and stay connected through virtual or contact-free experiences.

Previous COVID-19 updates

Previous update - Oct. 14, 2020

As our industry continues to adapt and respond to the current situation, we're encouraged by recent announcements that offer further support for the businesses and employers that comprise our important industry.

This week we're eager to share news about important changes to federal support programs, exiting developments with the Arts Commons Transformation Project.

Important changes to federal support programs including CEWS, CEBA and a new commercial rent subsidy program

 On Friday, Oct. 9, the Government of Canada made several significant announcements about changes to federal support programs related to COVID-19. The intention is that these new, targeted supports will help hard-hit businesses and other organizations experiencing a drop in revenue. While full details are not yet available, a summary of the changes includes:

  • CEWS Extension - The Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) is being extended through June 2021. The current subsidy rate of up to 65 per cent of eligible wages covered will remain until Dec. 19, 2020. Details regarding subsidy rates past this date are still to come.
  • CEBA Extension - The Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA) is expanding access to an interest-free loan by an additional $20,000, bringing total available funds up to $60,000 for Canadian businesses that require assistance to cover expenses. Up to 50 per cent of these additional funds are eligible for loan forgiveness.
  • New Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy program - This new program is intended to provide commercial rent and mortgage support - directly to tenants - until June 2021 for qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19. The program will flow through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and businesses will be able to subsidize a percentage of their expenses, on a sliding scale, up to a maximum of 65 per cent until Dec. 19, 2020. Details regarding subsidy rates past this date are still to come. Claims can also be made retroactively to subsidize expenses incurred between Sept. 27 and Oct. 24 2020.

Design process initiated for Arts Commons Transformation Project

Tourism Calgary in the news

This week, Tourism Calgary continued to garner media attention in local, national and international markets through features including:

Previous update - Oct. 7, 2020

The Thanksgiving long weekend is upon us, and we're feeling grateful for you - our valued industry partners. Your ongoing resilience and undeniable community spirit have remained a continuous source of inspiration for us at Tourism Calgary and for all Calgarians through 2020.

This week we're eager to share news about additional supports available for businesses from the City of Calgary, an announcement about how Calgary's two largest meetings and conventions venues worked together to achieve global health and safety accreditations and much more.

City of Calgary support resources for businesses

The City of Calgary is extending support to help businesses continue operations through the fall and winter. On Monday, Calgary City Council agreed to extend fee relief measures for an additional six months to better support the local economy and lessen financial burdens for business owners. These measures include waiving and deferring fees for business licenses and Planning & Development applications. This fee relief was first introduced in May and planned to end on Oct. 31, 2020, but will now continue until April 30, 2021.

Winter support resources now available through The City of Calgary include:

  • Fee Relief Package: Fees will be waived until April 2021 for:
    • Development permits for outdoor cafes, change of use - permitted & discretionary, and Corporate Planning Applications Group (CPAG) pre-applications; and
    • Building permits related to outdoor cafes and outdoor and interior partitions.
  • Prioritized applications:
    • Development permits required for outdoor cafes on private land and building permits related to outdoor cafes, outdoor waiting areas and indoor partitions will be prioritized.
  • No building permit required for:
    • Tent structures covering new and existing patios provided the structure is no larger than 10 square metres in size.
  • Special functions:
    • Permit exemptions may apply for temporary structures set up for short-term, temporary events depending on the size and duration of the event.

For more information about The City of Calgary's business supports, click here. If you have questions or require assistance, subject matter experts are available to support you through The City of Calgary's Building and Planning live chat or via 403-268-5311.

City of Calgary temporary patio expansions update

Businesses that chose to expand their patios by placing tables and chairs on public sidewalks were recently notified that the city will issue a 72-hour notice for removal of temporary patios that impact public right of way when a snowfall of greater than two centimetres is predicted. The actual date will be weather dependent, as these expanded patio spaces have become an important part of business and The City wants to support them for as long as possible. To view the official statement regarding temporary patio expansions, click here.

Calgary's largest convention venues receive Global Biorisk Advisory Council STAR accreditation

Today, Calgary TELUS Convention Centre (CTCC), the BMO Centre at Stampede Park and Tourism Calgary announced that both venues have achieved the Global Biorisk Advisory Council ® (GBAC) STAR™ accreditation. Under the guidance of GBAC, the venues join an exclusive group of international leaders who have implemented the most stringent protocols for cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention in their facilities. Most importantly, this program verifies that CTCC and BMO Centre have implemented best practices to prepare for, respond to and recover from outbreaks and pandemics like COVID-19.

"Having Calgary’s two largest hosting venues accredited in the highest-level of cleanliness and prevention demonstrates how diligently our destination is working to provide safety and comfort for visitors and Calgarians,” says Cindy Ady, CEO, Tourism Calgary. “The collaboration amongst partners and venues helps to ensure consistent protocols and experiences through our city, which we know is very important to both meeting and event planners and event attendees. We look forward to welcoming visitors to experience these enhancements.” 

To learn more about GBAC STAR™ and what it means for the safe return of meetings and events and for Calgary's economic recovery, click here.

$600 million committed to Regional Relief Recovery Fund

Last Friday, Oct. 2, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $600 million in additional funding for the Regional Relief Recovery Fund ($456M) and Community Futures Fund ($144M). Businesses in the tourism sector have been identified as one of the targeted beneficiaries of this increased funding. As Tourism Calgary has noted in the media, this is a welcome announcement for our industry, and we're pleased to see tourism mentioned directly as a key sector. We look forward to details about the distribution of these funds across the country.

Tourism Calgary in the news

This week, Tourism Calgary continued to garner local media attention through features including:

  • CTV Calgary - Tourism Calgary CEO Cindy Ady highlights the impact that major conferences, events and trade shows have on Calgary's $2.5 billion visitor economy and on our quality of life.
  • Calgary Herald - Cindy Ady outlines what a $600 million top up of commercial relief through the Federal Government's Regional Relief and Recovery Fund means for small Calgary businesses as they continue to weather the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Calgary Herald, Avenue Magazine and CHQR 770 - Highlighting Tourism Calgary's announcement about the winners of the 58th annual Calgary White Hat Awards.

While Thanksgiving celebrations might look a little different this year, we sincerely appreciate your continued efforts to provide Calgarians with unique experiences while remaining mindful of current health and safety measures to support the continued recovery of Calgary's important tourism industry.

Previous update - Sept. 30, 2020

This week, it is Tourism Calgary's distinct pleasure to announce the winners of the 58th annual Calgary White Hat Awards. While the beloved celebration looked a little different this year, it remains more important than ever to celebrate our city's ultimate hosts and important tourism industry. We hope you will join us in recognizing the exceptional members of our industry who go above and beyond to help residents and visitors unlock the best Calgary has to offer.

And the 58th annual Calgary White Hat Awards go to...

In a turbulent year marked by restrictions, cancellations and critical health and safety considerations, Tourism Calgary was determined to keep the spirit of the Calgary White Hat Awards alive by finding a new way to recognize the hard-working Calgarians and businesses who foster community spirit and support Calgary’s $2.5 billion visitor economy.

 After carefully evaluating the ongoing situation and implementing significant health and safety measures, Tourism Calgary reimagined the traditional Awards Gala into a series of physically distanced, in-person presentations where each of the 20 Calgary White Hat Award winners were surprised with a coveted Smithbilt White Hat at their place of employment.

 “It is more important than ever to celebrate our city’s ultimate hosts and Calgary’s vital tourism industry,” says Cindy Ady, CEO Tourism Calgary. “The Calgary White Hat Awards are an important demonstration of community spirit. We’re grateful that in partnership with the employers of the winners, we were able to safely carry on this long-standing tradition of celebrating the remarkable members of our tourism industry who bolster Calgary’s vitality and reputation as the ultimate host city.”

 After being nominated by grateful customers and proud supervisors based on their commitment to service excellence, this year’s winners were interviewed and identified as the best-of-the-best among a selection of 543 semi-finalists. As Calgary White Hat Award winners, these hard-working individuals and businesses have further established themselves as leaders who work collaboratively within Calgary’s dedicated tourism and hospitality community to uphold and perpetuate our city’s reputation for western hospitality. 

On behalf of the Tourism Calgary team, congratulations to the following winners of the 58th annual Calgary White Hat Awards.

CATEGORY

WINNER/EMPLOYER

Exceptional Leader

Muhammad Din, The Fairmont Palliser

Exceptional Server: Centre City

Mohit Agnihotri, The Fairmont Palliser

Exceptional Service: Shopping

Thundup Khangsar, Calgary Co-op

Exceptional Service: Tour Escort | Guide

Cam Buie, National Music Centre

Exceptional Service: Non-Server

Eddie Tantay, Calgary Sports & Entertainment Corporation

Exceptional Server: North

Adrian Damacus, Century Downs Racetrack and Casino

Exceptional Service: Airport | Airline

Valerie Amadio, Air Canada

Exceptional Service: Heart of House

Christina Rolle, Calgary Stampede

Exceptional Service: Housekeeping

Kim Trinh, Calgary Marriott Downtown Hotel

Exceptional Service: Administration

Dinorah Lopez Cebada, The Westin Calgary

Exceptional Customer Service: Driver

Nasir Al-Saeed, Calgary Transit

Exceptional Service: Guest Relations

Maria Kaskiw, Cowboys Casino

Exceptional Service: Reservations

Alana Akerley, Hyatt Regency Calgary

Exceptional Service: Accommodation Reception

Daria Tatarli, Delta Hotels by Marriott Calgary South

Exceptional Server: Banquets | Events

Tina Woldmariam, Sheraton Suites Calgary Eau Claire

Exceptional Service: Beverage Specialist

Lesley Treichel, Residence Inn by Marriott Calgary Downtown / Beltline

Exceptional Service: Attractions

Toby Plant, TELUS Spark Science Centre

Exceptional Service: Tourism Volunteer

Gail McPhail, Heritage Park Historical Village

Exceptional Service: Culinary

Jesus Rojas, Hotel Arts

Calgary White Hat Restaurant Award

Bridgette Bar


Tourism Calgary extends a heartfelt thank you to all partners, staff and volunteers who made it possible to safely celebrate the 58th annual Calgary White Hat Awards. We're continually inspired by your tireless dedication toward recognizing our ultimate hosts on the frontline for their undeniable community spirit and commitment to customer service excellence.

 As always, Tourism Calgary is here for you. If there's anything our team can do to further support you as we navigate current and future recovery phases, please feel free to reach out to industry@tourismcalgary.com.

Previous update - Sept. 23, 2020

It has now been six months since the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic reached Alberta. As a champion for our industry, Tourism Calgary has continued to track the impact of the crisis, share updates on the evolving situation, plan for current and future recovery phases and communicate the needs of our valued stakeholders to all orders of government and response partners.

This week, we continue to build on these efforts by joining the advocacy efforts of the new Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses and by continuing to highlight the importance of Calgary's tourism industry in the media.

Tourism Calgary joins the Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses in advocating for Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy extension

A new coalition representing Canada's hardest hit sectors including tourism, arts, culture, events and hospitality has formed to call on the Federal Government to provide additional supports for you - the hard-working members of our important industry.

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program has been a critical lifeline for these sectors and the more than two million Canadians they employ. With the planned phase-out of CEWS beginning in September and aligning with a seasonal drop in demand and revenues for our industry, the Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses is launching a new campaign to urge the Federal Government to extend the subsidy program until Spring/Summer 2021 and to increase the subsidy rate for our nation's hardest hit businesses.

Tourism Calgary in the news

This week, Tourism Calgary continued to garner media attention in local, national and international markets through features including:

Previous update - Sept. 16, 2020

The temperatures may have started dropping this week, but in true That's the Spirit fashion, our hearts remain warm knowing that our city's remarkable community spirit continues to shine bright and that Fall marks the launch of many seasonal experiences in Calgary.

This week, we're pleased to share updates regarding Calgary's Temporary Face Coverings Bylaw, our #LoveYYC Deals Pass and our new meetings-focused LinkedIn showcase page.

Calgary's Temporary Face Coverings Bylaw extension and repeal criteria

Ongoing monitoring and reporting to Council will continue to maintain transparency and to address potential amendments or the repeal of the bylaw. Administration anticipates the bylaw would most likely be repealed under one of the following three scenarios:

  • Local metrics including transmission rates, infections, hospitalizations, patients in intensive care and deaths are at a sufficiently low level that medical experts agree face coverings are no longer recommended;
  • A safe and effective vaccine has seen sufficient local levels of uptake, or a safe and effective treatment has been identified, such that medical experts agree that face coverings are no longer recommended; and/or
  • Based on evidence, medical experts including Alberta Health Services, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the World Health Organization retract their messaging on the use of face coverings.

#LoveYYC Deals Pass achieves impressive results in first month and prepares to launch 19 new deals next week

One month in, and Tourism Calgary's #LoveYYC Deals Pass pilot program has racked up some impressive results! Now with more than 7,500 registered users, this free digital resource that offers deals for Calgarians at more than 40 local restaurants, attractions, hotels, tours and more is certainly capturing consumers' attention and inspiring local exploration.

Tourism Calgary launches new meetings-focused LinkedIn showcase page

Tourism Calgary in the news

This week, Calgary's evolving meetings and conventions landscape garnered attention in local, national and international markets thanks to features secured by Tourism Calgary in a few popular trade publications. These features include:

Previous update - Sept. 10, 2020

As the leaves begin to change colour and we embrace a new season, Calgary's tourism industry is a marking an exciting change of its own with the launch of a new meetings and conventions website and sales campaign! In this week's update, read about the newest evolution to Calgary's meetings and conventions landscape, and about free online programs available to support your business through current and future recovery phases.

Introducing Tourism Calgary's new meetings and conventions website and new sales campaign
 
Focused on supporting the recovery of meetings, conventions and incentive travel (MC&IT) business in our city, Tourism Calgary is also eager to unveil its new Billion Reasons sales campaign. Why a Billion Reasons? Because Calgary is investing more than $1 billion into event hosting infrastructure - between the $550 million BMO Centre expansion at Stampede Park, the $550 million event centre, upgrades to Stephen Avenue, the new Culture & Entertainment District and more - there’s so many reasons why Calgary is the ultimate host city for meetings, conventions and events. These upgrades, along with capacity from the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre, position Calgary to become the largest meeting and convention destination in Western Canada by 2024.
 
Aligned with Tourism Calgary's consumer marketing efforts, the Billion Reasons sales campaign focuses on sharing the best of Calgary with meeting and event professionals in local, national and international markets. This approach ensures the unified promotion of Calgary as a destination as we work to secure meetings and conventions for today, and to attract even larger events for the future.
 
“Beginning in 2024, Calgary will be the largest meeting and convention destination in Western Canada with the facilities and capacity to accommodate multiple, large-scale events simultaneously,” said Carson Ackroyd, Senior Vice President, Sales at Tourism Calgary. “With the launch of our new meetings-focused website and enhanced digital resources, we’re eager to engage with planners as they consider Calgary as a dynamic destination today and one for even larger events in the near future.” 
 
Since January 2019, significant strategy and integration work has been undertaken to support Meetings & Conventions Calgary’s successful transition to Tourism Calgary. Today's launch represents how the integrated team's collective destination marketing expertise and extensive knowledge of the MC&IT market is being leveraged to support recovery and success of Calgary's important tourism industry.
 
 
ShopHERE powered by Google program offers free online stores for Calgary businesses
To support Calgary's small businesses and artists, The City of Calgary is joining the ShopHERE powered by Google program, with a goal of getting up to 90 local businesses online this year. Participation is the program is free, and successful applicants will be paired with local MBA students who will provide over 17 hours of hands-on support that includes building and launching an e-commerce store through Shopify, and training business owners on how to sell their products and services through the online storefront.
Tourism Calgary partners that meet the following criteria are encouraged to apply:
  • Fewer than 10 employees or fewer than 25 employees if the business is a cafe, restaurant or bar;
  • Not a corporate chain or franchise;
  • Hold a valid Calgary business license.
 
Tourism Calgary in the news
This week, Tourism Calgary was in the news highlighting ongoing efforts to establish Calgary as a hub city for international sporting events. To-date, this story has garnered nation-wide media coverage across more than 45 outlets, including:
Big congratulations go to Tourism Calgary's meetings & conventions and digital marketing teams for their strategic and coordinated efforts to make today's website and sales campaign launch possible. This is just the beginning of our unified promotion efforts as we further establish Calgary as a destination of choice for leisure and convention travellers, and we're excited about what the future holds.
 
Thank you to our valued partners for joining us in celebrating today's launch. We're inspired by your continued support and are eager to leverage these new resources to further aid the recovery of our city's important tourism industry.

Previous update - Sept. 2, 2020

With the arrival of September, the entire team at Tourism Calgary extends our sincere appreciation to each and every person who makes ours such a warm, welcoming and resilient industry. Throughout 2020 you’ve faced more adversity than could have been imagined, yet you’ve rallied, innovated, adapted and reinvented. As of today, 60 percent of our partners have reopened and that is worthy of celebration.
 
Another amazing element of 2020 is that Calgary’s famous White Hat hospitality has been front and centre throughout all your efforts. We are the Ultimate Host City and our ultimate hosts on the frontline deserve recognition for their tireless hospitality. To that end, over the next two weeks, the Tourism Calgary team will be out and about surprising winners of the 58th annual Calgary White Hat Awards in safe and physically distanced ways. While we weren’t able to host the traditional White Hat Awards Gala in May, we want to ensure we have the opportunity to recognize the winners of these prestigious awards. With nearly 700 nominations, we also extend our gratitude to the volunteers who helped organize and interview all of the worthy candidates.
 
Stay tuned over the coming weeks as we celebrate the winners of this year’s Calgary White Hat Awards. Once all winners have received their coveted Smithbilt hats, we’ll share their names and stories with you.
 
Volunteer opportunities: Tourism Calgary Board of Directors and Advisory Committees
 
Funding applications now open for Travel Alberta's Cooperative Investment grant program
 
Alberta Health Services guidelines for meetings, events and weddings
Partners have been asking about Government of Alberta guidelines for special gatherings, meetings and events. Please review the following links to ensure your venue is operating in accordance with the most recent guidelines set out by Alberta Health Services.
Travellers say: Calgary accommodations are among the best of the best!
Tripadvisor recently announced its 2020 Travellers' Choice Award winners, which were identified based on exceptional 2019 traveller reviews. The rankings placed Calgary among the top 10 most popular tourism destinations in Canada and ranked five of Tourism Calgary's valued accommodation partners among the top 10 per cent of hospitality businesses around the globe. Congratulations to the following Tourism Calgary partners for being named among the best of the best accommodations in Canada for 2020:

Previous update - August 26, 2020

This week we're recognizing what would have been the eighth annual Shaw Charity Classic. While we won't be enjoying the celebrated PGA TOUR Champions event this year, Tourism Calgary and its Calgary Sport & Major Events Committee are proud, long-term supporters of this flagship Calgary event and are inspired by the organization's commitment to keeping its charitable spirit alive. Despite the tournament being cancelled due to COVID-19, its signature community-focus remains with fundraising efforts in support of 200 youth charities. 
 
Let's show our community spirit as we celebrate the Shaw Charity Classic a little differently this year and look forward to the event's return from August 13-15, 2021.
 
Tourism Calgary welcomes Doug Schweitzer as Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation
Yesterday, Premier Jason Kenney announced a cabinet shuffle that moved Doug Schweitzer, MLA Calgary-Elbow, to the new ministry of Jobs, Economy and Innovation. This new ministry serves to expand on the responsibilities of the former Economic Development, Trade and Tourism ministry in addition to implementing Alberta's economic recovery plan.
 
 
That's the Spirit campaign continues fostering community spirit and local exploration
Since launching in late June, our That's the Spirit campaign has been fully adopted across all Tourism Calgary marketing channels and has proved effective in supporting partners as we've worked to advance Tourism Calgary's recovery marketing plan. A key component of the That's the Spirit campaign so far has included developing a robust library of summer content that focuses on celebrating our city's resiliency and community spirit and on inspiring local exploration.
 
 
For employers: CEWS calculator
 
Canada Revenue Agency also has a dedicated CEWS number (1-833-966-2099), which offers access to agents who can provide information about eligibility requirements, calculating the CEWS or how to apply. The line operates from Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. local time.
 
Jump on the #LoveYYC Deals Pass bandwagon and start redeeming offers today!
 

Previous update - August 19, 2020

Following last week's launch of the #LoveYYC Deals Pass, we are proud to share that more than 4,300 consumers have already registered to participate in this pilot program. This could not have been achieved without support from you - our valued industry partners. Thank you for taking the time to share the #LoveYYC Deals Pass with your friends, family, colleagues and customers. We are inspired by the ongoing commitment of Calgarians to help support our important tourism industry.

Introducing Calgary Curated: Our new, consumer-focused email marketing program
Tourism Calgary is pleased to introduce our new consumer-focused email marketing program known as Calgary Curated. To support our partners' recovery efforts, content for this email program will initially be targeted at local consumers and will focus on sharing local stories, event updates and exclusive deals directly to the in-boxes of Calgarians. These updates are intended to drive locals to explore their city again, support your businesses and to share their experiences with friends and relatives.
 
When strong intent to travel returns, the focus of Calgary Curated will shift to a broader audience and on inspiring visitors from regional, national and eventually international markets to book a trip to Calgary. While this shift will take some time, we will continue to share updates about the evolution of this email marketing program as available.
 
 
 
Destination Canada appoints Marsha Walden as President & CEO
Yesterday, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages announced the appointment of Marsha Walden as Destination Canada’s President and Chief Executive Officer.
 
 
RISE UP platform launched to safely connect Calgarians with live events and support recovery of local arts and tourism community
 
Tourism Calgary in the news
Last week, Tourism Calgary was in the news highlighting the new #LoveYYC Deals Pass pilot program and the role it plays in advancing our industry's recovery strategy and supporting our valued partners during this time. Some of the media coverage garnered to support the launch of this program includes:
 
 

Previous update - August 12, 2020

This summer, our resilient tourism industry has gone above and beyond to ensure strict health and safety measures to create safe experiences for their customers. As a champion for our industry, Tourism Calgary has continued to find new ways to advance our recovery strategy and to support our valued partners during this time. Today, we are proud to continue these efforts by launching the #LoveYYC Deals Pass pilot program, a FREE digital resource that offers savings and deals at over 40 local restaurants, attractions, hotels, tours and more.
 
Accessible through any web browser, this pass is designed to help Calgarians save money and support local while they safely explore their city, and when they share their favourite experiences with visiting friends and relatives.
 
“The #LoveYYC Deals Pass offers a great opportunity for Calgarians to get out - and save - as they safely explore our city’s unique offerings and capitalize on the last few weeks of summer,” says Cindy Ady, CEO Tourism Calgary. “As proud Calgarians and ultimate hosts, let’s use this discount opportunity to rediscover our city, to host visiting friends and relatives and most importantly to continue supporting Calgary’s tourism community.”
 
Savings and deals from over 40 Tourism Calgary partners can be redeemed either online or in-person. New deals will be added to the pass as the pilot program evolves and as seasons change. Some of the initial offers include:
  • Buy one, get one free: Admission at The Military Museums and beverages at Rosso Coffee Roasters;
  • Buy one, get one 50% off: Admission at The Calgary Tower and at The Hangar Flight Museum;
  • 20% off purchase: Calgary Harley-Davidson Rentals, The Coup, Hoopla Donuts, and Romero Distilling Company; and
  • Complimentary add-on with purchase: Altitude Flight Simulation, Downhill Karting by Skyline Luge Calgary, Holiday Inn & Suites Calgary South, NOtaBLE – The Restaurant, The Paddle Station and more.
 
From all of us at Tourism Calgary, we thank you for continuing to support the recovery of Calgary's important tourism industry and for taking this opportunity to get out, save, explore and learn even more about the unique experiences available in our great city!

Previous update - August 5, 2020

Thank you to our valued partners for dutifully donning your masks for the foreseeable future and for continuously finding ways to help Calgarians safely enjoy this sunny summer season - that's the spirit!
 
This week, we offer an opportunity for you to refresh your partnership listing on visitcalgary.com and to review the latest updates about the Travel Alberta industry conference, Canada Emergency Wage Benefit and Canada Revenue Agency payment deadlines.
 
Travel Alberta Industry Conference paused for 2020
 
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program extended to Dec. 19, 2020
As of July 27, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program was expanded even further to help businesses keep employees on the payroll and re-hire previously laid off workers. Changes include:
  • Extension of the CEWS until Dec. 19, 2020;
  • Greater accessibility for a broader range of employers including those with less than a 30 per cent revenue loss; and
  • Additional 25 per cent top-up subsidy for employers most affected by the crisis.
 
Canada Revenue Agency payment deadline extended and interest relief offered on outstanding tax debts
 
Tourism Calgary is here for you. Let's keep showing our love and pride for our community and for each other as we enjoy the remainder of summer in Calgary to the fullest.
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Previous update - July 29, 2020

This week we're inspired by the resilience of the important event sector of our tourism industry. In true That's the Spirit fashion, beloved events like the Calgary Folk Music Festival forged ahead this past weekend by finding new ways to host their event and foster our undeniable community spirit. As we build off this momentum and look to the future, we're excited by recent announcements about a new city-wide winter festival in Calgary and about additional funding support for our city's arts, culture, sport and recreation event organizers.

A Chinook Blast is coming to Calgary!

This week, Tourism Calgary proudly joined our partners in announcing Chinook Blast: Calgary's Midwinter Roundup. This six-week winter festival will take place from mid-January to the end of February, bringing the community together to experience a variety of winter arts and sports programming during a needs-period for our industry. Chinook Blast will highlight Calgary's undeniable community spirit and status as a winter city.

 "One of the best things about Calgary is our community spirit. I can't think of a better way to showcase that spirit than collaborating with 55 partners on a winter festival that will bring excitement, energy, activity and an economic injection to a time of year when we need it most," said Cindy Ady, CEO Tourism Calgary. "When it's safe for us to gather again and we launch Chinook Blast, it will be a fantastic opportunity for Calgarians to invite their friends and family to our great city to participate in Calgary's winter cultural showpieces."

 To learn more about Chinook Blast, visit www.chinookblast.com.

Apply today: City of Calgary Festival and Event Microgrant program

 To support the recovery of our city's event industry and to grow the opportunities for Calgarians to safely experience arts, culture, sport and recreation events once again, the City of Calgary recently launched its Festival and Event Microgrant program. This funding program provides eligible event organizers with between $500 - $4,500 to support with additional costs required to meet health and safety guidelines for both virtual and in-person events planned between July 10 and Dec. 31, 2020.

 Applications will be accepted until Nov. 13 - or until all funding is allocated - and all non-profit organizations, charitable organizations and Calgary Business Improvement Areas are eligible to apply. For more information and application details, click here.

For your business: Calgary Temporary Face Coverings Bylaw signage

 Calgary's Temporary Face Coverings Bylaw will take effect this Saturday, August 1, meaning that face coverings must be worn in all indoor public spaces and in public vehicles. Under the new bylaw, business operators or owners are required to display the signage provided by the City of Calgary in public entryways of the business, or within business vehicles. To download this signage, click here.

 As a reference, rules and guidelines for common scenarios have been outlined further by the City of Calgary on the Face Coverings Bylaw: Questions & Answers web page.

Update your partnership listing and further leverage the tools available through your Tourism Calgary partnership

 With many businesses adjusting their operations in recent months to accommodate required health and safety measures, we encourage you to review your partnership listing on visitcalgary.com to ensure we are accurately representing and promoting your business. If there are any changes you would like to make to update or optimize your partnership listing, please let us know by submitting an update request.

 Those looking to leverage their Tourism Calgary partnership to the fullest are also encouraged to access the robust marketing and education tools - including That's the Spirit campaign resources - available through our Partner Toolkit. If you have any questions or are looking to access further support through your Tourism Calgary partnership, our Stakeholder Engagement team is always available to support you via industry@tourismcalgary.com.

Tourism Calgary in the news

 This past week Tourism Calgary has been out in the media advocating on behalf of our industry, supporting our event partners and highlighting the significant impact that events have on our local economy and quality of life. Some of the coverage includes:

As a trusted advocate and voice for our industry partners, Tourism Calgary continues to monitor and navigate the evolving situation. While we continue to share positive news about our industry, we aren't out of the woods yet. As we head into the long weekend, we sincerely appreciate your continued efforts to provide Calgarians with unique experiences, while remaining diligent about current health and safety measures, to support the continued reopening and recovery of Calgary's important tourism industry.

Previous update - July 23, 2020

To-date more than 380 Tourism Calgary partners have reopened, enhanced safety measures and started welcoming the community back - that's the spirit! Your resilience, undeniable community spirit and commitment to providing Calgarians with safe, memorable experiences during this time has been remarkable, and for that, we thank you.

This week, we're pleased to share news about Calgary's new Face Coverings Bylaw, new guidelines for trade shows and events and about our partnership with the Great YYC Staycation - all initiatives that will support Calgary's continued reopening and the recovery of our important tourism industry.

Calgary City Council approves temporary Face Coverings Bylaw

 This week, Calgary City Council voted to pass the temporary Face Coverings Bylaw, which mandates the wearing of face coverings in indoor public spaces and on transit to stop the spread of COVID-19. These new regulations will be in place starting August 1, and will apply to indoor spaces including retail stores, shopping malls, recreation centres and public common spaces in office buildings. Businesses will also be required to display signage that outlines the details of the bylaw in public entryways starting August 1.

The City of Calgary will have more information and downloadable signage available soon at calgary.ca/covid19.

Businesses are not expected to deny services, as not everyone is required to wear face coverings. Exceptions to the bylaw include:

  • Children under two years of age;
  • People with underlying medical conditions or disabilities inhibiting their ability to wear a face covering;
  • People who are unable to place, use or remove a face covering safely without assistance;
  • People who are eating or drinking at a public premises that offers food and beverage services;
  • People engaging in an athletic or fitness activity;
  • People who are care giving or accompanying a person with a disability where wearing a face covering would hinder accommodation of the person's disability;
  • People who have temporarily removed their face covering where doing so is necessary to provide or receive a service - for example, a visit to the dentist.

For more information, visit: https://newsroom.calgary.ca/temporary-bylaw-mandating-face-coverings-in-public-indoor-spaces-and-public-vehicles-passed-by-city-council/

Guidance for trade shows and exhibiting events 

The Government of Alberta has now released sector-specific guidance to support organizers of trade shows and exhibiting events in mitigating the risk of transmission of COVID-19 among attendees, staff and volunteers. Specific guidelines related to event screening, exhibition floors, demonstrations, entertainment, food service and more can now be accessed here.

As always, Tourism Calgary is here for you and continues to provide resources and guidelines to support your business' reopening needs through our business continuity and reopening resources webpage. If there's anything further we can do to support your reopening efforts, our team is always available via industry@tourismcalgary.com.

Previous update - July 17, 2020

Calgary Stampede celebrations may have looked a little different this year, but Calgarians truly stepped up to the plate and proved that community spirit can't be cancelled. As valued Tourism Calgary partners, we want to thank you for going above and beyond to keep the Stampede spirit bright - that's the Calgary way! From drive-through mini donuts and pancake breakfasts, to fireworks that illuminated the skyline, Calgary's undeniable community spirit couldn't be missed. To mark this year's celebration and highlight the unique ways Calgarians chose to celebrate alongside friends and family, Tourism Calgary put together a Stampede Spirit 2020 round-up video.

Opinion: Tourism needs local support in times of COVID-19

Last week in the Calgary Herald, Tourism Calgary CEO Cindy Ady and Calgary Chamber of Commerce CEO Dr. Sandip Lalli shared why local support for tourism - Alberta's fourth largest industry - is more important than ever. Read the full article here.

Submit to the visitcalgary.com event calendar and deals page today!

Throughout the pandemic, Tourism Calgary has remained nimble and adjusted its channels accordingly to meet industry needs and to align with the province's relaunch strategy. In the most recent adjustment, the event calendar and deals page on visitcalgary.com have been reactivated. Indoor events that do not exceed 50 people and outdoor events that do not exceed 100 people - with public health measures in place - can now be added through the event submission form, while all partner deals can once again be added through the deal submission form.

As Calgarians, we're known for our undeniable community spirit, and we appreciate you continuing to showcase yours both through your Calgary Stampede celebrations through your continued efforts to support your community and each other.

Previous update - June 30, 2020

Rain or shine, hell or high water, status quo or global pandemic, Calgary's tourism industry always finds a way to come together, support one another and showcase our undeniable community spirit. While Canada Day and Calgary Stampede celebrations may look a little different this year, our industry partners have forged ahead and found new ways to safely commemorate these showpiece events and continue to support local businesses. Leveraging our That's the Spirit campaign, Tourism Calgary is here to help spread the word about your business' celebratory offerings and to foster community spirit. To further support your marketing efforts, we're excited to launch our That's the Spirit campaign video and associated partner toolkit.

That's the Spirit celebrates Calgary's resiliency, community spirit and the unique experiences our city has to offer - whether these are shared in-person, virtually, or through a combination of both. The That's the Spirit partner marketing toolkit includes key messages, photo overlays, video links, drafted social posts and more that can be used to align your marketing efforts with the campaign and to help support the recovery of Calgary's tourism economy. Access the partner marketing toolkit today and share the campaign video on your FacebookInstagram and other social channels using #CaptureCalgary and by tagging @TourismCalgary so we can amplify your efforts.

Calgary Stampede 2020

Just because Calgary Stampede is not taking place in 2020 doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. Stampede spirit doesn’t just live on park, it lives in the heart of Calgarians and visitors from around the world. To keep the Stampede spirit shining until we can gather again, Tourism Calgary is working with Calgary Stampede and its valued partners to share the following celebratory initiatives with Calgarians and future visitors.

- Stampede programming 2020 - Check out all the activities and deals being offered in our city to help Calgarians safely experience some familiar Stampede favourites. If you have a Stampede offer you'd like us to amplify, please share it with us via industry@tourismcalgary.com.

- Calgary Creates: Stampede 2020 editions - Tune in to Tourism Calgary's IGTV channel on the afternoon of July 3 as our partners at Moonstone Creation highlight the important role of Indigenous culture and hand crafted fashions at Calgary Stampede and Elbow River Camp. Join us again on July 10 and as our partners at Cody & Sioux showcase a selection of contemporary western wear for 2020.

- Stampede memories - Clinging to memories about the taste of mini doughnuts, or the roar of the crowd at Nashville North? That's the spirit! Join us by continuing to share your favourite Stampede memories and community spirit through your social channels using the #Stampede2020 and #LoveYYC hashtags. Need help finding photos? We've put together a special Stampede photo gallery to make things as easy as possible for you.

Tourism Calgary: In the news

Tourism Calgary has also been active in the media this past week advocating on behalf of our industry, highlighting partners' Canada Day offers and encouraging Calgarians to get out and explore their city now and through the summer. You can view some of our media coverage here:

Calgary Herald - June 26CTV Calgary - June 26Calgary Herald - June 29CTV Calgary - June 30CHQR 770 - June 30 - 8:19 a.m.

Together, we're unstoppable at fostering and sharing community spirit, and we hope you will join us in doing just that as we find new ways to celebrate these showcase events this year - that's the Calgary spirit.

Previous update - June 24, 2020

Through all the challenges our industry has faced as a result of the pandemic, you - our valued partners - have remained a consistent and significant bright light for Calgarians in your resiliency, response, innovation and collaboration as you continued to support and serve our community and each other.

To further support your efforts toward recovery, Tourism Calgary is pleased to announce that temporary partnership fee relief will be offered this year. This means renewal investment will not be collected this September; however, you will continue to benefit from complimentary access to partnership benefits including our award-winning marketing programs, product and professional development tools, advocacy support, a network of more than 700 partner organizations and more.

During this period, we will be evaluating and adjusting Tourism Calgary's partnership offerings to ensure we continue to provide value to you in this changing environment. Updates to the program will be shared as we work toward resuming our paid partnership structure for 2021.

Calgary's tourism industry continues to be a vital economic driver that supports jobs in multiple sectors. In 2019, our industry welcomed more than 7.3 million visitors and injected more than $2.5 billion into Calgary's economy. While it will take some time to return to 2019 levels, we are confident that tourism in Calgary and area will see a resurgence. As a valued Tourism Calgary partner, your organization plays an essential role in the recovery of Calgary's tourism industry and we look forward to working with you to welcome the world back when it's safe to do so.

By leveraging past success and responding to new realities, Tourism Calgary will continue to support our partners and our industry as we advance through the current and future phases outlined in our pandemic recovery strategy.

  • As marketers, Tourism Calgary drove more than 3.5 million sessions on visitcalgary.com and sparked more than 1.4 million social media engagements in 2019. Leveraging these platforms and our new That's the Spirit campaign, we will continue showcasing Calgary's resiliency, community spirit and the unique experiences your business has to offer.

  • As advocates, Tourism Calgary communicates the value of our industry and supports initiatives that will benefit our industry and city. In 2019, those included the BMO Centre expansion and the new Event Centre in Calgary's Culture and Entertainment District. During the pandemic, we've continued to use this passion and work closely with partners, stakeholders and all orders of government to support our industry's active response and recovery.

  • As hosts, Tourism Calgary supported 125 meetings and events in 2019 that infused spending into the economy, generated participation opportunities and showcased our business communities. In preparation for the return of meetings and events, Tourism Calgary is working diligently with events rights holders and all orders of government to develop sectoral guidelines to ensure our city is ready when it's safe to welcome delegates, competitors and spectators back to our city.
  • As activators, Tourism Calgary conducted more than 1.4 million referrals to industry partners in 2019. Leveraging our highly-visible digital platforms and initiatives like the new #LoveYYC Deals Pass, we're working hard to continue to build local confidence and drive awareness and visitation to your business.

Tourism Calgary appreciates your continued partnership and is committed to growing the strong relationship we've cultivated with you. If you have questions about our temporary partnership relief, or wish to share updates around your business offerings or changes to your team, please feel free to contact us at industry@tourismcalgary.com.

Previous update - June 22, 2020

This morning, Travel Alberta announced it is investing $17 million to help restart Alberta’s tourism industry. These funds are supported by Western Economic Diversification Canada and Destination Canada and are meant to support organizational operations and marketing efforts. This one-time investment to Tourism Calgary, Edmonton Tourism, Banff & Lake Louise Tourism and Tourism Jasper will support the rebuild and reopening of our industry through local and regional marketing through the summer and winter. Read the press release here.

In total, Tourism Calgary will receive $2.1 million to support our seasonal marketing initiatives and assist with some of our organizational operations. Tourism Calgary is very grateful to our partners at Travel Alberta, Western Economic Diversification Canada and Destination Canada for these investments, particularly to support our industry as we continue to respond and reopen from COVID-19. We’re also grateful for the support our sister destination marketing organizations in Alberta are receiving, as it means that collectively we’ll be driving regional traffic, business and spending in our great province.

While our marketing campaigns and overall organization will not be funded to previous levels, this investment will be a critical component of Tourism Calgary’s strategy to support the recovery of our local industry that is so important to Calgary’s economy, job market and quality of life.

Last week, our summer campaign That's the Spirit launched on visitcalgary.com and throughout Tourism Calgary's social channels. Paid marketing videos and promotions are planned to launch later this month, and the campaign will run into fall 2020 with continuous evaluations along the way to ensure we remain empathetic to the evolving situation and to travellers' needs. We will continue to share updates as they become available.

Looking to get involved? That's the spirit! Industry partners are invited to contribute to the platform by:

  • Keeping our team informed about your reopening status, upcoming events and promotions by emailing industry@tourismcalgary.com;

  • Let us know what health and safety practices your business has adopted;
  • Have a 'local tip' that can help build traveller confidence and inspire safe exploration of our city? Let us know!
  • Share any images or b-roll you have that showcases how you've adapted to meet safety measures. This could include assets that feature staff wearing masks, social distancing or customers enjoying a more 'exclusive' experience.
  • Stay tuned for a That's the Spirit marketing toolkit that will consist of open-source tools including key messages, photo overlays, videos and drafted social posts that can be shared across your platforms.

Again, we extend our sincere appreciation to Travel Alberta, Western Economic Diversification Canada and Destination Canada for their continued support of our industry.

 

Previous update - June 18, 2020

To support our industry partners' reopening efforts and help drive customers through your door, Tourism Calgary has been hard at work developing a comprehensive recovery marketing plan and associated creative platform. Launched this week, That's the Spirit is a creative platform for Tourism Calgary's recovery marketing plan, which features local and regional marketing initiatives that are intended to:

  • Drive more business for industry partners;
  • Share timely, trustworthy information about our city's offerings;
  • Boost community spirit and civic pride;
  • Build trust and encourage safe exploration among locals and visitors; and
  • Create alignment among industry partners and stakeholders.

That's the Spirit celebrates Calgary's resiliency, community spirit and the unique experiences our city has to offer - whether these are shared in-person, virtually, or through a combination of both. We've shown the world time and again how we come together and rise above circumstances to support one another and this great city. This time is no different as Calgary businesses go above and beyond to provide their guests with safe, memorable experiences and promote consumer confidence. This perseverance truly showcases Calgary's undeniable sense of community and passion for all we have to offer - that's the spirit of Calgary.

Designed to be fluid, That's the Spirit can start and stop as needed and move to appropriate markets when the time is right. To begin, marketing efforts will focus on getting Calgarians to explore their city again and share their experiences with others. Then, the focus will shift to asking locals to invite their friends and relatives to visit Calgary. When the time is right, Tourism Calgary will begin marketing to the eight-hour drive market once again to establish Calgary as a destination of choice this summer. 

As of this week, That's the Spirit messaging has launched on visitcalgary.com and throughout Tourism Calgary's social channels. Paid marketing videos and promotions are planned to launch later this month, and the campaign will run into Fall 2020 with continuous evaluations along the way to ensure we remain empathetic to the evolving situation and to travellers' needs. We will continue to share updates as they become available.

Looking to get involved? That's the spirit! Industry partners are invited to contribute to the platform by:

  • Keeping our team informed about your reopening status, upcoming events and promotions by emailing industry@tourismcalgary.com;

  • Let us know what health and safety practices your business has adopted;
  • Have a 'local tip' that can help build traveller confidence and inspire safe exploration of our city? Let us know!
  • Share any images or b-roll you have that showcases how you've adapted to meet safety measures. This could include assets that feature staff wearing masks, social distancing or customers enjoying a more 'exclusive' experience.
  • Stay tuned for a That's the Spirit marketing toolkit that will provide you with key messages, photo overlays, videos and drafted social posts that can be shared across your platforms.

If you have questions about That's the Spirit, please contact Jeff Hessel, Senior VP of Marketing directly at jeffh@tourismcalgary.com.

With the launch of That's the Spirit, Tourism Calgary moves into our next strategic recovery phase, and out of crisis management. With that, we'll be shifting our updates to you to become less-frequent, however more consistent and robust. As always, the Industry section of our website is updated regularly to ensure you have the information, links and updates you need to reopen and support your business, customers and staff. If you have any questions about this, please let me know.

Thank you for sharing your spirit, and for helping to inspire such a fitting campaign for our city.

Previous update - June 9, 2020

With more positive news for Alberta’s tourism industry, this afternoon Premier Jason Kenney and Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced that Phase 2 of reopening Alberta’s economy will begin this Friday, June 12. Businesses included in this phase are as follows:

- Libraries, with restrictions;

- Movie theatres and theatres, with restrictions;

- Casinos, with restrictions;

- Personal services, including aesthetics, manicures, pedicures, massage therapy etc;

- Swimming pools for recreation purposes, with restrictions; and

- Guidelines for gathering sizes will also be expanded as of Friday, to up-to 100 people outdoors.

Also, important to our industry partners, the limit of 50 per cent capacity on restaurants, bars, cafes and lounges will be lifted, however, seating will still be limited to six people per table.

Guidance documents for business operations have been developed and will be published shortly on Alberta Biz Connect

If your business is planning to open later this week, or if your operations will be changed with the new guidelines, please let us know so we can share your story. We continue to update the Reopening Calgary pages and Tourism Calgary channels on a daily basis to amplify reopening messages and encourage Calgarians to get out and safely explore our city. Please continue to share your business' reopening details with our team through this form.

As you continue through Phase 1 and prepare for Phase 2, Tourism Calgary continues to work with our partners at the Government of Alberta, City of Calgary and Calgary Emergency Management Agency to share all relevant information with you. Information is available through our business continuity and re-opening resources webpage, and our team is always available via industry@tourismcalgary.com.

This is great news for the continuation of re-opening our economy. All of the hard work and sacrifices of Albertans are paying off. While there may be setbacks, we’re moving in the right direction, and this is great news for our industry and we at Tourism Calgary are looking forward to supporting you through the next phase.

 

Previous update - June 8, 2020

As relaunching the economy progresses and further supports for small business sustainability are needed, last Friday, Premier Jason Kenney and Economic Development, Trade and Tourism Minister Tanya Fir announced that the Government of Alberta is committing up to $200 million to offset a portion of relaunch costs for eligible small- and medium-sized businesses that have experienced severe revenue cuts because of COVID-19. One-time payments equivalent to 15 per cent of monthly revenue - up to $5,000 - will be made available to eligible Alberta businesses with fewer than 500 employees. Funds may be used for implementing measures to minimize the risk of virus transmission (physical barriers, personal protective equipment and disinfecting supplies), rent, employee wages or replacing inventory. Program details including eligibility are still being confirmed, but the online application is expected to be available in the coming weeks. We will continue to share information as it becomes available. 

Friday also marked the launch of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada's (TIAC) industry-developed recovery campaign, which seeks sector-specific government support to ensure the successful recovery of Canada's tourism industry. While current support measures are welcomed and appreciated, they all have expiry dates that will not meet the unique situation of the tourism sector long-term. As such, TIAC's new recovery plan outlines recommendations and additional support needed for the immediate and long-term recovery of Canada's tourism sector. To review TIAC's full recovery plan, click here.

In recent weeks, updated recommendations, policies and procedures have been added to the Alberta Biz Connect platform to support businesses with their reopening efforts. Updated information is now available for accommodations; gondolas, trams and chairlifts; interpretive attractions; outdoor recreation operators; outdoor events; restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars; taxis and rideshare operators. For the most up-to-date information and reopening resources, be sure to visit Alberta Biz Connect regularly.

As Calgary businesses reopen or resume in-person operations, we continue to update the Reopening Calgary pages and Tourism Calgary channels on a daily basis to amplify your reopening messages and encourage Calgarians to get out and safely explore our city. Please continue to share your business' reopening details with our team through this form.

Previous update - June 2, 2020

You would have noted that the Federal Government ended Tourism Week in Canada with several funding announcements on Sunday. Over the last couple of days we’ve been seeking clarity on the news, how the funds relate to the advocacy work Tourism Calgary CEO Cindy Ady has been leading and which announcements are still in the works. Sunday’s announcements did create some confusion for what it means for Western destination marketing organizations like Tourism Calgary.

This is a complex matter as there are multiple funds from which different sources of money are being made available, different designated uses for the money and announcements still to be made to confirm all of it. Here’s what we know as of this morning:

The Federal Government committed significant support for Ontario DMOs, with the most notable announcement being dedicated funding for Tourism Toronto. This was a very exciting announcement for Canada’s largest destination marketing organization, and for Ontario. We extended our congratulations to them, and we’re confident this will help the restart of tourism in Canada.

Concurrently, $30 million in funding through Destination Canada was also announced to support destination marketing organization’s marketing initiatives across the country. While the amount Tourism Calgary will receive is still unconfirmed and will be less than we typically invest in a summer campaign, we are very pleased to receive additional support and we will be using these funds for our summer campaign which will begin as hyper-local and expand to visiting friends and relatives and regional audiences as it is prudent to do so. We are looking forward to sharing the campaign details with you shortly.

Additionally, $1.45 M was committed to Travel Alberta to help support the industry – further details on how that funding will be applied are expected soon.

Significantly more funding will be required for the recovery and restart of the industry, so rest assured that we remain at the table and in ongoing conversations with the Federal Government about support for Alberta, and importantly for Calgary. We are expecting a similar announcement to help restart our critical $2.5 billion local industry.

We’re looking forward to sharing details as they become available. In the meantime, our resilient industry continues to respond to the changing environment with skill and close attention to ensuring the health and safety of customers and staff, and for that we thank you and applaud you. Finally, please keep us informed of the reopening details about your business that you’d like to share with Calgarians by completing this form.

Previous update - May 25, 2020

We hope you’re having a great start to Tourism Week. If you’re preparing to reopen your business this week, we’re rooting for you. We just launched new Reopening Calgary pages to share with Calgarians which businesses have reopened along with any pertinent details. Find it here: . Please keep us updated about your hours of operation, modified product and service offerings, enhanced health and safety measures and anything else you want customers to know by filling out our partner re-opening updates form.

Calgarians are known for their remarkable community spirit, and I know we'll get through this together. Tourism Calgary is here for you, and continues to provide resources and guidelines to support your business' re-opening needs. This information is available through our business continuity and re-opening resources webpage, and our team is always available via industry@tourismcalgary.com.

Previous update - May 20, 2020

As Calgary businesses begin to re-open and resume in-person operations, Tourism Calgary continues to update its channels to ensure consumers have access to the most accurate and timely information. Whether your business is already welcoming customers through the door, has plans to resume in-person operations in the near future, or is sticking to virtual or contact-free offerings for now, Tourism Calgary is here to amplify your message.

To help the Tourism Calgary team promote the most accurate information about your business, please keep us updated about hours of operation, modified product and service offerings, enhanced health and safety measures and anything else you want customers to know. Share this information with us by filling out our new partner re-opening updates form.

Information collected through this form will be used to update re-opening pages on visitcalgary.com in accordance with Alberta's phased relaunch strategy. The retail re-opening businesses page is already live to support Tourism Calgary retail partners that have resumed in-person operations. Similar pages will be launched for restaurants next week.

Resources and guidelines to support your business' re-opening needs and questions are available through Tourism Calgary's business continuity and re-opening resource page. 

Previous update - May 14, 2020

The team at Tourism Calgary has been working diligently to ensure our industry partners have access to resources and guidelines as they become available from official sources. This morning we’re happy to share a new business continuity and re-opening resource site. The team has amalgamated resources and guidelines for re-opening, FAQs from The City of Calgary and AGLC, B2B support including signage and a form for you to share your re-opening plans with us so we can amplify your message and tell your story through all Tourism Calgary channels.

Please check it out and let us know if there’s additional information you’d like to see included.

LoveYYC from Home continues

Despite the delay in Calgary moving into Phase 1 of the Province’s re-opening plan, Tourism Calgary continues to recognize the significant efforts our industry has undertaken to adjust to current measures. We remain committed to supporting you in finding virtual and contact-free ways to engage Calgarians through the #LoveYYC from Home program. Learn more about the program and about how to submit your information for free here.

Regional Relief and Recovery Funds

Federal Minister Melanie Joly announced a $1 billion Regional Relief and Recovery Fund for small, seasonal, rural and other SMEs, including destination marketing organizations, who have not been able to access existing government support measures. The fund will be managed through Western Diversification and will be used to mitigate the financial pressure experienced by businesses and organizations to allow them to continue their operations, including paying their employees, and to support projects by businesses, organizations and communities to prepare now for a successful recovery. Details of how to apply are expected soon, and more information can be found here.

Previous update - May 13, 2020

On May 13, Premier Jason Kenney announced that while preparations have been underway to begin the Provincial Government’s Phase 1 of reopening the economy, restaurants, bars and salons in Calgary and Brooks will be held to a slower reopening, with a new start date set for May 25. Retail operations, museums and art galleries initially scheduled to open tomorrow under new guidelines may continue with those plans if owners so choose. The remainder of scheduled Phase 1 openings are scheduled for June 1. Details can be found here.

We know that this is an inconvenience and a disappointment for businesses that were preparing to reopen tomorrow. It’s also an opportunity for our partners to continue to adjust to new guidelines set out by the Provincial government. To support you in this, we’re launching a new micro-site that consolidates support resources, and gives Tourism Calgary partners the opportunity to keep us up-to-speed on your reopening plans, so we can share your messages with Calgarians through all of our channels. 

Previous update - May 11, 2020

This afternoon the provincial government launched Alberta Biz Connect, a resource site to help businesses and non-profits affected by COVID-19 begin to reopen and resume operations safely. The site includes sectoral guidance relevant to many Tourism Calgary partners, as well as support via email and red tape reduction opportunities.

There have been many outstanding questions about the expectations of businesses allowed to open under Phase 1 of the government’s reopening strategy, and Alberta Biz Connect has many more details to guide business owners on reopening preparations.

Previous update - May 8, 2020

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Tourism Calgary team has been working closely and diligently with our local emergency management officials at CEMA, The City of Calgary’s business recovery and support local task forces, our provincial and national strategic marketing partners at Travel Alberta and Destination Canada and our global networks through Destinations International and others.

We’ve gathered what we believe is the best and most agile thinking about response and recovery for visitation, business sustainability and community safety. From that, we’ve developed a framework to guide our efforts through the next phases of this pandemic. We believe our framework aligns with the Government of Alberta’s phased approach to reopening the economy, supports our industry partners as you make decisions about your businesses, and contributes to developing confidence among Calgarians as they start to re-enter the community and return to their favourite local experiences.

The speed of change through this crisis has been fierce, and this framework will evolve as new information emerges. However, it’s an important starting point.

COVID recovery plan

As you consider this framework, we’d like to hear from you. Please reach out to industry@tourismcalgary.com to let us know what you think. There is a lot more background to this overview, that we’re happy to share if you’re interested.

We’re also interested in hearing about your re-opening plans. Our team is reaching out to many of you, however, you’re always welcome to reach out or email industry@tourismcalgary.com with your plans. Specific questions about reopening safety protocols can be emailed to the Province at bizconnect@gov.ab.ca.

 

Previous update - May 1, 2020

We recognize that there are many outstanding questions from the announcement yesterday about the phased approach to reopening the economy. We are working closely with The City of Calgary, including through the Business Recovery Task Force, Calgary Emergency Management Agency and the Mayor’s office to understand the nuances, details and requirements of businesses and customers.

There is a significant amount of work happening behind the scenes to clarify the unknowns and to support businesses as they prepare to enter the first phase of reopening. The details we do have from the Province can be found in Alberta's full COVID-19 re-launch strategy here. For more information, please see Alberta.ca.

As we shared yesterday, if we are collectively able to start the first phase of reopening on May 14, there will be foundational elements required by all, including continued testing and contract tracing, border controls, rules and guidance for use of mask, protecting the vulnerable and physical distancing. Please note, if your business is included in the first phase, it is NOT mandatory for you to open when the phase begins. Last night, Dr. Hinshaw recommended using face coverings in close spaces, and noted that face masks do not need to be commercially made.

Today, The City of Calgary reiterated that the limit of 15 people gathering remains in place, meaning major events will remain cancelled. They also reiterated that all organized and team sport and use of recreation fields and facilities continue to be prohibited. City playgrounds and skate parks remain closed. Albertans are also expected to continue to work from home where possible and limit travel to essential needs only.

Phases will be monitored by a robust set of triggers that will inform when it’s possible to advance to the next phase. Please note this is all subject to change.

Business advocacy update:

An update of note is that last night, Calgary City Council voted to waive all business license fees for one year, backdated to March 16, 2020. Further details are expected soon on Calgary.ca.

Previous update - April 30, 2020

This afternoon, in a very positive announcement for Albertans and for Alberta’s tourism industry, Premier Kenney shared Alberta’s phased approach to carefully and gradually re-opening the economy. We know you’ll have a lot of questions, but please understand that many details are still forthcoming and we’ll share them as we have them. Here’s what we know right now:

There will be foundational elements required by all, including continued testing and contract tracing, border controls, rules and guidance for use of mask, protecting the vulnerable and physical distancing.

Phases will be monitored by a robust set of triggers that will inform when it’s possible to advance to the next phase. Please note this is all subject to change.

Current projections indicate that by May 14, we may proceed to Phase 1 openings. Please note, the limit of 15 people gathering remains in place, meaning major events will remain cancelled. Albertans are also expected to continue to work from home where possible and limit travel to essential needs only.

Phase 1 (Currently scheduled for May 14) – Openings include: retail services, hair styling and barbering, daycares, restaurants, cafes, lounges and bars – with 50% occupancy limits, museums and art galleries and additional outdoor recreation.

Phase 2 – Openings include: personal services, massage and reflexology, summer camps, post-secondary institutions deliver online, in-person or a blend of programming with restrictions, potential of K-12 schools with restrictions, movie theatres with restrictions, additional elective services.

Phase 3 – Openings include: swimming pools, gyms and arenas with restrictions, nightclubs with restrictions, industry conferences, arts and cultural festivals, all with restrictions and major sporting events with restrictions.

Please note, further clarification about all of these phases and potential openings will be provided by the Provincial Government on a regular basis and will be monitored and aligned with the triggers outlined by the Province for when we can advance to the next phase.

For more information, please see Alberta.ca, or view Alberta's full COVID-19 re-launch strategy here. Tomorrow at 1 p.m., Mayor Nenshi will address Calgary media and is expected to provide more information following today’s update from the Province.

This is great news for the beginning of re-opening our economy; however, we aren’t out of the woods yet. As Dr. Hinshaw said, “today marks the start of the ‘taking care of each other’ phase." All of the hard work and sacrifices of Albertans are paying off. While there may be setbacks, we’re moving in the right direction, and this is great news for everyone in our industry. Well done, everyone. 

 

Previous update - April 23, 2020

Following yesterday’s comments by Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer, Mayor Nenshi announced this afternoon that all events in Calgary have been cancelled to Aug. 31. This will impact 166 events in our city. Sincere thanks go to all staff and volunteers for the hard work, hard decisions and countless hours of effort expended on behalf of our city, citizens and visitors.

Tourism Calgary recognizes the significant efforts our industry has undertaken to adjust to these measures and remains committed to supporting you in finding virtual and contact-free ways to engage Calgarians through the #LoveYYC from Home program. Learn more about the program and about how to submit your information for free here.

This morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the Federal government is partnering with provinces and territories to deliver the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. For more information, click here. 

The CECRA program for small businesses will seek to provide loans and/or forgivable loans to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May and June.

Implementation of the program will require a partnership with provincial and territorial governments who are responsible for property owner-tenant relationships. More details will be available soon through the Government of Canada.

This week brought several difficult announcements. If you're experiencing overwhelming feelings of stress, isolation and anxiety, confidential mental health supports are available through the Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642 and the Addiction Help Line at 1-866-332-2322.

Tourism Calgary is here for you. As always, feel free to reach out to industry@tourismcalgary.com if you have questions.

 

Previous update - April 23, 2020


This afternoon, our great partners at Calgary Stampede and Calgary Folk Music Festival announced that due to the effects of COVID-19, the annual showpiece events will be cancelled. Along with all the other events, festivals, meetings and conventions in our city that have faced cancellation, postponement or reimagination, we extend our thanks and appreciation to organizers and volunteers for the hard work, hard decisions and countless hours of effort expended on behalf of our city, citizens and visitors.

Calgary Stampede is about community spirit, and that’s what we at Tourism Calgary have been thinking a lot about. Despite the very difficult circumstances, community spirit is at the heart of our industry. Together, we’re unstoppable at fostering community spirit - and more importantly, at sharing it - and that’s exactly what we’ll continue to do. We won’t be deterred by what we won’t have this year, rather, we’ll find new ways to engage Calgarians, share good news and promote our industry partners. That’s the Calgary way.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing with you some of the details of how Tourism Calgary plans to work in collaboration with our partners and stakeholders to support and contribute to the rebuild and recovery of our industry. In the meantime, if you haven’t already, please join our #LoveYYC from Home program, so we can share your business’ offerings and good news with Calgary.

Here’s to our collective, unstoppable community spirit. We're greatest together!

 

Previous update - April 15, 2020

Thanks to those who have taken the time to complete the surveys we’ve been sharing over the last five weeks. With all the surveys out there right now (information is so important), it can feel overwhelming, so please accept our sincere appreciation for your time and input.

To assure all that we’re mindful of what is being shared with us, we want to share some of the key findings from our surveys, and give a sense for what we’re doing with this intelligence.

What we’re hearing about the impact of the pandemic:

First of all, it’s not news to anyone just how significantly our industry has been impacted. What is interesting is that it seems many are taking advantage of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program, which has brought staff back to work, and reduced layoffs by about 16 percent. Our food and beverage partners are finding the WCB premium deferral useful, while those in accommodations are taking advantage of the deferred federal tax, municipal property tax deferral and tourism levy deferral programs.

That said, only a third of our partners feel that they are getting the support they need right now from government. Extensions of the programs are needed, as are grants. It is noted that the current deferrals will eventually add to debt loads, and the timing of those programs could impede revenue-generating timeframes.

What we’re doing about it:

Tourism Calgary is working with all orders of government, both directly and through our partnerships with Destination Canada, the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, Travel Alberta and the Tourism Industry Association of Alberta to share your thoughts and findings directly with elected officials and administration. We sit on local committees including the City of Calgary Business Recovery Task Force, the City’s Shop Local Task Force, Premier Kenney’s roundtables and others representing the needs of our industry. We will continue this important work on your behalf.

What we’re hearing about how Calgary's tourism industry is looking forward:

Calgary's tourism industry is working hard through this time to prepare for re-opening and to find new ways of doing business. Social media promotions are being updated; services are being modified; and new marketing, promotions and sales are being developed. Those in the meetings and events sector are focused on modifying services and updating marketing materials.

While nearly half of our industry – particularly those in the restaurant and attractions sectors – can be operational within two weeks of restrictions being lifted, the other half may need as much as a year.

What we’re doing about it:

We’re sharing our industry's innovations. Updated continuously, Tourism Calgary's #LoveYYC From Home platform supports Calgary's resilient tourism industry and inspires residents to stay connected while they continue to experience - and share - our city through virtual and contact-free offerings. Please continue to share your business' new virtual or contact-free events and offerings with us by filling out the #LoveYYC From Home form, or by contacting a member of our team via industry@tourismcalgary.com.

Stay tuned for more opportunities and resources from Tourism Calgary to support your efforts in the coming weeks.

What we heard the industry say about what we should be working on:

The most important work Tourism Calgary should be focused on is securing financial support from government and developing a recovery plan.

What we’re doing about it:

Our advocacy efforts are noted above, and are a significant focus of ours.

Developing a plan for recovery is also a vital part of our work. We know that a rebuilding phase will precede recovery. Our first focus will be hyper-local – when the time is right we will need to support our industry to get back on its feet, while encouraging Calgarians and very close regional markets to get out and enjoying all of our experiences. This will support the rebuild, grow community spirit and help our economy. Recovery will follow, and that work will be in close collaboration with local, provincial, national and international partners. This will also influence our update of Calgary’s long-term Destination Strategy.

Stay tuned for much, much more information about recovery and rebuild plans and how members of Calgary's tourism industry can get involved and support.

In the meantime, we’re updating our Industry webpages nearly daily and will continue to offer opportunities to engage with Calgary Emergency Management Agency and Alberta Health Services on a frequent basis. Our social channels are up and running, #LoveYYC from Home is being continuously added to and shared with consumers, and every week we’re telling five feel-good stories about our community.

As always, we invite you to share your stories, ideas, questions and suggestions with us directly or through industry@tourismcalgary.com.

On behalf of Cindy Ady and the rest of the Tourism Calgary team, thank you to our industry for the ongoing input, time, positivity and creativity through this pandemic. The collective reaction and response show us every day why Calgary – and why Calgary’s tourism and hospitality industry – is the best, anywhere. 

Previous update - April 13, 2020

We hope you had a lovely long-weekend. On April 12, the Government of Canada's $52 billion relief program, including the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, passed in the House of Commons. Details of the program, which will cover 75 percent of the first $58,700 earned by an employee for three months, can be found here. Canadian businesses can apply to receive $847 per week, per employee to subsidize wages for three months, provided the employer can demonstrate a drop in gross revenues of at least 15 percent in March and 30 percent in April and May.

Provincially, the Government of Alberta announced today that to increase support to charities, it has launched a charitable matching donation program. Starting April 15, the Alberta government will match, dollar-for-dollar, donations up to $2 million to Alberta-based charities and non-profit organizations with COVID-19 fundraising campaigns. 

Municipally, The City of Calgary is advocating to the provincial and federal governments for local priorities, which are summarized here:

City of Calgary COVID advocacy themes

 

 

Finally, staying connected and supporting our valued partners is more important than ever. Updated continuously, Tourism Calgary's #LoveYYC From Home platform supports Calgary's resilient tourism industry and inspires residents to stay connected while they continue to experience - and share - our city through virtual and contact-free experiences. To learn more about the #LoveYYC From Home platform, see: visitcalgary.com/loveyyc-from-home. This resource is updated regularly, so please continue to share your business' new virtual or contact-free events and offerings with us by filling out the #LoveYYC From Home form, or by contacting a member of our team via industry@tourismcalgary.com.

Tourism Calgary is here for you. If you're experiencing overwhelming feelings of stress, isolation and anxiety, confidential mental health supports are available through the Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642 and the Addiction Help Line at 1-866-332-2322.

Previous update - April 7, 2020

On April 6, Calgary City Council voted to defer municipal property tax payments, including municipal business tax, to September 30, 2020 without penalty or interest. Property owners on TIPP can call 3-1-1 for assistance or to participate.

We know that several Tourism Calgary partners - particularly breweries - have shifted their operations to focus on producing products to support the fight against COVID-19. On April 3, Premier Jason Kenney announced the Bits and Pieces program, which encourages individuals, private companies and non-profit organizations to offer products and services, including personal protective equipment, towards Alberta's fight against COVID-19. More than 2,900 offers of support have poured in from private and non-profit organizations so far.

For more information on the Bits and Pieces program, or to find out how you can help, click here.

Finally, this afternoon, CEMA Chief Tom Sampson and Dr. Friesen from AHS hosted another virtual town hall. We're grateful for the ongoing opportunities to hear directly from CEMA and AHS and for our industry to be able to ask questions. Some highlights from today's call included:

  • If you must physically be in a work environment, the best practice is to split your teams and have physical distancing measures in place in work spaces, washrooms, kitchens, work and break schedules to reduce contact between people as much as possible;
  • Hand washing continues to be the most effective way of protecting yourself from COVID-19;
  • High contact areas in your work space, home and vehicles should be cleaned frequently;
  • There are guidelines and resources for workplaces, managers and employees on Alberta.ca and Calgary.ca;
  • COVID-19 tests are being processed within 24 - 28 hours, and contact-tracers are following up immediately following positive results;
  • The current list of essential services is very broad and is being monitored. It is not unreasonable to expect that this list will be further reduced in the coming weeks;
  • Outdoor recreational fields, courts and facilities will remain closed at least until end of June;
  • If new information becomes available, these regulations may be relaxed;
  • The City will likely update on summer events in the next few weeks.

Tourism Calgary is here for you. If you're experiencing overwhelming feelings of stress, isolation and anxiety, confidential mental health supports are available through the Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642 and the Addiction Help Line at 1-866-332-2322

 

Previous update - April 3, 2020

As we close another week, Tourism Calgary extends our warm and sincere appreciation to each and every one in our industry. This has been another week of ups and downs, yet the best of Calgary is shining through, and our partners have been a consistent and significant bright light for Calgarians through the ways in which you've responded to this crisis and continue to support our community and each other. Thank you.

As of April 3, Mayor Nenshi and CEMA Chief Sampson announced the cancellation of events and event permits to June 30, 2020. We know this news will impact many of our partners, and we're here to support you. Please reach out to us if you have questions or would like help. We're here for you. For more information, click here.

While we're unable to host events, or open our physical doors, staying connected and supporting our partners is more important than ever. Tourism Calgary launched #LoveYYC From Home. This new platform helps support Calgary's resilient tourism industry that has found new and exciting ways to safely engage Calgarians, and inspires residents to share their love for their city and stay connected through virtual or contact-free experiences.

From offering virtual tours, classes and events to developing inventive delivery options and sharing numerous acts of generosity, Calgary's tourism industry remains driven by big dreams and determined to make a contribution. Your love and pride for your employees, businesses and Calgary is undeniable and inspiring.

To access a robust list of virtual and contact-free offerings already available, see visitcalgary.com/loveYYC-from-home. If you'd like your business included, please fill out the #LoveYYC From Home form or connect with a member of the Tourism Calgary team via industry@tourismcalgary.com.

You can also get involved by sharing your favourite Calgary experiences and acts of compassion on social media using #LoveYYC and by tagging @TourismCalgary on all platforms.

 

Previous update - March 31, 2020

As proud Calgarians, we know that our community spirit is what sets us apart and reinforces our position as ultimate hosts. The Calgary attitude remains that no matter what comes our way, or what life has in store, we work together to make it through and we come out stronger. It's at times like these when our community spirit shines brightest. We accept the challenges and devise collaborative, innovative solutions to forge ahead.

Calgary's tourism industry is facing tough times. Despite all this, we're seeing so many examples of collaboration and perseverance as our industry looks for new ways to help residents unlock the best version of Calgary. From virtual tours, classes and events to numerous acts of compassion and humanity, Calgary's tourism industry remains driven by big dreams and determined to make a contribution.

As a leader for our industry, Tourism Calgary is committed to fostering our city's undeniable community spirit and to supporting our valued partners as they adjust to this situation. As you know, we've been actively advocating for our industry by telling your stories and articulating your needs to different orders of government and other response partners. Now, we're adding to our support efforts through a campaign called #LoveYYC From Home. The purpose of this campaign is to identify the new ways you're sharing Calgary's experiences, then to leverage our highly-visible digital channels and marketing resources to highlight and support your efforts. Ways to get involved include:

  • Fill out the #LoveYYC From Home form to provide us with details around initiatives your organization has undertaken to safely engage Calgarians in ways that connect and inspire. This could include anything from virtual events and classes to home delivery services and acts of generosity. We're open to all submissions.
  • Connect with a member of the Tourism Calgary team via industry@tourismcalgary.com to share your organization's current efforts and to discuss how we can leverage our channels to support.

  • Share your efforts and acts of compassion on social media using #LoveYYC and by tagging @TourismCalgary on all platforms so we can share it too.

Examples of some initiatives that have caught our eyes include: CRAFT gives proceeds from all gift cards and apparel sales to staffGlenbow Museum offers virtual tours daily at 10 a.m.TELUS Spark Science from home blasts offCalgary Zoo offers 'Daily Dose at Home'.

Tourism Calgary is here for you. Let's keep showing our love and pride for our community, and for each other.

 

Previous update - March 27, 2020

On March 30, a virtual information session was hosted by Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) Chief Tom Sampson, and Dr. Nicholas Etches from Alberta Health Services. Thanks to all who have tuned in to these sessions and supported the spread of information, not the spread of the virus. A few key questions and answers relevant to Calgary's tourism industry that were addressed in today's session include:

  • Given restrictions around certain businesses and workplace closures, what is considered an essential service? Alberta has implemented public health orders restricting certain businesses and workplace closures to protect Albertans' health and limit the spread of COVID-19. An extensive list outlining all non-essential retail businesses is available here. If you're still unsure if your business is considered essential after referring to this web page, contact biz.connect@gov.ab.ca.
  • If a hotel guest has a confirmed case of COVID-19, can the hotel continue operations? Yes, operations can continue so long as there's no risk to anyone else in the hotel. Management should be in close contact with Alberta Health Services so they can monitor the situation. Additionally, the guest should be provided with any food and amenities they need to remain in self-isolation. Employees should wear gloves when coming into contact with anything used by the guest, and the room should be thoroughly cleaned upon their departure.
  • What is the protocol for people travelling in shared vehicles like taxis? If you have symptoms, you should not be travelling anywhere, you should be home self-isolating. If you are sharing a vehicle with someone, maximize physical distance when possible by sitting in the back seat opposite the person driving.

As of March 29, the City of Calgary made a few additional announcements to further support businesses in navigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. These include:

  • Cancellation of Business Improvement Area (BIA) Tax penalties between April 1 and June 30. This means that any business that has not already paid their BIA tax has until June 30, 2020 to pay a penalty fee. A penalty of 7% would apply to taxes outstanding as of July 1, 2020.
  • Decrease in Tax Instalment Payment Plan (TIPP) payments. Non-residential property owners participating in TIPP will see a decrease in the April 1 instalment equal to the provincial property tax portion. This portion has been deferred for six months.
  • For more information, please click here.

Tourism Calgary has been actively advocating for our industry and articulating your needs to all orders of government and other response partners. Thanks to all who have been completing our surveys and helping us understand and share the impact of COVID-19 on Calgary's tourism industry. This week, we will be adding to our support efforts by asking for you to share your stories of how your business and employees are finding new ways of sharing your experiences, so we can highlight and support them. Please stay tuned for those details.

In the meantime, the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, the Hotel Association of Canada and Restaurants Canada have submitted a joint proposal to The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages. You can read the proposal and add your name here.

Tourism Calgary is here for you. As always, feel free to reach out to industry@tourismcalgary.com if you have questions.

 

Previous update - March 27, 2020

Several updates were made today by the federal, provincial and municipal governments.

This afternoon, The City of Calgary ordered the suspension of group sport activities, and the closure of skate parks in addition to playgrounds.

Just now, Premier Jason Kenney ordered that mass gatherings be restricted to 15 people or less, and that all non-essential businesses close, including restaurants. This does not limit take-out services. More information can be found here.

At the federal level, several new support programs for small businesses were announced. The Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) provided the following summary:

Increased Wage Subsidy to 75% for qualifying businesses

  • The government’s previously announced wage subsidy of 10% will be replaced by a wage subsidy of 75%, helping tourism businesses keep employees on payroll and position the industry for recovery once this health crisis is over. 
  • Eligibility criteria will start with the impact of COVID-19 on sales. Further details regarding eligibility will be shared by the government shortly. 
  • This subsidy will be available to small and medium businesses for up to three months and retroactive until March 15, 2020, allowing tourism businesses to potentially re-hire laid off staff. 

Deferred GST & HST payments, duties and taxes on imports until June 2020

  • A measure equivalent of providing up to $30 billion in interest-free loans to Canadian businesses. 
  • Deferred payments to allow businesses to have more liquidity on hand to survive the financial impact of COVID-19.

Canada Emergency Business Account

  • Banks will offer $40,000 loans, guaranteed by the government to qualifying small businesses and loans will be interest-free for the first year. Qualifying businesses must have payrolls of less than $1 million.
  • Full loan repayment by December 31, 2022, will result in a 25% loan forgiveness up to $10,000.

Loans will be available through eligible financial institutions and will be fully guaranteed and funded by the Government of Canada

New access to Credit through Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program 

  • The government announced $12.5 billion of additional support and access to credit through EDC and BDC to help small and medium-sized enterprises with cashflow requirements through the new Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program. 
  • Businesses can apply for a guaranteed loan through their banking institution to access this additional financial support. 
  • Loans of up to $6.25 million will be made available to small and medium-sized businesses in Canada directly through their financial institutions

More details can be found here. Tourism Calgary is here for you. As always, feel free to reach out to industry@tourismcalgary.com if you have questions.

 

Previous update - March 26, 2020

As you’ve shared with us over the last few weeks, the impacts of COVID-19 have forced you to make very difficult decisions about the operations of your business. An overwhelming number of you have had to enact temporary layoffs as a result of the changing environment. As of March 26, Tourism Calgary had to do the same. Faced with significantly decreased funding, and uncertainty about timelines, 60 percent of Tourism Calgary’s valued team members were given notice of temporary layoffs, effective in early April.

We want to stress the temporary nature of the layoffs, and the fact that we’re still here to serve you, our industry partners. A core team - on reduced compensation and some on reduced hours - has been retained to help our partners and organization navigate this crisis period and prepare for recovery. We know that when that time comes, it will be more important than ever for our industry to pull together, support each other and get Calgarians back to experiencing – and sharing – all that our great city and region have to offer. Then, we will invite the world.

We expressed our deep appreciation to our team members who are accepting temporary layoffs. We know that they are eager to rejoin Tourism Calgary as soon as it is prudent, and we’re equally eager to have them back. Because of our team, and our committed and passionate industry, tourism in Calgary will return to the strong and vital industry it was only a month ago.

We remain committed to you, our industry partners. Feel free to contact industry@tourismcalgary.com anytime and we will respond.

 

Previous update - March 23, 2020

Through tough times in our city, Calgary’s tourism industry has shown time and again that we support each other, and this tough time is no exception. We’re seeing so many examples of collaboration, perseverance and daring and undaunted ways of sharing the best Calgary has to offer – even if those things are looking and feeling a little different. We certainly aren’t surprised to see this, but it warms our hearts nonetheless. Your love and pride of your employees, businesses and Calgary is shining bright.

This week, Tourism Calgary’s advocacy efforts seeking support for the tourism industry will continue. We will be convening a small roundtable of leaders from every sector of our industry to discuss our advocacy efforts on behalf of the industry, and to ensure the breadth of the visitor economy is represented. We’ll announce another virtual townhall with CEMA and AHS to allow you to ask questions directly of them, and, we’ll have another survey for you, to ensure our data is complete and up-to-date. Please watch for that, and thanks in advance for your input.

Finally, this week we’re going to be asking for you to share your stories of how your business and employees are finding new ways of sharing your experiences, so we can highlight and support them. Please stay tuned for those details.

In the meantime, Premier Kenney announced today new support for small businesses. Highlights are below and details can be found here.

Corporate income tax changes:

  • Corporate income tax balances and instalment payments will be deferred from March 19 until August 31, 2020 to increase employers' access to cash so they can pay employees, address debts and continue operations.

Education property tax deferral:

  • Education property tax rates will be frozen at last year's levels - reversing the 3.4 per cent population and inflation increase added in Budget 2020.
  • Collection of non-residential property tax for businesses will be deferred for six months.
  • Municipalities are expected to set education property tax rates as they normally would, but defer collection.
  • Deferred amounts will be repaid in future years.
  • Commercial landlords are encouraged to pass savings on to their tenants through reduced or deferred payments to help employers pay their employees and stay in business.
  • Businesses capable of paying their taxes in full are encouraged to do so. This will assist the province in supporting Albertans through the pandemic.

WCB premium payment deferral:

  • Small, medium and large private sector employers can defer WCB premium payments until 2021.

  • For small and medium businesses, the government will cover 50 per cent of the 2020 premium when it is due in 2021 - saving businesses $350 million.
  • Large employers will have their 2020 WCB premium payments deferred until 2021, at which time their premiums will be due.
  • Employers who have already paid WCB premiums in 2020 are eligible for a rebate or credit.

Resources are also available through the Federal government's Regional Development Agencies. The Government of Canada is taking action to support tourism and other businesses and workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. You can take advantage of new investments and initiatives such as:

  • Enhancements to the Work-Sharing program to help support employers and their workers who are experiencing a downturn in business due to COVID-19.
  • Waiving the mandatory one-week waiting period for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits.
  • Income support for those who are not eligible for EI sickness benefits is also being explored.

Details can be found here.

Also, a few key questions and answers relevant to our industry from today’s virtual townhall with CEMA and AHS include:

  • Should hotels remain open? At this time, there are no restrictions around hotels. Properties can remain open if they wish; however, cleaning processes should be reviewed and enhanced, and symptomatic guests should be accommodated to ensure they’re able to self-isolate;
  • What are the recommendations around outdoor sport organizations that host practices on open fields? At this time, it is not recommended to engage in sporting activities where competitors can come into close contact, even if those activities take place outdoors;
  • What is the response to breweries making hand sanitizer? The city has received lots of offers of support, and they are greatly appreciated. CEMA is doing what it can to get approval from the federal level so that these organizations may move forward with their plans to offer support.

Tourism Calgary is here for you. As always, feel free to reach out if you have questions via industry@tourismcalgary.com.

Let's keep showing our love and pride for our community, and for each other.

 

Previous update - March 18, 2020 at 5:30 p.m.

As expected, the afternoon of March 17, Premier Jason Kenney announced financial assistance for Albertans and employers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Details around how the programs will operate are expected in the next week; however, just announced are financial supports for Albertans including:

Employer support: To give employers increased access to cash in order to pay employees, address debts and continue operations, the government will defer the collection of corporate income tax balances and installment payments, due after today, until Aug. 31, 2020. This gives Alberta businesses access to about $1.5 billion in funds to help them cope with the COVID-19 crisis.

Emergency isolation support: A temporary program for working adult Albertans who must self-isolate because they meet the Government of Alberta's published criteria for self-isolation, including persons who are the sole caregiver for a dependent who must self-isolate because they meet the public health criteria, and who will not have another source of pay or compensation while they are self-isolated.

Utility payment holiday: Residential, farm and small commercial customers can defer bill payments for the next 90 days to ensure no one will be cut off from these services during this time of crisis. This will cover electricity and natural gas, regardless of the service provider.

Student loans repayment holiday: The government will implement a six-month, interest-free moratorium on Alberta student loan payments for all individuals who are in the process of repaying these loans.

ATB Financial customers impacted by COVID-19:

  • Personal banking customers can apply for a deferral on their ATB loans, lines of credit and mortgages for up to six months.
  • Small business customers, in addition to payment deferrals on loans and lines of credit, will be provided access to additional working capital.
  • For other business and agriculture customers, ATB will work with customers on a one-on-one basis and further solutions are being considered at this time.
  • For more information on ATB's relief program, please visit their website.

Alberta credit unions:

  • Credit union members will have access to a variety of programs and solutions designed to ease difficulties with loan payments and short-term cash flow.
  • Both individual and business members are encouraged to proactively contact their credit union directly to work out a plan for their personal situation.

More details are available here.

 

Yesterday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Federal support. Details can be found details here.

 

Previous update - March 18, 2020 at 10 a.m.

Thanks to all Tourism Calgary partners and stakeholders who have been completing our surveys and helping us understand and share the impact of COVID-19 on Calgary's tourism industry.

With the situation changing daily and hourly, so does the impact. We know from our most recent surveying from March 14 to 16, fully 86 per cent of Calgary's tourism industry members have already been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As an industry that includes many small businesses, you are feeling the residual impacts which for many have included the very difficult need to lay off staff. We know there is an urgent need for financial support.

Tourism Calgary is sharing the results of our surveys with government partners and others to help them realize the significant impact of COVID-19 on our industry. In fact, Cindy Ady, Tourism Calgary's CEO, will be joining Premier Jason Kenney's economic roundtable on March 18 to help him and his government understand how our industry specifically is being impacted and what support would be helpful, based on what you're telling us.

We understand that news of provincial support for business and employees will be announced later today or tomorrow. As soon as it is, we'll share it with Tourism Calgary partners and stakeholders. In the meantime, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Federal support. Details can be found here.

Tourism Industry Association of Canada has outlined the details, and at a high level, they include:

  • $27 billion to fund COVID-19 research - this funding will support 47 research teams from across Canada that will focus on accelerating the development, testing and implementation of measures to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak (link for details here)
  • $1 billion package to help Canadians cope with the COVID-19 outbreak, with half of the money going to the provinces and territories - the fund will help put in place the plans, infrastructure and resources needed to protect the health and safety of all Canadians (link for details here).
  • Employment Insurance - The Government of Canada will waive the one-week waiting period for people who are in quarantine or who have been directed to self-isolate and are claiming for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits (link for details here).The Government of Canada will also introduce enhancements to the 
  • Work-Sharing Program to earmark an estimated $12 million to help employers who are experiencing a downturn in business due to COVID-19, and their workers (link for details here)
  • Establishment of a $10 billion Business Credit Availability Program to further support financing in the private sector through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada (link for more details here).

Tourism Calgary is here for you. We're in this together. If you have questions, feel free to reach out to industry@tourismcalgary.com.

Previous update - March 17, 2020:

On March 17, a virtual information session was hosted by Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) Chief Tom Sampson, and Dr. Nicholas Etches from Alberta Health Services following the Government of Alberta's declaration of a state of emergency under the Public Health Act. Invitation to this information session was extended to other partners of The City of Calgary, in addition to Calgary’s tourism industry.

Because the information is changing so quickly, we aren’t able to record these sessions. This ensures we are not sharing out-of-date information.

Effective today, March 17, new public health measures are in place to limit the time Albertan's spend in large crowds and crowded spaces:

  • All events over 50 people are cancelled.

  • Albertans are restricted from attending bars and nightclubs, where minors are prohibited by law.

  • Sit-down restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, food courts and other food service facilities, including those with minors-allowed liquor license, are limited to 50 per cent capacity to a maximum of 50 people.

    • Take-out, delivery or drive-through service is permitted;

    • Licensed facilities are permitted to deliver liquor; however,

    • Buffet restaurants are an exception and must close.

  • Mass gatherings are now limited to no more than 50 attendees.

    • This includes: Conferences, worship gatherings and family events such as weddings and funerals.

    • This does not include: Grocery stores, shopping centres, health care facilities, airports, the legislature and other essential services.

  • Albertans are prohibited from attending public recreation facilities and private entertainment facilities.

    • This includes: Gyms, swimming pools, arenas, science centres, museums, art galleries, community centres, children's play centres, casinos, racing entertainment centres and bingo halls.

 

The goal is to flatten the curve and slow down the transmission of COVID-19.

Flatten the curve

Thanks to CEMA and AHS for making this forum available to Calgary's tourism industry. Tourism Calgary is here for you - if you have specific questions for Tourism Calgary related to this situation, please direct them to industry@tourismcalgary.com.

 

Previous update - March 16, 2020:

As of March 15, the City of Calgary has declared a State of Local Emergency to support the Government of Alberta's efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19. 

This gives Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) the power to reduce the capacity of events and facilities to 50 per cent of their fire load card occupancy, to a maximum of 250 people. 

In following these recommendations and supporting the community during this difficult time, various events have been cancelled or postponed and some organizations are temporarily closed. For a full list of event cancellations and postponements and to review temporary organization closures, please click here.

 

Previous update - March 13, 2020:

On March 13, a virtual townhall special to Calgary’s tourism industry was hosted in conjunction with Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) Chief Tom Sampson, and Dr. Nicholas Etches from Alberta Health Services.

Because the situation is evolving so rapidly, we are unable to provide video from the session. However, the presentation slides below provide a fulsome overview of the information shared. To access the presentation slides, click here.

 

The goal is to slow down transmission of COVID-19. As tourism industry leaders, you’re encouraged to support this effort by following the recommendations established by Alberta Health Services including:

  • Staying home if you’re sick and encouraging your colleagues to do the same;
  • Doing what you can to support and educate your organization and your customers;
  • Post signage in all entryways that encourages people to go home if they show symptoms;
  • Post signage throughout the facility that encourages patrons to wash their hands;
  • Providing hand sanitizer, and making it easy for people to wash their hands; and
  • See what you can do to space people out.

Please know that Tourism Calgary is here for you. We will continue to work closely with our partners, including Calgary Emergency Management Agency and the Calgary Hotel Association to share information as we have it.

Thanks to CEMA Chief Tom Sampson and Dr. Nicholas Etches from Alberta Health Services for providing our industry with this important update. If you have specific questions for Tourism Calgary related to this situation, please direct them to industry@tourismcalgary.com.

 

Previous update - March 10, 2020:

As the situation in Calgary and Alberta is evolving, Tourism Calgary continues to work closely with our partners, including Calgary Emergency Management Agency, the Calgary Hotel Association and YYC Calgary International Airport to ensure our industry is prepared.

As of March 10, the Public Health Agency of Canada continues to rate the public health risk associated with COVID-19 as low for Canada. Public health risk is continually reassessed as new information becomes available. All relevant information on COVID-19 is available through the Public Health Agency of Canada website, including information on prevention and risks. A hotline has also been set up for the public to call if they have further questions at 1.833.784.4397

We will continue to actively monitor the situation, develop mitigation strategies with partners and to update this page as new information becomes available.

Previous update - March 2, 2020:

COVID-19 is having an impact on tourism around the world. Canada and its tourism destinations are already experiencing the impact through the cancellation of flights and of conferences and events. As the virus continues to spread, we expect to see further impacts nationally, provincially and locally.

While there are no known cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, the tourism industry is especially vulnerable to global pandemics. For that reason, Tourism Calgary is working closely with partners to support our industry and the local tourism economy by shifting our marketing efforts for 2020 to a national and regional approach. By being responsive and nimble in our efforts, we aim to mitigate the impact on those who work and operate businesses in Calgary’s $2 billion tourism industry.

Tourism Calgary is working closely with our partners, including Calgary Emergency Management Agency, the Calgary Hotel Association and YYC Calgary International Airport to ensure our industry is prepared.

Previous update - Feb. 25, 2020:

Tourism Calgary is actively monitoring COVID-19 developments and is working closely with Travel Alberta and Destination Canada to provide accurate and timely information related to this evolving global situation.

As of Feb. 25, the Public Health Agency of Canada has rated the public health risk associated with COVID-19 as low for Canada. Public health risk is continually reassessed as new information becomes available. All relevant information on COVID-19 is available through the Public Health Agency of Canada website, including information on prevention and risks. A hotline has also been set up for the public to call if they have further questions at 1.833.784.4397.

We will continue to monitor the situation and to update this page as new information becomes available.

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