COVID-19 update

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Updated June 30, 2020

COVID-19 update

Updated June 30, 2020

COVID-19 update as of June 30

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.

Government of Alberta: Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant applications now open

The Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant offers financial assistance to Alberta businesses, cooperatives and non-profit organizations that were ordered to close or curtail operations as a result of public health orders, and that experienced a revenue reduction of at least 50 per cent in April and/or May 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible organizations with less than 500 employees may apply to receive a maximum grant of $5,000 to support with reopening costs. Applications are open from now until August 31. For eligibility and application details, click here.

Canada Day in Calgary

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.

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:

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.

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 - 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.

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 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.

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.

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

  • 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. 

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

  • 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.

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

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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

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.

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.
  • 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.
  • Is there funding relief available for non-profit organizations? Emergency funding for charities, not-for-profits and civil society organizations to support their COVID-19 response is available through here.
  • 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.

 

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.

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

 

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.

 

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.

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:

  • 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.

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.

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

 

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • $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).

Flatten the curve

Previous update - March 16, 2020:

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.

  • 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.

Previous update - March 10, 2020:

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:

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

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