A view Revelstoke from the top of Mt. Cartier. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

Economic implications of COVID-19 already hitting Revelstoke

Hotels said many people are leaving early or calling to cancel bookings

Multiple businesses in Revelstoke said they are already feeling the economic pressure from COVID-19.

Usually, March is a busy time said Poppi Reiner, the owner of Poppi’s Guesthouse. However, she said many people are canceling accommodation bookings.

Reiner said people are still coming to Revelstoke because the ski resort is still open, however if the resort was to close.

“I’m hooped.”

The Revelstoke Mountain Resort announced this afternoon that they would be halting operations and closing due to COVID-19 precautions until further notice.

Poppi said she’s going to have to take out a line of credit from the bank to make it to the summer.

Canadian Mountain Holidays, a heliskiing company with lodges across the province, including in Revelstoke said they are suspending operations starting tomorrow due to the Government of Canada expanding their travel advisory.

Michele Marion, manager at Journey’s Perch, said they are also getting a lot of cancellations. She noted that Journey’s Perch has shared spaces, such as bathrooms, which isn’t ideal during a pandemic.

While Journey’s Perch usually closes during the shoulder season in the spring, Marion said it’s possible they might have to close early.

Charlotte Sit, local business owner of Mountain Standard Catering, said she canceled work this week. Sit is a caterer and gets hired as a chef for backcountry lodges.

She was hired to cook for an American group at a backcountry lodge this week but declined the work to limit the spread of the virus, particularly back to Revelstoke.

Other bookings Sit had for catering, have also been canceled.

Sit said she is concerned about the economic fallout as her job is directly related to travel.

“My work is gone.”

Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada will close its border to all who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents to slow spread of COVID-19. In previous days, he has also promised economic aid to help Canadians and businesses hit hardest by the coronavirus outbreak.

READ MORE: Revelstoke mayor says to stay calm, look after each other

READ MORE: Revelstoke doctor calls on ski resort to shut down amid COVID-19 pandemic

READ MORE: Macpherson Lodge, cancels rentals in wake of COVID-19

Revelstoke Chamber of Commerce said in a news release today that it is up to individual businesses to roll out the necessary measures to ensure best practices for owners, employees and patrons.

They continued the chamber will actively engage directly with municipal, provincial, and federal elected officials to remain updated so they can pass accurate information to their membership.

At this time, the chamber said they are prepared to continue to deliver service from the visitor centre through live chat and telephone to ensure that visitors continue to be supported during business hours.

According to the Government of Canada, employment insurance can provide benefits up to 15 weeks of income replacement and is available to people who are unable to work because of an illness. Canadians quarantined or impacted by coronavirus can apply for the benefits.

While tourism is feeling a pinch from the virus, Downie Timber said the mill is still busy.

“We’re very busy,” said Angus Woodman, manager of Downie Timber. He said the company is still able to send freight, even if the borders are closed to people.

However, Doug Donaldson, minister of forests, told Black Press last week that coronavirus is impacting forestry as a whole across the province. For example, he said that prior to coronavirus, the port of Prince Rupert would send out four ships of lumber per day. That has now been reduced to four per week.

“It just backs the whole system up and creates a domino effect. We’re going to see some short term implications to the economy in B.C. for sure,” said Donaldson.



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