IT’S RAISE DAY in B.C. with a scheduled 75-cent minimum wage hike taking effect today despite small businesses
challenged to continue operating during the virus pandemic. The minimum wage goes to $14.60 per hour, the last step before rising to $15 next year. Labour Minister Harry Bains said the government understands the pressures facing employers, but workers are
also struggling. Bains said the government’s $5-billion pandemic plan includes tax breaks and tax deferrals for businesses, and a $1.5 billion economic recovery fund.
BACK TO CLASS – Classes resume this morning for B.C. students, but it sure won’t be like the classrooms kids left behind when the virus pandemic shut down schools across the province. Schools are reopening to the broad student body on
an optional basis, leaving it up to families to decide if they want to go or continue learning from home. Those riding the bus will have a driver wearing a protective visor and they will sit by themselves. Parents who take their kids to school will stay outside
or make appointment to reduce the number of adults who don't need to be in the building. Schools will have consistent procedures for site access, cleaning and hygiene and physical distancing. However, details will vary from school to school.
RECOVERING WILDLIFE – The North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre in Errington will reopen tomorrow after being closed to the public for more than two months. The centre relies
heavily on admission income to operate its facility, to feed and rehabilitate the more-than-100 animals that are permanent residents or recovering. Derek Downes of the centre says the community has been incredible during the closure and no rehabilitation of
any animal was affected. Staff encourage social distancing and will continue stringent cleaning procedures.
OUTDOOR MARKETS are doing very well in our area
despite of pandemic restrictions, reporting very positive first few weeks though the total number of customers is down. Island Roots market on Bowen Road was restricted due to mandated capacity, but manager Michele Greene said that meant 30 per cent fewer
shoppers than normal. Meanwhile, Cedar Farmers Market manager Kate Poirier said though there were fewer customers the spend-per-customer is much higher. Vendors report strong sales. People are coming to the market not just happy to be there, but with this
heavy sense of relief and incredible appreciation, she added. MORE
CAMPING TIME – It’s June and that spells the great outdoors, regardless of outside influences. Telegraph Cove Resort is reopening today on a limited basis. Cabins, lodge and apartment suites remain closed. Self-contained
campers are allowed, but public bathrooms and other amenities will remain closed. Rental accommodation, a pub and coffee shop, general store and café will reopen as regulations allow. Telegraph Cove is the launch point to the Broughton Archipelago,
B.C.’s largest marine park, a world-wide destination for kayakers and adventure campers.
SEE CANADA FIRST – Tourism is one of the mainstays of Vancouver
Island’s economy, so it is natural that Ottawa is earmarking millions of dollars to boost holiday travel inside our borders. Economic Development Minister Melanie Joly said the fund includes $30 million originally intended for attracting foreign visitors
to Canada. Some tourism industry leaders are seeking more clarity on rules and regulations around travel ahead of the summer season. A report last month suggested tourism could lose up to $47 billion this year because of the pandemic.