Coronavirus: Osoyoos town council braces for multi-million dollar tourism hit

Tourism officials in Osoyooos are warning that the COVID-19 pandemic could mean the loss of millions of dollars in revenue.

“With all leisure and business travel now at a standstill, Osoyoos stands to lose in excess of $6 million in revenue during the March to June period alone,” Destination Osoyoos said in a letter to town council.

“In some cases, businesses are already on the verge of collapse.”

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Destination Osoyoos said many local businesses don’t have sufficient cash reserves to pay fixed costs such as rent and utilities, and that some tourism operators do not qualify for federal and provincial programs.

READ MORE: No new positive cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health reported in past 48 hours: health official

To help local businesses remain solvent, the organization is asking council to defer property tax increases to 2021.

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It’s also suggesting council delay property tax payments until the fall and introduce flexible payment options.

In the letter, Destination Osoyoos asked for the deferment of fees on municipal licenses.

“Streamline the regulation or permitting process to allow businesses to launch, re-open or potentially expand operations in future,” was another suggestion given to council.

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Destination Osoyoos also wants to see council advocate for the needs of small businesses, especially in the tourism and hospitality industry.

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