In these uncertain times, things are changing fast. The City of Penticton has compiled this toolkit to provide support for residents and businesses who have been affected by COVID-19.
Whether you’re a worker who has been laid off, a business facing hardship or an individual wondering if you’re eligible for extra financial support, use this resource to see what funding and resources are available to you.
You'll also find information below about local resources to help residents in need connect with help in the community.
Check back often for updates. We'll be updating this toolkit as new information emerges.
The City of Penticton has activated its Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) to act as a central command and control facility. This ensures we’re in a strong position to respond quickly to any situation that may arise.
We have also set up a dedicated Call Centre to field questions about City services, facilities, closures or programming. The centre is staffed Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. through 4 p.m., and can be reached by phoning 250-490-2345.
In our efforts to help control the spread of COVID-19, all public facilities, parks and playgrounds have been closed. Follow our COVID-19 Information page.
Here are some other measures the City has taken so far:
An outdoor assessment centre is now open at McLaren Park Arena parking lot. Please note this is not a COVID-19 testing site and patients will be seen by appointment only.
How it Works
If you have a medical concern, phone your family doctor, walk-in clinic or dial 811. If a face-to-face appointment is required, the clinic will schedule an appointment to see a nurse practitioner or family doctor at the assessment centre.
The purpose of this centre, which is operated by the SOS Division of Family Practice, is to provide face-to-face appointments while maintaining social distancing.
Please note that community COVID-19 testing is being done by referral only at the Public Health Centre.
How do I pay my utility bill?
Even though City Hall is closed to the public, there are other options to pay bills, ask questions and update your accounts.
I’ve sold/purchased a property. How do I update my information with City Hall?
Same as above. Consult this list for ways to contact us.
What businesses in Penticton are considered an essential service?
The Province of BC determines which services are deemed an essential service. This CBC article offers some explanation.
Are the pickleball courts open? Why are they closed?
In support of National, Provincial and Regional efforts to contain and control the spread of COVID-19, the City of Penticton has implemented preventative measures including the closure of public facilities.
Will my garbage be picked up?
Yes, pickup will continue as regularly scheduled.
Is the dump open to the public?
Yes, it is currently open.
Are public washrooms open?
There are four public washrooms open from dawn to dusk: Okanagan Lake Park, Skaha Park East, Rotary Park and Lakawana Park.
How/when do I apply for the CERB?
Applications will be available on the Government of Canada website in early April.
How do I access the Rental Assistance Program?
An application will be available through the BC Housing website in early April.
How do I acquire hand sanitizer?
As many local grocery stores are seeing shortages in these areas, local distilleries have started to produce and sell hand sanitizer.
I have tickets to a theatre performance that has been cancelled/postponed. How do I get my money back?
Call the vendor that you originally purchased the ticket through. If it was at the Penticton Community Centre, call 250-490-2426.
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- BC Centre for Disease Control
- Emergency Info BC: emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca and Twitter: @EmergencyInfoBC
Local businesses are encouraged to review our Business Emergency Preparedness page for important steps that you can take now.
Penticton's Economic Development Office is up and running virtually. We can answer your questions or help you find the right resources to help in this unprecedented crisis (phone: 250-490-2591).
See the “Resources for Businesses / Employers” tab below for provincial and federal supports.
Penticton Fire Department has issued a fire ban until further notice in an effort to keep our air clean and smoke-free.
This means no open burning is allowed. Read the service announcement for the full details.
As cases of COVID-19 in B.C. continue to increase, the BC Centre for Disease Control recommended these measures to reduce excess air pollution. There is strong evidence that exposure to air pollution increases susceptibility to respiratory viral infections by decreasing immune function.
BC Transit is now limiting the number of Penticton passengers on each bus to 20 passengers. This will add space for physical distancing as part of its ongoing efforts to keep riders and drivers safe.
In addition, riders are asked to stand behind an enhanced red line on the floor of the bus.
BC Transit is deemed an essential service by the Province of BC and will continue to operate province wide. A number of safety improvements have already been made, including enhanced cleaning measures and enforcing rear-door entry – with no fares temporarily required. Front doors will only be used for accessible boarding.
Health Canada has issued advice about making and using homemade hand sanitizers.
It warns that the concentration in alcohol may not be high enough to kill the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 - and that people should stop using them.
The best way to prevent the spread of infection is to wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, says Health Canada. Read Health Canada's full statement and advice.
Resources for Individuals & Workers
Have you been affected by COVID-19? If so, you may be eligible for these benefits.
New information: Applications are now open for Canada's Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Click the Federal Support link below for links.
Help Paying Rent
Renters dealing with loss of income due to COVID-19 can apply for funding of $500 a month. This temporary rent supplement will be paid directly to landlords.
Applications will open in mid-April on the BC Housing website. The Province has also ordered a suspension on evictions and put a freeze on rental increases until the crisis has passed.
Student Loan Relief
As with the Federal Government’s Student Loans, B.C. will also be “freezing payments” for 6 months starting March 30, 2020.
Property Tax Deferment
The B.C. government offers a low-interest loan program that helps homeowners defer your property tax. Visit their website to find out more about eligibility, noting that this B.C. tax deferment page will be updated in May with the latest details.
Relief for the Most Vulnerable
The B.C. government has announced new emergency support for those who may be on income or disability insurance or for low-income seniors.
For those who aren't eligible for emergency federal support programs, including the CERB, the Province will provide an automatic $300-monthly COVID-19 crisis supplement for the next three months.
You do not need to apply for these benefits; you will automatically start receiving them. Visit the B.C. government website for a full list of support available.
Climate Action Tax Credit
A one-time enhancement to the climate action tax credit will be paid in July 2020 for moderate to low-income families. An adult will receive up to $218 (increased from $43.50) and a child will receive $64 (up from $12.75). This is a tax-free payment made to low-income individuals and families.
Other Provincial Support
For the full list of support that may be available to you at the provincial level, visit the B.C. Government's COVID-19 Provincial Support page.
Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
The Federal government is now accepting applications for the CERB, which will pay out $500/week for up to 16 weeks. It's available to those who have stopped working as a result of COVID-19.
To avoid applicants all applying on the same day, CRA has set up specific days individuals can apply, depending on their birth month. View this chart on Canada.ca for details and to apply.
The CERB will cover employees, contractors and self-employed workers. To qualify, you must have earned $5,000 in income or maternity/parental leave benefits in 2019 or in the 12 months preceding your application. If you have already applied for EI, you do not need to apply for this new benefit.
New: Trudeau announced Monday, April 6 that the CERB will be expanded to those who have reduced hours to 10 hours or less a week or students. More details to be released soon.
Child Tax Benefit
Families will receive an extra $300 per child through the Child Tax Benefit. These will be automatically added to your existing payments.
Boost to GST Credits
GST credits will be doubled, amounting to a $400 boost for individuals and $600 for couples. These will be automatically processed (no need to apply).
Speak to your mortgage provider. Many options are available for those who are experiencing layoff and/or hardship during this time.
Extended Tax Deadlines
The Federal Government has extended the deadline to file your taxes. The new deadline is June 1, 2020 with the ability to defer tax payments until Aug. 31, 2020.
Student Loan Relief
Students will receive a six-month interest-free moratorium (up to Sept. 30, 2020) for anyone in the process of repaying their loan.
RRIF's for Seniors
The required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIF) have been reduced by 25% for 2020. Similar rules will apply to RPP.
If you have lost income because of COVID-19, you may be eligible for a one-time payment of $1,000 from the Provincial Government. Applications for the BC Emergency Benefit for Workers will be available soon and payment will be made in May 2020 (we'll update the links when they become available).
Have you been laid off due to business closures or cutbacks? Apply online for EI regular benefits.
Have you been laid off due to illness? The government has removed the one-week waiting period and requirements for a medical certificate to apply for EI benefits. You can file online for EI sickness benefits.
Do you need to request a leave of absence from your employer? You are able to take unpaid, job-protected leave related to COVID-19 if you’re unable to work for the following reasons:
- You’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19
- You’re in quarantine or self-isolation
- Your employer has asked you not to work due to concern about exposure to others
- You need to provide care to a child or dependent adult related to COVID-19
- They are outside B.C. and unable to return to work due to self isolation.
About the Canada Emergency Response Benefit
We're still learning about the recently announced Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which will pay out $2,000 per month. This will be available to those who have lost their job, people who are sick or quarantined and parents who must stay home without pay to care for children.
It will cover employees, contractors and self-employed workers. To qualify, you must have earned $5,000 in income or maternity/parental leave benefits in 2019 or in the 12 months preceding your application.
The application form will be posted April 6 on the Government of Canada website. Important: If you have already applied for EI, you do not need to apply for this new benefit.
Resources for Businesses / Employers
If your business is experiencing hardship due to COVID-19, here are some resources available to you.
Some provincial taxes have been deferred, delayed or reduced. See the full list on the Provincial website.
Businesses with payroll over $500,000 can defer their employer health tax until Sept. 30, 2020. Businesses with payroll under this threshold are already exempt from the tax.
Extended tax filing is available on the following until Sept. 30, 2020:
- Health tax
- Municipal and regional district tax on short-term accommodation
- Tobacco tax
- Motor fuel tax
- Carbon tax
Child Care Centre Funding
Do you operate a child care centre? Temporary emergency funding is available.
Other Provincial Support
For the full list of support that may be available to you at the provincial level, visit the B.C. Government's COVID-19 Provincial Support page.
Temporary Wage Subsidy
The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program will provide a 75-per-cent wage subsidy to eligible employers (to a maximum of $847/week) for up to 12 weeks. It’s retroactive to March 15, 2020.
Changes to the subsidy were announced on April 8, now eligible to employers that see a drop of at least 15 per cent of their revenue in March 2020 and 30 per cent for the following months (see chart for eligible periods). Applications will be available soon. For the full details, visit the Government of Canada’s webpage.
Help for Businesses Hiring Summer Staff
The government is retooling its Canada Summer Jobs program to help young people and students find work. This includes an increase to the wage subsidy so that employers can receive up to 100 per cent of the minimum hourly wage for each employee. The government estimates this will create up to 70,000 jobs.
Loans and Financing
The Canada Emergency Business Account, announced March 27, aims to provide relief to businesses. Banks will offer $40,000 loans guaranteed by the government to those that qualify.
These will be interest-free for the first year. In addition, $10,000 of that amount may not be required to be paid back if your business meets certain conditions.
Details are being finalized. Stay tuned for updates.
Also, a Business Credit Availability Program will provide more than $10 billion of additional support to small and medium-sized businesses through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC).
The Work-Sharing Program provides EI benefits to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hour as a result of developments beyond the control of their employers, by extending the eligibility of such agreements to 76 weeks, easing eligibility requirements, and streamlining the application process.
Tax Payment Deferrals
The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.
In addition, GST and HST payments, and duties and taxes owed on imports, will be deferred until June 30, 2020.
Support for Farmers
The Federal government is supporting Farm Credit Canada by allowing an additional $5 billion in lending capacity to producers, agribusinesses and food processors. Read this StartHereOkanagan.com blog for more information involving resources for agriculture.
Laying off Staff
Here are some requirements to keep in mind if you need to lay off staff:
- Advise employees to register for EI benefits as soon as possible after they stop working.
- Accurately record the reason the reason for separation, hours worked, gross earnings and any money paid or payable
- Issue a Record of Employment (ROE). See this guide for how to complete an ROE. Give a copy to the employee and retain a copy for 6 years.
Businesses can also access information about workforce downsizing.
Penticton's Economic Development Office is operating virtually and is available to answer your questions or connect you to resources (phone: 250-490-2591).
Is your business able to supply products or services in support of B.C.'s COVID-19 response? Visit the B.C. government website to see their callout for help.
- Review Penticton's Business Emergency Preparedness page for important steps that you can take now.
- Read the Start Here Okanagan blog for our regular updates involving COVID-19 and the local business community.
- Community Future Okanagan-Similkameen has created this COVID-19 Resource list.
- View the BCEDA #COVID19 Resource Guide live document from the BC Economic Development Association.
Where to Get Help in the Community
We have compiled a list of community resources to help those who are facing difficulty conducting everyday tasks.
Do you have questions about City services? Or maybe you need advice connecting with help? We are just a phone call away!
Phone our dedicated Call Centre and we’ll point you in the right direction. It’s staffed Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. through 4 p.m. Phone: 250-490-2345.
Are you a senior needing assistance? Or maybe you’re an individual happy to volunteer?
BC 211 matches the needs of seniors who need support with non-medical essentials to volunteers in the community. Register at bc211.ca or call 211.
The service available for seniors (65+) who needs help with:
- Grocery shopping and delivery
- Meal preparation and delivery
- Prescription pickup and delivery
- Phone and/or virtual friendly visits
Do you need help picking up groceries, prescriptions or other items? Here are some Penticton companies and services, listed alphabetically, that are available to help.
Please note that while many of these listed below operate on a volunteer basis, others may charge for service and/or delivery. Please inquire directly with the individual organizations.
Help with Shopping & Delivery
Better at Home is a non-medical support service offered by OneSky Community Resources and the South Okanagan Seniors Wellness Society. Services include transportation, grocery shopping, light housekeeping, yard work and more (250-487-3376).
Intrigue Deliveries offers a personal shopper service and delivery (250-490-3663).
Kettle Valley Memorial is helping seniors out with groceries deliveries (250-493-2929).
Lucky Pet Supply is offering pet food supplies and deliveries (250-493-3647).
One Sky Community Resources assists with tasks such as grocery shopping and filling prescriptions. Please call the office at 250-487-3376 or 250-487-7455 if there are things you need help with or just want to chat with a team member.
Penticton Meals on Wheels is a non-profit that makes meals (hot and frozen) and delivers them to those who can’t cook for themselves (250-492-9095).
Top Cat Tours (delivery only). If your item is ready for pickup at the store, they can deliver it for you to your home (250-493-7385).
VIP Mobile Spa will run errands for you, pick up items and bring items to your home (778-931-0478).
Online Grocery Shopping
Most grocery stores in Penticton allow for online ordering. Here are some options:
- IGA Penticton (pick up or get delivered)
- Save-On-Foods (pick up only)
- Superstore (pick up only)
- Instacart (online grocery shopping service with delivery)
- Wholesale Club (pick up or get delivered)
Do you have a business to add to the list? Email us the details.
The following Penticton retailers are offering special shopping hours for seniors, those with disabilities and other vulnerable individuals.
IGA: Wednesdays and Fridays, 7-8 a.m.
London Drugs: Monday to Friday from 8-9 a.m.
Safeway: Every day from 7-8 a.m.
Save-On-Foods: Every day from 7-8 a.m.
Shoppers Drug Mart: Every day from 8-9 a.m.
Superstore: Every day from 6-7 a.m.
Walmart: Weekdays from 7-8 a.m.
The Salvation Army Food Bank is preparing hampers and ‘grab and go’ bags for those in need.
Also, with the closure of the Soupateria, people are being directed to the Food Bank, where they can pick up 'grab and go' bags.
It’s open Monday to Friday (9-11:45 a.m. and 1-4 p.m.) and is located at 2399 South Main Street (beside the Salvation Army Thrift Store).
The City of Penticton would like to encourage residents to donate to the Food Bank to ensure the Food Bank has ongoing supplies.
Here are some resources for essential workers seeking childcare. Also visit the BC Government's website for parents seeking childcare during COVID-19.
OneSky Community Resources
OneSky Community Resource Society would like to welcome any essential workers needing childcare for school-aged children (5-12 years old) during this pandemic. Please contact Claudia Artiga (250-462-6419) at Edmonton Avenue Centre for information on space availability/hours.
Queen’s Park YMCA Child Care
The YMCA of Okanagan is providing childcare for children of Essential Service Workers aged 0-12 years old. To apply, complete the survey on their website.
All across Canada, 'CareMongering' Facebook groups are connecting local people in need with others who are offering to help. Here are a couple local groups to join.
Do you know of others? Email us the details.
How You Can Help
If you’re looking for ways to help support the community during this time, here are a few options. Are we missing some? Tell us about it – we’d be happy to add to this list.
The Salvation Army Food Bank is looking for donations of canned goods, pasta, rice, juice, crackers and gluten free products. With the closure of the Soupateria, they’re increasingly relying on community donations.
It's at 2399 South Main Street (beside the Salvation Army Thrift Store). Drop by with donations anytime during operating hours (Monday to Friday, 9-11:45 a.m. and 1-4 p.m.)
Seniors right here in our community are needing help with everyday tasks.
You can sign up at bc211.ca as a volunteer to help with everything from virtual visits to grocery shopping and delivery, meal preparation, or prescription pickup and delivery.
Here are some local charities offering support, listed alphabetically. Visit their websites to find out more or to make a donation.
Access Centre provides advocacy and support for people in need.
The Community Foundation South Okanagan has mobilized its responses to support the local community and is requesting donations for its response fund.
Discovery House is a recovery and support house for men suffering from addiction.
Donate food items to the Salvation Army Food Bank at 2399 South Main Street (beside the Salvation Army Thrift Store). Drop by with donations anytime during operating hours (Monday to Friday, 9-11:45 a.m. and 1-4 p.m.)
South Okanagan Women in Need (SOWINS) operates an emergency centre and counselling services.
Find out how you can help the United Way Southern Interior BC or make a donation.
Is your Penticton-based charity also working to support residents during this time? Tell us more!
Penticton businesses need our support. Let’s keep our local economy strong by buying local wherever possible, possibly by purchasing online or by phone.
Please phone the businesses ahead to confirm whether they’re open.
A number of Facebook community groups are popping up connecting citizens offering to help out with those who are in need. A couple local examples are:
Do you know of others? Email us the details.
Feedback and Inquiries
Important: Please note the situation is constantly changing. The information presented on this page was accurate at the time of posting. However, it is subject to change as other levels of government and health agencies update their information and response. Visitors to this page should confirm with the referenced governments and agencies before making plans.