FAQs - Prevention & Resources for COVID-19

March 14, 2020

COVID-19 – Granville Island FAQ Sheet  

Updated March 14th 2020  

The following FAQs and responses represent the best information available at the time of writing. 

How is CMHC Granville responding to COVID-19 tenant concerns?   

Some tenants have asked what implications the coronavirus outbreak may have on Granville Island, given discussions of impacts on the global economy and commercial real estate. It is important that all businesses seek out information and develop a business continuity plan for their individual operation, including how to manage impacts on staff, customers, consumer behaviour and sales due to potential impacts of COVID-19. It is important to know that CMHC has business continuity plans in place across the country, and we are taking a measured, proactive approach to respond to concerns related to CMHC’s operations on Granville Island.   

Will CMHC implement mandatory closures or reduced hours of operation for Granville Island tenants?  

Tenants are being given the autonomy to make decisions regarding reduced service or closures based on their individual businesses and circumstances. We encourage tenants to communicate this information on their websites, through social media and onsite, and ideally to inform CMHC of the same for property management and visitor information purposes.  

All businesses are required to seek out and follow the advice of our local and national health organizations and are required under their lease agreements to abide by all municipal, provincial, federal and any other applicable governing bodies in relation to their business operations, which would include those related to COVID-19.   

Employers are being encouraged to require their employees stay home if they feel any sort of illness, to seek medical attention if needed, and to increase their cleaning and sanitizing practices. This includes washing and sanitizing hands and surfaces regularly.   

How is CMHC planning to maintain its Granville Island operations day-to-day?   

We are monitoring this rapidly changing situation. For the time being, we remain committed to business as usual, though how that work is executed may look different while COVID-19 precautions and mitigation plans are in place. We have a Granville Island specific Business Continuity Plan in place and as part of that, we have put necessary steps in place to continue to provide our services either from our other offices or remotely where the work allows. Onsite staff are being communicated with regularly to ensure they are receiving necessary operational support and additional resources. We are also undertaking a thorough review of our supply chain and working with key vendors and service providers to maintain services to our buildings. We recommend that tenants follow similar procedures.   

How are you communicating to tenants and visitors of highly populated buildings like the Public Market?   

All guidance being provided to tenants is in accordance with the measures recommended by global and national health organizations. Additionally, we are communicating directly with building owners and tenants on our response and action plans for their locations. Since the SARS pandemic in 2009, Granville Island has had increased cleaning and sanitization practices in place. There is hand sanitizer available in various locations in the Public Market and Net Loft and notices will be posted in all washrooms to encourage proper hand washing.  

I am worried that I or my staff members will feel pressure to come to work in order to maintain regular operating hours and carry on business as usual. What is CMHC’s position on this and what steps are you taking to encourage adherence to COVID-19 prevention and mitigation directives issued by government and health authorities?  

Persons who are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms should follow directives as issued by the authorities and self-quarantine. It is each employer’s responsibility to ensure their staff do not feel pressured to come to Granville Island if they are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. CMHC will continue to message this to tenants and visitors on an ongoing basis.  

Will CMHC or the Granville Island Administration Office experience any closures or have reduced service to tenants or visitors?  

CMHC has encouraged its employees who have the ability to work remotely to do so, and have provided the direction that all meetings must be done via phone or Skype. Employees are instructed to stay home if they feel any sort of illness, to seek medical attention if needed, and to wash and sanitize hands and surfaces regularly. Staff of the Administration office whose work does not require them to be onsite already have the flexibility to work remotely and are doing so at their discretion. CMHC Granville Island is evaluating our daily onsite operations and how they could be affected in the event of increased impacts of COVID-19.  

Will CMHC be enforcing fines or issue letters of lease infractions if a tenant cannot be open for business during their regular operating hours, or decides to operate reduced hours?  

CMHC will not penalize its tenants who choose to observe reduced hours  or close due to staff shortages or other impacts related to COVID-19. Tenants who do not have a direct lease with CMHC should inquire with their direct Landlord accordingly.    

Will CMHC be providing rent relief for tenants who are experiencing negative business impacts due to COVID-19?  

We have received inquiries about rent relief and are seeking out industry information on standard practice as well as consulting with landlords of other properties similar to Granville Island. We are meeting with a cross-section of tenants shortly to discuss ways CMHC can support its tenants through the COVID-19 pandemic as it relates to rent.   

CMHC is also encouraging all businesses to develop business continuity plans to mitigate the negative impacts to their individual businesses, and where possible, promote online shopping and/or delivery services to those who may want to patronize tenant businesses without having to physically come to Granville Island.   

Does CMHC have access to government funding to mitigate the negative impacts of COVID-19 to Granville Island’s operational budget or for tenant’s individual operations as affected by COVID-19?  

The short answer is no. Granville Island operates on a self-funding model and as such CMHC does not have access to government or emergency funding, and does not (as a typical Landlord would), have access to financing. Nor can it access grants or other funding that may be available directly to tenants, to support operational or capital budget expenses. As revenues collected by CMHC on Granville Island are the only source of revenue for our operating budget, we too will be directly affected by tenant sales activity through percentage rent, and parking revenues directly related to visitation. We are anticipating a significant loss in revenues related to COVID-19 tenant business impacts. This will drastically affect our annual operating budget and most likely result in a deficit.  

Will CMHC reduce services to tenants or visitors of Granville Island due to impacts of COVID-19?  

CMHC has business continuity plans in place across the country, and we are taking a measured, proactive approach to respond to concerns related to CMHC’s services to tenants on Granville Island, as well as anticipating impacts to tenants and ways CMHC can help support the tenant community along the way. We are of course encouraging businesses to be pro-active in business continuity planning to help mitigate any interruption to business and minimize negative impacts to their individual operations & customers.  

Where can tenants find additional resources for business continuity planning?  

There is a lot of helpful commercial industry information under the title of Business Continuity Planning for businesses here.  

Is CMHC posting any other publicly available updates on COVID-19?   

Yes. In addition to this FAQ list, a COVID-19 update is poster on the main page of our website. A direct link to the update can be found here, however we encourage tenants, staff and visitors to refer to government and health authority resources for the latest directives and updates on public health & safety measures on an ongoing basis.   

How can I protect myself?   

Because there is currently no vaccine to prevent infection, the best way to protect yourself is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The WHO and CDC recommend the following additional steps:   

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water is not available.  

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.   

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.   

• Stay home when you are sick.   

• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.   

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.   

What happens if I suspect I or someone I know has it?   

If you exhibit symptoms of coronavirus within two weeks of traveling to a known affected region, you should contact a health care professional and inform them of your recent travel. If you have had close contact with someone exhibiting coronavirus symptoms who has recently traveled from a highly affected area, you should call ahead to a health care professional and inform them of your close contact and the person's recent travel. Your health care professional will work with your country, provincial or state's public health department to determine if you need to be tested.  

Who can Tenants contact if they have more questions?   

If after reviewing the above FAQs you still have additional questions, please reach out to the Tenant Coordinators at [email protected].   

 Who can visitors contact if they have more questions for CMHC?  

Inquiries from the public can be directed to [email protected].    

Thank you for continuing to keep CMHC informed of any changes to your individual operations in light of COVID-19, and for reaching out with your questions and concerns over the past few days.  

 CMHC will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates to the Granville Island tenant community, as they are needed. Please do not hesitate to contact the Granville Island Administration Office through [email protected] or at 604.666.6477 with any questions or concerns on the above.  

If you or someone you know is experiencing possible COVID-19 symptoms, call the provincial health information hotline at 8-1-1, or contact the B.C Centre for Disease Control at 1-833-784-4397.