BC announces 145 new COVID-19 cases, total is now 617

B.C.- Dr. Bonnie Henry said said health officials have tested close to 30,000 people as of Tuesday

The province is planning for the worst, the premier said, with the rental supplement covering all of the roughly 500,000 renters in B.C. and will go towards renters experiencing a loss of income.

"What we are seeing today is people who test positive are people who have been exposed to the virus 10 days to 14 days ago", she said.

Horgan said only people unable to pay their rent should apply for the rental supplement.

"The fewer people who access the program, the more opportunity we have to expand it", said Horgan, noting there are about 500,000 renters in B.C. This would ensure landlords continue to receive rental income during the pandemic. Evictions have also been suspended along with all rent increases.

Henry said there are likely many people in B.C. who contracted COVID-19 before orders that closed many businesses, banned gatherings, and required people to maintain a physical separation of at least two metres, took effect last week. "Will they be on the hook for all this rent?"

As long as the province remains in a state of emergency, current and future evictions are suspended, with exceptions for health and safety issues. "What's the timeline for getting back to business?"

"We've been overwhelmed with messages from tenants who don't know how they're going to afford rent next month". The moratorium on rent increases, which will include any hikes planned for April 1, is in place for four months.

Vancouver-West End MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert, the former chair of B.C.'s Rental Housing Task Force, confirmed that the Residential Tenancy Branch will continue to operate during this time.

She said she has concerns about a possible spread of COVID-19 in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

"The stress is off the charts right now". "We need to connect virtually". Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson confirmed that the funds are meant to help low- and middle-income renters who have seen a "significant reduction" in income directly related to the spread of COVID-19, be it through reduced hours or layoffs. "The burn rate is much higher than expected", she said. "It is about our communities".

"You have a relationship with your landlord, let's all hope that they're good relationships and you're going to have to find a way to work this out together", Horgan said. Whether you are a small landlord or a big landlord, you have a mortgage and you've got expenses to cover.

She suggested that next week would provide a clearer picture of the breadth of the epidemic. "No one's compelling them to do that". Renters will also be able to prevent landlords from entering their units except in exceptional cases.

Besides the new benefit, landlords now have the power to restrict access to common areas like laundry rooms or game rooms to encourage social distancing.



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