Penticton economic recovery task force recommends payment deferrals to support struggling businesses

Bad Tattoo brewing is a hot spot in the City of Penticton for craft brews and homemade pizza, but COVID-19 is taking a massive bite out of profits and sales.

Owner Lee Agur said he’s been forced to layoff 60 staff members as he temporarily closes his restaurant and brewery operations are dramatically scaled back.

“We have effectively shut down Bad Tattoo almost in it’s entirety,” Agur said on Thursday.

“We still have some liquor store sales, but, for the most part, the restaurant is fully shut down. We were doing some delivery, but we shut that down for safety.”

Agur said, like many other small business owners, he’s awaiting the federal government’s wage subsidy program to be rolled out in hopes of re-hiring some laid-off employees.

“Our first concern is definitely for our staff and how it is affecting their lives,” Agur said.

The business is shifting gears and hopes to recalibrate its workforce until the pandemic is over. It’s teamed up with Old Order Distillery to produce hand sanitizer and plans to launch an online grocery store next week while ramping up delivery services once again.

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“We will make produce boxes, dairy boxes, protein boxes, a lot of the stuff we do use in our restaurant,” he said. “We are also thinking of doing a pizza party box.”

Agur is a member of the newly established Economic Recovery Task Force launched by the City of Penticton with local business leaders to develop a plan for relief and recovery.

The Penticton & Wine Country Chamber of Commerce is also a member of the task force and says deferring other payments, like business licensing fees and utility costs, would offer immediate financial relief.

“They are asking should the city be cutting back its services so that it reduces tax paying? Maybe prolonging the property tax deadline to September, so there are options there,” said executive director Diane Kereluk.

Penticton city hall says staff are exploring a tax deferral to September 30 and will be bringing recommendations to city council in late April.

As for the task force recommendations, communications manager Philip Cooper says city council received, but has not yet adopted, the financial relief measures proposed.

City staff will be bringing options and recommendations to city council later this month in response to the task force recommendations, he said.

In addition to the new task force, the city said it has taken other steps in light of COVID-19:

  • Free street parking to help downtown businesses
  • Opened a call centre to handle inquiries
  • Suspending utility disconnections for non-payment
  • Evaluating the possibility of deferring property tax deadline
  • Continuing as many business-related services as possible.

The city has also issued two emergency surveys to find out how the community has been financially impacted by COVID-19.

“We’re calling on you, our residents and the South Okanagan business community, to tell us how you’ve been affected.  The results will help guide critical city council decisions as we move ahead with relief and recovery measures,” said Penticton mayor John Vassilaki.

Two surveys are available: one for residents and another for South Okanagan businesses.

Local Penticton business owners can fill out one or both. To fill out the emergency survey, click here. 

The city’s economic development department launched a business support resource page at

View the city’s toolkit at, which provides support for residents and businesses who have been affected.

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