Victoria business association extends free delivery for restaurants as B.C. shutters indoor dining

The Downtown Victoria Business Association is working with Tutti, a Victoria-based food delivery company, to offer free takeout delivery for Greater Victoria residents: (Tutti / Facebook)

The Downtown Victoria Business Association (DVBA) is doubling down on its free delivery service for local restaurants as new temporary health measures prohibit indoor dining in B.C.

Through its Downtown Delivers program, the DVBA is subsidizing food delivery fees for local restaurants, and is offering free delivery for customers.

From March 31 until April 19, customers who use the Tutti delivery app will not have to pay a delivery fee. Meanwhile, the DVBA says it will be covering restaurants' usual 10 to 15 per cent service charge.

Restaurants that are participating in the temporary program can be found under the "DVBA Free Delivery" section of the Tutti delivery app.

"The latest health restrictions have had a significant impact on the food and beverage sector," said Jeff Bray, executive director of the DVBA in a release Wednesday.

"Every Victorian can help by purchasing an extra takeout meal to support local restaurants and their staff," he said.

The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce (GVCC) is also calling on islanders to support local businesses as the province wrestles with a surge in COVID-19 cases.

The GVCC is launching a "Takeout Challenge." To participate, islanders must take a picture of a takeout meal from a local restaurant, post the photo on social media – tag the restaurant, two friends, and the chamber of commerce – and use the hashtag #ChamberLocalVicBC.

On April 26, two winners will be chosen and will receive $100 gift cards to Tutti.

Chamber CEO Bruce Williams credits the DVBA's Downtown Delivers program and Tutti with helping keep local businesses afloat during the pandemic.

"(Downtown Delivers) has been a game changer, really," he said. "It's been terrific for downtown businesses. It's enabled them to reach their client base outside of the city, so all across the region."

He adds that Tutti is a Victoria-based business that charges smaller delivery fees for local restaurants than larger companies like Uber Eats or Skip The Dishes.