Amid Monday’s province-wide lockdown announcement, a sliver of hope for some small businesses hoping to keep heads above water.
The Ontario Government has announced a new Ontario Small Business Support Grant which will provide a minimum of $10,000 to eligible small business owners. Some could receive as much as $20,000 in provincial grant money. Eligible businesses include those which are required to close or significantly restrict services under the impending shutdown, have fewer than 100 employees at the enterprise level, and lost a minimum of 20 percent in revenue in April 2020 compared to the April before.
Details on how to apply for the grant will be announced in January.
“I know that these are exceptionally difficult circumstances for people; for families and businesses who are doing their absolute best to follow all guidelines while keeping businesses open and families supported,” said Doug Downey, MPP for Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte. “This small business grant is an additional relief measure that I know will help local businesses in Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte until we turn the corner on this pandemic.”
The President of the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses, Dan Kelly, said in a statement this grant won’t go far enough. “Today’s grant announcement is a step in the right direction, but the province must open its wallet even more to help small businesses make it through the lockdown period,” said Kelly. “Let’s not forget that the government chose to close small businesses, so they cannot be expected to survive without full economic support. Nothing short of 100 percent support for affected businesses will get them to the other side of COVID-19.”
The entire province will go into a lockdown state as of 12:01 a.m. December 26; the lockdown calls for no gatherings outside your immediate household, the extended closure of schools after the winter break, and no patrons allowed inside restaurants or retail locations except for pickup. Southern Ontario will be in this state for 28 days, while regions north of Sudbury will come out of it in two weeks instead. Barrie-Innisfil MPP Andrea Khanjin said it was a necessary step for her government to take. “With an increasing surgical backlog and our healthcare workers overwhelmed in all our care settings, short term strict measures will benefit everyone as we continue to reduce the spread of Covid-19,” said MPP Andrea Khanjin. “These measures taken for 28 days will help ensure that the health of our community is intact, so we can have a healthy local economy afterward and help local businesses thrive again.”