Quinte businesses hit hard by the latest COVID-19 lockdown and state of emergency measures can now apply for up to $20,000 in relief grant money from the Ontario government.
The province announced Friday applications are now being open for businesses needing financial help to offset a significant downturn in their revenues due to a loss of footfall through their premises with people ordered to stay home.
The one-time relief is in the form of a grant and need not be repaid.
The new Ontario Small Business Support Grant offering a minimum $10,000 up to $20,000 was announced by Premier Doug Ford shortly before the lockdown in December.
Todd Smith, Bay of Quinte MPP and Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, told The Intelligencer at the time of the announcement that his government would help support struggling businesses.
He acknowledged he had received calls from business owners worried about the lockdown but said the Ontario government would be there for small businesses especially.
“We will be there for small businesses so they won’t be left holding the bag, there will be something there for them,” he said.
In a press release Friday, Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance and president of the Treasury Board pledged financial help.
“As Ontario’s employers do their part to defeat COVID-19, they are facing unprecedented challenges as a result of this global pandemic,” Bethlenfalvy said. “I encourage every eligible small business owner in Ontario to visit Ontario.ca/COVIDSupport to access the support our government has made available. While we still have a lot of work ahead of us, we can all look confidently to the future as we resolve to do our parts and put COVID-19 behind us.”
“Small businesses required to close or significantly restrict services under the provincewide shutdown will be able to apply for a one-time grant and use this funding in whatever way makes the most sense for their individual business needs. For example, some businesses could need support paying employee wages, while others could need support with their rent,” the province said in an advisory.
Eligible small businesses include those that:
Were required to close or significantly restrict services due to the Provincewide Shutdown being imposed across the province effective 12:01 a.m. on December 26.
Have fewer than 100 employees at the enterprise level.
Have experienced a minimum of 20 per cent revenue decline in April 2020 compared to April 2019. New businesses established since April 2019 will also be eligible if they meet the other eligibility criteria.
The province also reminded business owners who are feeling the brunt of losses due to COVID-19 they are eligible for additional supports, including the government’s program to provide rebates to offset fixed costs such as property tax and energy bills.