WINNIPEG — New financial supports are being offered to Manitoba businesses impacted by the province’s COVID-19 restrictions.
Premier Brian Pallister announced Tuesday the Manitoba Bridge Grant will provide $5,000 to businesses impacted by restrictions laid out in the province’s Pandemic Response System. The entire province is being moved to the critical (red) level, beginning on November 12.
“We recognize that Manitoba businesses, not-for-profits and charities have made and continue to make sacrifices to protect the health and safety of our province,” Pallister said.
“We want to help them make it through this critical time in our fight against COVID-19 and bridge to the future by providing relief from the financial challenges created by public health orders.”
The immediate, one-time payment of $5,000 will apply to small and medium-sized businesses, not-for-profit and charitable organizations that were directly ordered to temporarily cease operations or close their publicly accessible physical locations by Manitoba COVID-19 public-health orders in effect on November 12.
This includes restaurants, bars, beverage rooms, brewpubs, microbreweries, distilleries, casinos, recreation and sports facilities, museums and galleries, theatres and concert halls, as well as organizations like charities, not-for-profits and faith-based organizations that have been adversely impacted.
Funding for the grant is being made available through $100 million that was shifted from other provincial relief programs.
Should public health orders continue for longer than expected, the Manitoba Bridge Grant can be automatically extended on January 1, 2021 to provide an additional $5,000 payment.
Applications for the grant will open Monday, November 16 and close on December 15.
Forgiveness of Manitoba Gap Protection Program loan
Premier Pallister also announced the Manitoba Gap Protection Program will now be a grant rather than a forgivable loan. The program was launched in May and offered a one-time payment of $6,000 to businesses that fell into gaps in qualifying for federal support programs. Under the original terms, businesses had to pay back the loan if they received more than $6,000 in federal support. If the business didn’t exceed that limit, the province would forgive the loan in early 2021 based on a signed declaration.
The new terms allow Manitoba businesses that received the grant to apply for federal support programs, including the federal wage supports and commercial rent assistance programs.
The Gap program has paid out approximately $60 million to 9,800 businesses in Manitoba.