WINNIPEG — Manitoba is making its Bridge Grant program available to business owners who don’t operate a physical storefront location.
The $5,000 grant was announced November 10 and came after the province enacted its toughest public health orders yet to control the spread of COVID-19.
The money is for businesses, not-for-profits and charities ordered to temporarily cease operations or close locations as a result of the restrictions.
Many businesses, such as event planners, photographers, artists and tradespeople, expressed concern that they were being overlooked from applying for the grant.
A vocal social media campaign lobbied the provincial government to change their stance on the eligibility criteria to allow a wider group of professionals to apply for the funding. Premier Brian Pallister said on November 24 his government was considering changing who is eligible for the grant.
“There are a lot of small businesses struggling, especially with the recent shutdowns,” said Spencer Day, president, Brandon Chamber of Commerce.
“This is a welcome adjustment to the program and we appreciate the opportunity to continue to work with the government to help direct funds and put plans in place to ensure our business community remains viable over both the short and long terms.”
Since online intake began November 16 for the Manitoba Bridge Grant program, 6,300 businesses have received $31.6 million in payments.
The second stream of applications for the grant will open at noon on Wednesday, December 9 and provide up to $5,000 in support to home-based businesses ineligible for the first round.