N.S. to provide grants for small businesses affected by latest Public Health protocols

·2 min read

Nova Scotia's provincial government will make some bridge funding available to bars, restaurants, gyms and other small businesses affected by the most recent round of COVID-19 protocols.

A one-time grant of up to $5,000 will be available for businesses in Halifax and Hants County that are now facing more restrictive Public Health protocols than businesses in other parts of Nova Scotia.

To be eligible, a business must see a 30 per cent revenue decrease in November due to Public Health protocols or expect a decrease of 30 per cent for December, and not have an annual operating budget greater than $15 million.

"The necessary additional directives announced this week will have an impact on many businesses, many who are already among the hardest hit, and they are making big sacrifices to help stop the tide," Business Minister Geoff MacLellan said in a news release.

"They need our help."

Robert Short/CBC
Robert Short/CBC

On Tuesday, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang announced that restaurants in the subject areas could only offer takeout and delivery services, while bars and fitness establishments, such as gyms and yoga studios, were outright shut down. The new measures are in place for at least two weeks as Public Health attempts to clamp down on community spread of COVID-19.

Along with the closure of some businesses and reduced operating capacity for others, gathering limits for the parts of Halifax and Hants County subject to community spread have been reduced to five people. The province is advising against any non-essential travel to or out of the areas in question.

Businesses eligible for the assistance will get up to 15 per cent of their monthly gross revenue for April 2019 to a maximum of $5,000. For newer businesses, the revenue measure will be for February 2020.

Funding for the program is coming from the previously-announced Nova Scotia COVID-19 research council, which is overseeing a $50-million fund. The grant can be used for any operational expense. Applications are expected to open in the coming weeks, according to the news release.