Ontario’s New COVID-19 Rules Hitting Small to Medium Business Hard

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Thunder Bay – Business – Business owners across Ontario are looking for government help in order to survive. The new COVID-19 restrictions announced on Friday by Premier Doug Ford will hit the entertainment, restaurant, and likely transportation sector especially hard.

Already the impact is being felt. Thunder Bay night clubs and bars are announcing that they will be closing.

“Well folks due to this next wave of this unfortunate pandemic our Wayland nightlife is coming to an end until further notice,” is the message The Wayland has posted on their Facebook page.

Shooter’s Tavern is wishing their customers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and stating that they are closing until further notice.

Mohamed Fakih, the CEO of Paramount Fine Foods states, “Restaurants and other small businesses will need more financial assistance to help offset lost revenue at the busiest time of the year. Governments need to step up very quickly to avoid sector devastation”.

The Canadian Federation for Independent Business says, “A full 80 per cent of small firms in need of financial support will no longer qualify for wage or rent subsidies due to the new programs’ high thresholds. CFIB is urging the federal government to lower the threshold for all wage and rent supports and raise the subsidy levels for all businesses to the formula used for the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program. Businesses that started after the pandemic began should be allowed to access all federal support programs.”

With the federal and provincial governments as well as Health Units calling on Canadians not to travel this holiday season, the transportation sector, aviation and inter community bus services are facing potentially dire times.

Those business sectors are not set to defy the new rules, but are asking that their businesses which have already been hard hit through the pandemic get the support needed to survive.

The CFIB states, “As long as there are COVID-related restrictions imposed on their activities businesses should have access to government support programs and governments should do everything possible to avoid imposing cost increases.”

On Friday, when Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced the new restrictions, there was no mention of any new supports for business. However a question to Ontario’s Finance Minister led to a promise that there will be an announcement soon.

For Ontario’s small to medium businesses, that announcement can’t come soon enough.