Businesses brace for harsh restrictions
CALGARY -- The Alberta Government plans to unleash a set of new restrictive measures, and businesses say they are prepared.
“Businesses have been preparing for this for probably four weeks,” said Trolley 5 brewpub owner Ernie Tsu.
But the restaurant industry is expected to take a hit.
“There are still literal lives on the line, especially financially, as we round the corner to Christmas,” said Tsu.
For local bookstore owner Susan Hare, co-owner of Owl’s Nest Books, she says some form of lockdown is something she supports, if it makes her customers happy, and less anxious heading into a busy holiday season.
“During the last lockdown we were very busy doing curbside pickups and home deliveries around the city,” said Hare.
Hare says these last few weeks have been her busiest for this time of year ever, due to the looming threat of some sort of shutdown in December.
“The timing is less than ideal but I think it is a necessary measure and necessary response to what’s going on,” said Mike Holden, vice-president of policy and chief economist at the Business Council of Alberta.
With temporary time limited measures set to expire on Thursday, pressure has been building on Jason Kenney’s government to expand those measures.
'Out of touch'
The premier has been self-isolating for two weeks, but one political scientist says new measures set for Tuesday cries desperation.
“Jason Kenney has been out of touch for most of the time that these case numbers were spiking,” said Lori Williams of Mount Royal University.
The province says that small businesses looking for financial support can apply for a second payment from the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant.
Businesses that have experienced a 40 per cent revenue loss will qualify for the grant, lowering the threshold from the existing 50 per cent.
The incentive will be available to impacted businesses retroactive to March.
Ottawa has also announced financial relief for businesses looking to pay rent.
“Applications opened for the newly launched Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“If you own a small business, you could get up to 65 per cent of your business’s rent covered. This goes directly to you and not through landlords.”
For those jurisdictions facing lockdowns, Trudeau says the federal government is adding an additional 25 per cent to businesses to help cover commercial rent.
“To help with another big expense for businesses – payroll – the Wage Subsidy has also been extended until June of next year,” he said.