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Business News – Grant program announced by province for businesses struggling with COVID-19 restrictions

Business News – Grant program announced by province for businesses struggling with COVID-19 restrictions

Business News –

Author of the article:

Stephanie Babych

Publishing date:

Jun 29, 2020  •   •  3 minute read

Business News -
The Stephen Avenue Mall patio of the James Joyce Irish Pub & Restaurant is seen from the Calgary Tower on Thursday, June 11, 2020. Gavin Young/Postmedia

Business News – Article content

Businesses, co-operatives and non-profit organizations facing financial struggles due to COVID-19 restrictions will be able to apply for a new provincial grant if they meet specific criteria, according to a news release Sunday.

Offering up to $5,000 for eligible businesses, the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant is intended to offset some of the costs associated with reopening during the pandemic. The grant program is budgeted to cost the province $200 million.

“We continue to hear from small businesses that although they are now fully open, it is not business as usual — with only 20 per cent making normal or better revenues for this time of year. This program will help small businesses in the economic relaunch phase who are struggling to pay for fixed costs such as rent and additional new costs like PPE,” Annie Dormuth, Alberta provincial affairs director, said in a news release.

For a business to be eligible, it must have experienced a revenue loss of at least 50 per cent due to COVID-19 restrictions and must employ 500 or fewer employees. A survey conducted by the Alberta Chambers of Commerce found that the affordability of PPE and sanitization materials is a concern for 22 per cent of businesses in the province.

Economic Development, Trade and Tourism Minister Tanya Fir said small and medium-sized businesses are job creators and employ hundreds of thousands of Albertans.

“They are the backbone of our economy. That’s why we are taking further action to support them as we relaunch our economy and get folks back to work,” said Fir.

Business News – Article content continued

The application process — which can be accessed online — starts Monday at 10 a.m. and will remain open until Aug. 31, or four weeks following the start of Stage 3 of Alberta’s economic relaunch strategy, whichever comes later.

Another 39 cases of COVID-19 detected, 520 active cases in Alberta

Alberta Health Services detected another 39 cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the total of active cases in the province to 520.

The province also reported 69 new COVID-19 cases Saturday, the highest single-day jump in cases for the province in more than a month, since 72 cases were recorded May 16.

There are currently 216 active cases in the Calgary zone, 242 in the Edmonton zone, 33 in the North zone, 25 in the South zone, three in the Central zone and one in an unknown location, according to Sunday’s update. A total of 7,322 recoveries have been recorded.

Forty-three people are in hospital due to COVID-19, including eight requiring intensive care. Alberta’s death toll sits at 154, with no new deaths reported in the province since Thursday.

Meanwhile, a pop-up health-care structure donated to Calgary’s Peter Lougheed Centre in April in anticipation of a spike in COVID-19 illnesses will stay up in case of any future surges in novel coronavirus cases, according to AHS.

In fact, the treatment space was fitted with insulation Friday that would help keep the structure operational when temperatures dip, said Jim Avery, vice-president of Sprung Structures, the company that donated the building.

“It was originally up on a more temporary basis, but now it’s insulated and can be used more effectively through the winter,” Avery said.

AHS said that while COVID-19 hospitalizations remain low, the 6,000-square-foot field hospital will also be used for patients with other maladies. AHS is able to meet patient demands within existing facilities in the Calgary zone, AHS added.

— With files from Jason Herring 

sbabych@postmedia.com

Twitter: @BabychStephanie

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