N.S. offers one-time grant for businesses ordered closed as a result of COVID-19 restrictions

Nova Scotia businesses that have been ordered closed as a result of COVID-19 restrictions may now be able to receive support from the provincial government.

Nova Scotia officials announced on Thursday a one-time grant for businesses in the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) and Hants County.

The goal, according to a press release, is meant to support “small, independently owned dine-in restaurants, bars, and fitness and leisure establishments” that have been directly affected by the health orders that took effect on Thursday.

Read more: Rising COVID-19 cases leads restaurant and bar group to recommend Halifax closures

Those restrictions include limiting restaurants to only takeout or delivery, closures of bars, gyms and libraries and reduced gathering limits.

“Small businesses across the province are doing their part to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and I want to thank them for their work to keep Nova Scotians safe,” said Business Minister Geoff MacLellan. “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 turn the tide. They need our help.”

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In order to be eligible, businesses must experience a revenue decrease of 30 per cent or more in November as a result of the ongoing impact of the public health order or expect at least a 30 per cent decrease in revenues in December as a result of the new health order.

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Small, independently owned dine-in restaurants, bars and licensed drinking establishments operating in the HRM are eligible for the program.

Gyms, pilates, yoga studios, rock climbing gyms, escape rooms, axe-throwing lounges and board game cafes are also eligible.

The province specified that takeout businesses and food trucks are excluded from this program as are wineries and distillery tasting rooms.

Businesses that are eligible will receive a one-time grant of 15 per cent of their average monthly gross revenues from April 2019, or from February 2020 if it is a new business.

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The grant will be capped at $5,000.

Read more: Dental clinics don’t qualify for COVID-19 small business grant in Nova Scotia

Gordon Stewart, executive director of the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia (RANS), welcomed the news on Thursday in a statement.

“The Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia (RANS) has reached out to our province many times and, as always, they have responded with strong and quick support with innovative programs, revised regulations and financial assistance,” said Stewart.

“Once again the government is ahead of the curve and RANS looks forward to this new funding initiative to support businesses that have been impacted by the recent closures.”

This grant system is part of the province’s $50 million Small Business Impact Grant program announced in March.

More information on the application process is expected to be available in the coming weeks.

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