Posted on May 6, 2021

Reimbursement of Small Businesses who Invested Thousands of Dollars to be Able to Operate During the Third Wave

Alberta’s NDP is calling for immediate support for restaurants and bars, and other small businesses who invested thousands of dollars to follow the previous health orders, and are now being forced to shut down with little warning and no ability to recover the costs.

Businesses speaking to the NDP have said they took assurance in the words of Premier Jason Kenney when he told media at a briefing on April 29 that, “There is not a risk of transmission for a family that goes and eats outdoors distanced from other tables. What concerns us is cases where individuals from outside the same house socialize or who are not identified as close contacts of a single individual might end up socializing at a patio.”

Alberta’s NDP believes closing outdoor patios is necessary, given the rampant spread of COVID-19; but does not believe it’s fair to the restaurants and bars that made investments in patio infrastructure in an attempt to stay open.

As such, the Official Opposition is calling on the UCP Government to:

  • Reimburse small businesses the bulk of the cost associated with the renovation required for them to operate under the previous public health orders that barred indoor dining but allowed for outdoor dining.
  • Subsidize 75 percent of the cost of renovations and expansion of their business to be in accordance with the previous health restrictions, up to $10,000.
  • Increase the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant (SMERG) to $25,000, up from $10,000 currently.
  • Reinstate the previous payment calculator so that more money will make it to the hands of struggling businesses.

Since the UCP announced the additional $10,000 of support back in February, small businesses have been hit hard by COVID-19 and additional public health restrictions making the current $10,000 of support inadequate.

This is in addition to our previous calls for additional small business supports, including a 15 per cent cap on third-party delivery app fees, a reinstatement of the ban on utility shutoff and commercial evictions until the third wave of the pandemic is over, utility payment relief, and a 50 per cent reduction on business insurance.

Let’s be clear as well that the meagre support announced by the UCP previously did not account for the massive closure of establishments that was implemented Tuesday. We need to increase funding support for small businesses. We need to help them cover the bills while they keep their doors closed to help slow the spread of COVID-19. - Deron Bilous

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