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Chambers Respond to New Restrictions and Need for Support

Chambers Respond to New Restrictions and Need for Support

Additional funding and lock down support is an essential element to help many of our businesses survive this next phase of enhanced measures

The Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce has been steadily involved in calls and follow up to assist businesses with supports and information since the new restrictions were announced on December 8th.  The government has introduced a mandatory provincewide mask requirement for all public spaces and workplaces. In addition, all indoor and outdoor social gatherings are prohibited, limiting contact to those in the same household.

Other new measures taking effect on Sunday, December 13 at 12:01 a.m.include several closures and reduced capacity that will unfortunately impact many businesses.

To help small and mid-sized businesses continue to survive this ongoing health crisis, the province is expanding and increasing the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant. The government is lowering the revenue loss threshold to 30 per cent (from the original 50 per cent), and all eligible businesses in the province will also be able to apply for a second grant payment, offering up to a total of $20,000 in potential funding. Visit Alberta.ca for details.

“With vaccines on the horizon, we are nearing the turning point”, stated Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce President, Marcus Campbell. “However, we need to continue to be vigilant to bend the curve and reduce the spread. This is a very challenging time as we know these restrictions are in place for four weeks, which will be difficult for many of our businesses to endure. If we all do our part, we can collectively work towards re-opening our businesses once again.”

The Alberta Chambers of Commerce also issued a statement on December 9th and in light of the escalating COVID-19 situation, ACC President and CEO Ken Kobly stated that his organization supports the new health measures introduced yesterday by the Government of Alberta. At the same time, Kobly warned that we are heading into another tough time for business.

"Public health absolutely must remain our number one priority," says Kobly. "The Government of Alberta introduced these newest measures on the advice of the chief medical officer of health, meaning they are necessary to protect the health and safety of Albertans. I hope we see the results of these steps in four weeks' time."

Despite the necessity of these measures, Kobly warns we are heading into another tough period for businesses after a challenging nine months. Kobly also thanked the Government of Alberta for making additional business supports available to help mitigate the effects of these enhanced restrictions.

"As we head into the holiday season, I encourage Albertans to shop local wherever they can," says Kobly. "Takeout, delivery, and curbside pickup are all low- to no-contact options still available to consumers."

Campbell further stated,“We have heard from many businesses about their concerns related to a second lock down and we know that additional funding and lock down support is an essential element to help many of our businesses survive this next phase of enhanced measures. We also know there are still some businesses, particularly new businesses and start ups, that are falling through the cracks and we will continue to work with Government to find solutions for these businesses”.

Businesses are encouraged to use the Chamber’s Covid 19 website page for resources, to make sure they are aware of funding and to update plans in order to sustain business operations and limit risk that could result from closures or further enhanced restrictions due to increased case counts.

The ACC is currently surveying on the business impacts of these latest measures. Business operators can sign up to Alberta Perspectives to take part in the one-minute survey. The survey will be open until Saturday, December 12.

Here are the supports available to your business or organization:

  1. Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant (SMERG): This grant provides up to $20,000 to Alberta businesses, cooperatives, and non-profit organizations that were ordered to close or reduce operations, and that experienced a revenue reduction of at least 30% due to public health orders.

  2. Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS): Depending on your revenue, you may be eligible for a subsidy of up to 75% of employee wages retroactive from March 15, 2020 to June 2021.

  3. Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS): Businesses, non-profit organizations, or charities, whether a tenant or property owner, with lost revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for a direct subsidy to up to 65% of their commercial rent or property expenses from September 27, 2020 until June 2021. Applicants eligible for the base subsidy may also be eligible for an additional 25% in lockdown support for up to 90% of expenses if your business is forced to close as a result of Alberta’s new public health orders.

  4. Canada Emergency Bank Account (CEBA): Through financial institutions, this program provides interest-free loans of up to $60,000, $20,000 of which is forgivable, to small businesses and not-for-profits to help cover their operating costs.

  5. Employment Insurance, Canada Recovery Benefit, Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit, and Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit: These supports can help your employees if they are impacted directly by COVID.

  6. The ShopHERE program and Shop | YXH, a partnership between the Chamber, APEX, Community Futures Entre-Corp, Invest Medicine Hat and the City of Medicine Hat, launched to help businesses shift to an online format. These initiatives were launched in recognition that businesses would need to build up their resiliency and find ways to enhance services and continue to operate and sell their products regardless of public health measures or restrictions.

The Chamber also developed a one stop shop of tools and resources and have continually been updating this information on the Chamber COVID-19 Information & Resources website page since the start of the pandemic. In addition, the Chamber has been posting weekly blog updates and e-newsletter communications. Businesses that have questions on supports and funding can reach out to the Chamber by phone, email or through their website and subscribe to their e-newsletter.

Please direct all media inquiries to:

Marcus Campbell, President

c/o Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce

(403) 527-5214 ext.225

The Chamber of Commerce is a member-driven, volunteer-led organization, proudly representing businesses' interests in our region and working diligently to stimulate a strengthened and vibrant economy through our connections, support, and influence. For more than 115 years, the Chamber has stood to promote business, monitor government, and champion managed growth in the local economy. The Chamber represents over 800 businesses in our region. Aligning with both the Alberta Chambers of Commerce (ACC), which represents over 25,000 businesses and the Canadian Chambers of Commerce (CCC), which represents over 200,000 businesses. With the largest and most influential business organizations locally, provincially and federally, the Chamber network is the most unified, valued and influential business network in Canada and works together to shape policy and programs that will make a difference to businesses in our region.

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