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Nova Scotia announces grants for businesses shut down again

Restaurants, bars, gyms in Halifax and Hants County could be eligible for grants up to $5,000

2 min read
Three restaurants sit empty on a street.
caption Restaurants, bars, and fitness and leisure facilities are closed for two weeks under the latest public health order.
Alexander Johnson

The provincial government is offering grants of up to $5,000 for businesses that had to close under the latest COVID-19 restrictions.

The grants are available to restaurants, bars, gyms, and other fitness and leisure facilities in Halifax Regional Municipality and Hants County. Public health ordered those businesses to close temporarily at midnight on Wednesday. The temporary closures are set to expire in two weeks, but could be extended if Nova Scotia doesn’t see a drop in COVID-19 cases.

The one-time grants will be equal to 15 per cent of the business’s average gross revenue for April 2019, or February 2020 for new businesses, maxing out at $5,000. This is the third time the province has distributed grants under the Small Business Impact Grant program.

Business Minister Geoff MacLellan told reporters after a cabinet meeting on Thursday the amount is “not the solution that’s going to have people feeling easy, but it’ll certainly cover some of their overhead during these next two weeks.”

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The province came up with the $5,000 cap the first time it distributed these grants in April, basing it on feedback from businesses on lost revenue and how much money the province had to give out.

“I’m absolutely not suggesting at all that this is the solution, and this is it, they’re comfortable – not even close to that. But again, based on the first two rounds of this $5,000 grant, it was a help,” said MacLellan.

The money comes from the Nova Scotia COVID-19 Response Council, which the province gave $50 million in March. MacLellan said it’s spent roughly $45 million so far, and is committing $3.3 million for this round of grants.

To qualify for the latest grant, the business must have started before March 15, 2020, and made between $25,000 and $300,000 in annual sales. It must also have lost at least 30 per cent of its revenue in November or expect to lose that much revenue in December because of closing down.

Retail businesses are not eligible, but MacLellan said the government is listening and will see if they also need access to the grant. Under the new restrictions, retail businesses can only operate at 25 per cent capacity.

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