Thousands of Saskatchewan businesses have applied for the Saskatchewan government’s $50-million emergency grant program.
The Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment (SSBEP) fund has distributed $15-million to small and medium-sized businesses that had to temporarily close or curtail their operations as a result of the government’s public health order during the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 4,600 businesses have already applied.
The government says they will be extending the program to businesses that have to remain closed after May 19.
“While the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan is now underway, we are still very much dealing with the global COVID-19 pandemic, so we need to be methodical in how we implement each phase of the plan in our province,” Trade and Export Development Minister Jeremy Harrison said in a press release.
“We want to be flexible and responsive with the program and make sure we provide timely support for businesses so they can utilize this funding where it will provide the most benefit for them.”
Businesses who have done so will not need to re-apply. Businesses that qualify for the program will automatically receive a second payment after May 19.
The SSBEP provides grants to businesses based on 15 per cent of its monthly sales revenue, up to $5,000, to help with fixed costs like rent.
Eligible businesses must meet criteria that include:
- Were open as of Feb. 29, 2020
- Have been ordered to temporarily close or curtail their operations due to the public health order
- Have less than 500 employees
- Attest that they have experienced a loss due to a COVID-19 public health order and that they plan to reopen operations following cancellation of the public health order
“We recognize this support will not solve all of the problems facing businesses during this pandemic, however, this is the first step in our economic recovery effort,” said Premier Scott Moe when the program was announced on April 13.
“We want to stress we are committed to working with business throughout what is a very unprecedented time.”
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
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