Businesses brace for shutdown, scramble to attract as many customers as possible before Sunday

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“This next shutdown is going to be daunting,” he said.

He said he’s confident the business will get through it, and will aim to keep curbside and delivery retail sales going, but is more concerned about the impact on staff.

Jobs, Economy and Innovation Minister Doug Schweitzer said Tuesday that previous health restrictions in the spring led to 300,000 job losses across Alberta, of which up to 250,000 jobs have been recovered.

Schweitzer said the new restrictions mean up to 40 per cent of small businesses in Alberta might not be able to turn the lights back on without government support.

The government has expanded eligibility of its relief grant, which Schweitzer said 17,000 businesses qualified for in the spring. Another 15,000 may now qualify for up to $20,000 in support.

Annie Dormuth, Alberta provincial affairs director for the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses, said the restrictions could push some struggling small businesses to the brink of closure, but the province’s expansion of the relaunch grant will help keep them afloat.

“They’ve been pretty much just barely hanging on for the past nine months,” said Dormuth.

The Opposition NDP have been calling for a boost to small business support for months, including grants of up to $25,000.

The latest provincial measures mean that many businesses who voluntarily closed in November will now be eligible for more federal support, including coverage of up to 90 per cent of rent through the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy.

Caron said the shutdowns should have happened four weeks ago to allow for reopening and at least some holiday sales, adding Tuesday’s announcement seemed “inevitable.”

Still, he said he’s hopeful the community will be supportive by calling for pick-up orders instead of using delivery apps, so cash can go straight to local businesses.

“We can definitely push through these four weeks, and hopefully after that there are no more shutdowns,” he said.

lijohnson@postmedia.com

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December 10, 2020 |

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