Province offers grant to Halifax area businesses ordered closed under new COVID rule
Province to offer a one-time grant of up to $5,000 to small, independently owned bars, dine-in restaurants and fitness and leisure centres
HALIFAX — Businesses ordered closed in an effort to curb the city’s rising number of COVID-19 cases are getting another round of financial support from the province.
Business Minister Geoff MacLellan said that the province would offer a one-time grant of up to $5,000 to small, independently owned bars, dine-in restaurants and fitness and leisure centres.
The businesses are among those that are now closed for at least the next two weeks under health measures that took effect Nov. 26.
MacLellan said it’s the third round for a grant which is part of a larger $50-million relief fund for business.
“Those who received this in the past will be fast-tracked,” he told reporters following a cabinet meeting. “If there are any that didn’t apply . . . they still will be eligible.”
Businesses can use the grant money for any operational expenses, such as wages and supplies. To be eligible, businesses must have been operating since March 15. There is no cap on annual revenues.
“It’s not going to solve everyone’s problem. We always wish we could do more,” MacLellan said.
Under the new restrictions, retail stores can remain open, but they have to limit the number of shoppers and staff to 25 per cent or less of their legal capacity.
MacLellan said while retailers aren’t part of the targeted relief package, his department will monitor the impact on their business over what is hoped will be only a two-week period before the measures can be lifted.
The province reported 14 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, including 12 in the Halifax area, one in the northern health zone and one in the western zone.
It said 856 tests were administered at the rapid-testing site in downtown Halifax on Wednesday, and there were five positive results. The individuals were directed to self-isolate and have been referred for a standard test.
“We’ve seen a great uptake for asymptomatic testing among Halifax bar staff and patrons,” Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health said in a news release.
“People are showing us how much they care about their communities by going to these pop-up rapid-testing locations. This has allowed us to detect a few cases among asymptomatic people early on and helps to stop the spread of the virus.”
Since Oct. 1, Nova Scotia has reported 167 COVID-19 cases, and it has had 1,257 cases and 65 deaths since the pandemic began.