The Quebec government is making $100 million in financial aid available to the estimated 12,000 businesses that are shutting down this month because of new lockdown measures.
Starting today, bars, restaurant dining rooms and reception halls in the province's so-called red zones — which include Montreal and Quebec City — must close for the next 28 days.
These were among a series of restrictions announced earlier this week as the province fights off a second wave of COVID-19 infections. On Thursday, 933 new cases were reported.
"We want to avoid a more generalized lockdown," Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon said at a news conference in Quebec City.
Fitzgibbon said the businesses who are forced to close, or scale back, will be eligible for loan reimbursements of up to $15,000 each.
Fitzgibbon said the money will help offset fixed costs, including municipal taxes, insurance and mortgage payments. The affected businesses can also apply to a federal wage subsidy program.
The economy minister estimated there were somewhere between 20,000 and 25,000 businesses in the province currently experiencing financial difficulties.
He said that with help from both the provincial and federal governments, most of these businesses should be able to survive.