Small business owners who run their operations without a payroll have convinced the Nova Scotia government they too should be eligible for a COVID-19 relief program aimed at bars, restaurants, performance halls, recreation facilities and gyms.
The sector impact support program, announced three weeks ago, offers between $2,500 and $7,500 to small operations in the province that are losing business as a result of stricter public health measures imposed in December. The amount businesses receive depends on the size of its payroll — or the amount of revenue normally coming in.
The revenue part of the equation was added after some business owners, particularly those who run their own operations, complained they would not be eligible despite being hurt by the smaller gatherings limits or other restrictions.
Nova Scotia Economic Development Minister Susan Corkum-Greek acknowledged that on Monday, the day applications opened for the aid.
"We heard from such individuals, and that is why the eligibility is based either on minimum gross monthly payroll or a minimum gross monthly revenue," said Corkum-Greek. "It does reflect a very quick response on the part of government to a gap."
'We know the pandemic is not over'
The minister acknowledged the money would not replace all the losses being suffered by small business owners and she noted that more help might be needed if the restrictions remained in place much longer.
"We know the pandemic is not over," she said. "What we can do is absolutely pledge to the business community. We're going to continue to work with them.
"We want to understand the ongoing impacts to their operations and the government of Nova Scotia will be there to support them."
In order to qualify for the aid, businesses must have had gross monthly payroll of at least $1,000 or gross monthly revenue of at least $2,500 for November 2021, but have gross revenue of $5 million or less in the most recently filed tax year. They must also be registered to do business in Nova Scotia and have an active Canada Revenue Agency business number.
Corkum-Greek expected cheques to be delivered within a week or two of applications.
MORE TOP STORIES