Small enterprise house owners say they’re being ignored at Manitoba’s monetary aid program throughout the partial lockdown just because they do not work out of a storefront.
Joel Boily and Cheryl Mains utilized for the province’s $5,000 bridge grant to offset a few of their losses at their full-time images firm. The funding is meant for companies instantly ordered to close down by present public well being restrictions.
However the couple, who personal Black & Gold Images in Winnipeg, had been informed they don’t qualify as a result of they do not function out of a bodily storefront.
“That is lots of people within the wedding ceremony trade. Folks do not work out of brick-and-mortar shops anymore, and lots of people simply work at home,” Mains stated.
“It is the 12 months 2020. A lot of our enterprise is completed simply on location, on-line and residential places of work. We do not want that bodily retailer to function as a reliable enterprise in Winnipeg.”
Turning away purchasers, however not eligible for funding
Boily and Mains, who’ve labored as photographers in Winnipeg for a decade and determined to make it their full-time jobs two years in the past, stated they’d been scraping by all through the pandemic with smaller photograph shoots.
However when code crimson restrictions in Manitoba kicked in earlier this month — ordering non-essential businesses to close — they had been a part of orders to cease photograph shoots fully.
“It is not like there wasn’t any enterprise,” Mains stated. “We have needed to flip away purchasers and simply particularly say that we can’t work at the moment. I imply, that paired with not being eligible for funding is simply actually irritating proper now.”
‘They gladly take my taxes’
Photographer Nancy Arnold cannot get the funding both, and in contrast to shops or eating places that may nonetheless function curbside pickups or supply, she’s left making an attempt to get purchasers to buy present playing cards for future photograph shoots.
“Companies which might be in a position to do curbside pickup, with a just about a assured supply of revenue, are getting the grant,” she stated.
Arnold, proprietor of Kiex Fotography, stated she is absolutely on board with having to shut, however it feels just like the province is treating her livelihood like a interest.
“I am a taxpayer. They will gladly take my taxes. I gather GST and pay revenue tax,” she stated.
Photographers, entertainers, florists, planners all cannot qualify
Many within the occasion trade have additionally came upon they don’t qualify. Entertainers, florists and occasion planners are in full limbo.
Connie Kusie began her personal occasion planning firm Harlow Occasions lower than a 12 months in the past, and stated the complete wedding ceremony and occasion trade has been hit arduous because the starting of the pandemic.
“We had that little bit of hope dangled in entrance of us. A bunch of us had been like, ‘Okay, we’ve some assist coming in,'” Kusie stated.
“So to go and apply, and have that ‘you do not qualify’ pop up, my coronary heart type of simply dropped.”
“These aren’t simply hobbies. They’re our companies, our goals and our passions that we’ve taken an opportunity on,” Kusie stated.
‘Open to the thought’ of increasing standards: Premier
In query interval Monday Manitoba Liberal Chief Dougald Lamont stated his workplace was being swamped by calls from small companies who do not qualify.
Premier Brian Pallister stated his authorities is broadening the grant to different small companies.
“That’s already being researched and we’re very open to the thought,” Pallister stated.
In a press release to CBC Information, Manitoba finance minister Scott Fielding stated there could also be federal funding for ineligible companies that had been ordered to shut.
“The province can also be offering as much as $50 million to assist enterprise organizations such because the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce create a long-term restoration plan that might assist small companies in Manitoba,” the assertion continued.
In the meantime, these within the occasion trade like Connie Kusie stated they hope aid might be on its means.
“It was a very harsh slap within the face as a result of there are such a lot of of us which might be struggling and barely making ends meet,” she stated.