Happy New Year to our readers! In Ontario, we begin the new year in yet another lockdown situation, which has forced many many small businesses to switch back to curbside pick-up only or, in some cases, stop operating. In southern Ontario, the lockdown will remain in effect until at least January 23, 2021. Full details of the lockdown rules can be found in O. Reg. 779/20, which came into effect on December 26, 2020.
Staying Open? Make A Safety Plan!
For businesses that remain open and in-person, employers are required to prepare and make available a safety plan. Physical distancing and applicable capacity limits, as set out in O. Reg. 779/20 must be followed.
Ontario Small Business Support Grant
Along with the lockdown news, the Ontario government rolled out a plan to provide small businesses with a grant – starting at $10,000 and up to $20,000 – to help cover the revenue decrease expected to be caused by the lockdown.
In order to be eligible, businesses must demonstrate a revenue decline of at least 20% when comparing April 2019 and April 2020. Why April you ask? The Ontario government has explained that April 2020 was selected as it best reflects what a small business revenue decline can expect to be as a result of a lockdown. The lockdown measures at the start of the pandemic in Spring 2020 are similar to the lockdown measures in place now.
Criteria will be announced this month for businesses that may not have been operating in April 2019 or 2020.
Other eligibility criteria include:
- Having to close or restrict services as a result of the December 26, 2020 lockdown
- Having fewer than 100 employees
Unlike other support programs, Ontario businesses will be free to decide how they want to spend their grant money.
We await the application and further details! Keep an eye on the Ontario government’s site here.
Not Enough Work? IDEL Continues
Also, a reminder that where businesses do not have sufficient work for employees these employees will be placed on the deemed Infectious Disease Emergency Leave, which has been extended until July 3, 2021. Check out our blog on this topic for further details.
If you need help navigating the impact of the latest lockdown on your business, get in touch for a consultation.