On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 (commonly known as “coronavirus”) a pandemic. On March 18, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador declared the COVID-19 outbreak a public health state of emergency.
On a regular basis, the Clarenville Chamber of Commerce actively monitored the developments and both the Federal and Provincial government activities related to combatting the spread of COVID-19 and addressing the pressing need for actions that will sustain businesses and facilitate the return to operation once the pandemic has subsided.
To further support small businesses, the Government of Canada:
- Provided a 75 per cent wage subsidy for qualify businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive March 15, 2020 which was extended in June to the end of August. This helped businesses keep their workers on the payroll.
- They allowed businesses, including self-employed individuals, to defer all Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) payments until June as well as customs duties owed for imports.
- They launched the new Canada Emergency Business Account. This program provided up to $25 billion to eligible financial institutions so they could provide interest-free loans to small businesses. These loans guaranteed and funded by the Government of Canada – has ensured that small businesses have access to the capital they need, at a zero per cent interest rate, so they can pay for rent and other important costs over the next number of months.
- They launched the new Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program that will enable up to $40 billion in lending, supported through Export Development Canada and Business Development Bank, for guaranteed loans when small businesses go to their financial institutions to help weather the impacts of COVID-19. This was intended for small and medium-sized companies to require greater help to meet their operational cash flow requirements.