HALIFAX: The Rankin government announced May 4, more than $12 million in additional support for Nova Scotia businesses hit hard by the pandemic and facing province-wide restrictions as a result of a third wave.
Three programs – one new program and two previously announced -aim to help small business owners such as restaurants, spas, hotels, gyms and hair salons. Businesses will be supported through rebates, with an immediate infusion of cash to hire staff, pay down debt or order supplies.
Fees for businesses will also be deferred to help owners and operators during this period.
“We are moving to help because we recognize these necessary additional public health protocols are difficult for many businesses,” said Inclusive Economic Growth Minister Labi Kousoulis. “This most recent shutdown is important to stopping the spread of the virus so our businesses can reopen safely as quickly as possible.”
Starting today, May 4, applications are open for the Tourism Accommodations Real Property Tax Rebate Program Part 2, announced in March. This program provides qualified operators with a 50 per cent rebate on the first six months of commercial property tax paid in 2021-22.
Operators who received payments under the first Tourism Accommodations Real Property Tax Rebate Program will be automatically eligible as long as they are still the owners of the property.
Applications will open the week of May 10 for the Small Business Real Property Tax Rebate Program, which was also announced in March.
Eligible businesses can receive a one-time rebate of a portion of their paid property taxes. They can choose a rebate of $1,000 or 50 per cent of the commercial real property taxes paid for the final six months of the 2020-21 tax year.
The new Small Impact Business Grant Part 3 opens for applications this week to provide grants of up to $5,000 for Nova Scotia businesses directly affected by the April 2021 restrictions. Eligible businesses will receive a one-time grant of 15 per cent of their sales revenue for the month of April 2019 or February 2020, up to a maximum of $5,000.
For businesses established after March 15, 2020, the grant amount will be calculated as 15 per cent of the sales revenue for any month from April 2020 to March 2021. The applicant can choose the month.
Businesses must have experienced an average monthly revenue decrease of 30 per cent or more for the period of March 1, 2020 to February 28, 2021 compared to the same time the previous year, or expect at least a 30 per cent decrease in revenues in May 2021 resulting from the new restrictions introduced in April.
An email about next steps will be sent to previous recipients of a Small Business Impact Grant in eligible business sectors this week. Applications for businesses that did not receive a previous Small Business Impact Grant will be available by May 19.
Government will also be deferring fees until June 30 for businesses that were required to close or were significantly curtailed by the April public health restrictions. Workers’ compensation premium payments will be deferred until the end of July.
Businesses are also being asked to do everything they can to stop the spread of COVID-19 during the shutdown period, including allowing employees to work from home where possible, ensuring employees stay home if they are feeling unwell, and continuing to operate in the best interest of safety.
More information on each program:
Tourism Accommodations Real Property Tax Rebate Program Part 2:
— $7.3 million has been allocated for the this program, which will be administered by Tourism Nova Scotia
— businesses applying for this program must meet the definition of a roofed accommodation as set out in the Tourist Accommodation Registration Act, be registered as a host under the act, have more than five rooms available to rent, not be in arrears of property taxes or property tax installment payments and have experienced a year-over-year revenue loss of at least 30 per cent from April 1 to Oct. 31, 2020
Small Business Real Property Tax Rebate Program:
— $7 million has been allocated for this program, which will be administered by the Nova Scotia COVID-19 Response Council
— this program will be available to gym and fitness establishments, hair salons and barber shops, spas, nail salons, body art establishments, restaurants offering in-person dining service and bars and licensed drinking establishments
— eligible businesses must be recipients of previous Small Business Impact Grants (part 1 or 2), have experienced a year-over-year decline in revenues of at least 30 per cent for the period April 30, 2020 to Jan. 31, 2021, or have started operations on or after Jan. 1, 2020
Small Business Impact Grant Part 3:
— an additional $12 million has been allocated for this program, which will be administered by the province
— this program will be available to restaurants offering in-person dining service, bar or licensed drinking establishments, fitness, recreational and leisure facilities including gyms, yoga studios, indoor play areas, arcades, climbing facilities, dance programs and music lessons, personal services including hair salons, barber shops, spas, nail salons and body art establishments, independent retailers with a physical retail location and live performing arts
More information can be found at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/support/#support-for-business