WINNIPEG -- With Manitoba moving into Code Red restrictions beginning on Nov. 12, Manitoba’s premier has announced new supports for small businesses that have to close.

During a news conference on Tuesday, Premier Brian Pallister announced several measures to help businesses, including two grants to help address business closures.

“These steps will help address what businesses need to get them through to the other side of COVID, bridging support to get us through COVID, and restart stronger,” Pallister said.

The new support programs include a Manitoba Bridge Grant, which will provide $5,000 to small and medium-sized businesses that have to close due to the Code Red measures before Christmas. Pallister said if restrictions have to continue in the new year, an additional $5,000 will be made available.

Applications open on Nov. 16, with the deadline for applications being Dec. 15.

The grant is also available to those who received funding from the province’s Gap Protection Program, which gave funding to businesses that didn’t qualify for federal assistance. Over 10,000 businesses applied for the program, receiving $6,000.

Pallister said the Grant Protection Program will be changed from a conditional loan to a grant.

“You don’t have to pay it back,” he said.

The province also announced it will be advancing provincial cash to businesses that applied for wage subsidy programs. Businesses will receive $1,500 for each employee hired, and Pallister said the money, totalling approximately $15 million, will start flowing to businesses starting next week.

“We know that we’ll never make up for the losses COVID has caused us, whether in business or in our personal lives,” the premier said. “No government treasury has that much money in it, no government treasury can borrow enough money to do that.

"But the fact of the matter remains, we’re going to continue our small business people, because that’s the engine of our growth and our future, and our small business people will help us lead into a brighter future as we beat COVID together.”

Pallister said the province will also ask representatives from business groups to give them input on additional long-term recovery funding and support programs, which will take effect in early 2021.