Manitoba government reopens Bridge Grant
WINNIPEG -- The provincial government is reopening the Bridge Grant Program to help support businesses affected by public health restrictions.
Finance Minister Scott Fielding announced on Tuesday new applicants can now apply for the grant, which includes seasonal and new businesses that were not operating when the original November 10 application deadline passed.
“I think this is going to cover off a lot of people that couldn’t apply for it,” said Fielding. “If you had a business that maybe started after November, for instance, they’re still struggling as well.”
Eligible storefront businesses will get $5,000, while home-based businesses will get up to $5,000, based on 10 per cent of their most recent calendar year revenues.
The $2,000 waste top-up will also be extended to new applicants, which gives an additional $2,000 to businesses that offer prepared foods like hotels, bars, and lounges. Previous Bridge Grant applicants who did not receive the May 15 top-up will also be eligible. It was originally only given to restaurants.
New applicants will not be receiving retroactive payments for previous rounds of the program, and businesses who had grant applications rejected will not be eligible to apply for this round of grants.
Businesses who already received a Bridge Grant are also ineligible.
The province said over $291 million was been given to about 15,000 businesses through the Bridge Grant program since November. There have been four rounds of $5,000 grants, with applicants getting up to $20,000. That number jumps to $22,000 for businesses getting the food waste top-up.
Additional grants or programs are something the province is considering if needed, but will be dependent on the situation.
“We’re certainly open to doing something in the future,” said Fielding. “But it’s got to be the right program at the right time. These bridge-type of programs are good when you do have a lockdown-type situation, but as you start loosening the health restrictions, I think it’s really important to have some kind of incentives in place for businesses to rehire and do it in a safe way.”
Fielding said those business incentives, aligned with the province’s reopening plan, will be announced in the next few days.
Fielding estimates about 1,000 businesses will be eligible for the grant.