The province is expanding the Manitoba Bridge Grant to help small businesses survive extended critical-level pandemic restrictions.
The code-red measures, which have been in place since November, were extended Saturday until Jan. 22.
The financial support program's Dec. 31, 2020 application deadline has been pushed to Jan. 31, and eligibility is being expanded to include more small businesses.
"To make sure people don't fall through the cracks or miss the opportunity to apply for supports, we're extending supports to (the) end of January," Premier Brian Pallister told a press conference Tuesday.
Hotels, resorts, lodges and outfitters, travel agencies, janitorial services companies and owner/operators of licensed passenger-transportation businesses that have seen demand for their services impacted by the public-health orders will be eligible to apply for the grants, he said.
The program was first announced on Nov. 10 to provide $5,000 up front to businesses, not-for-profits and charities directly impacted by the province's pandemic response system and temporarily ordered to close their storefronts to the public.
The province expanded the program Dec. 8 to support home-based businesses indirectly impacted by Manitoba COVID-19 public-health orders, with up to $5,000, based on 10 per cent of their most recent calendar-year revenues.
An second, equal payment was promised if health orders remained in place past Jan. 1, and those payments were made between Friday and Sunday, with recipients notified of the deposit by email, the premier said.
Beginning today, new applicants who were ordered to close their premises will be entitled to a one-time payment of $10,000, whereas eligible home-based business applicants will receive a maximum payment of $10,000.
Pallister said small businesses, charities and not-for-profit organizations are doing their part to protect the health and safety of Manitobans and follow the code-red restrictions.
He cited Statistics Canada numbers show Manitoba has seen a 19 per cent reduction in new COVID-19 cases while most other provinces to the east and the west, aside from Atlantic Canada, are seeing double-digit increases in their daily case counts.
"This is not a victory lap," said Pallister, calling the fight to bend the COVID-19 curve "a marathon, not a sprint."
"We must remember to do the right things here. You are making significant sacrifices and you are saving lives."
He said hundreds of lives have been saved by preventing the spread of the transmission, and hundreds more can be saved if Manitobans continue to follow the guidelines and get through the winter without the virus surging. Only 10 per cent of Manitobans are expected to receive the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of March.
"When people let their guard down, COVID makes a comeback," he warned.
The Manitoba Bridge Grant program has so far paid approximately $104 million to 10,740 eligible applicants, which includes the first payment Nov. 16 to Dec. 31 and second deposits this past week, the premier said.
The total includes close to $94 million to more than 9,400 storefront businesses that received two $5,000 up-front payments. It also includes approximately $10 million to more than 1,300 home-based businesses in two equal payments of up to $5,000. The average payment to home-based businesses is $3,605, or an average total of $7,210 to each business.
For more information see the province's website.
After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.