A Winnipeg city councillor wants to waive business taxes for companies who opt to close over coronavirus concerns.

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A Winnipeg city councillor wants to waive business taxes for companies who opt to close over coronavirus concerns.

Coun. Kevin Klein (Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood) said Tuesday he’ll lobby council to support the move, which he sees as a way to help businesses who’ve made a financial sacrifice to limit public gatherings.

"Every dollar will count for many of these small businesses at this time, and I think it’s an important step to recognize their leadership in closing their businesses to limit the spread of COVID-19," said Klein.

The councillor said he’s concerned businesses such as bars and restaurants could be especially hard hit, as health officials advise people to avoid public gatherings. 

Klein said he believes the tax should be waived during the period a business is closed due to the pandemic, though he’s not immediately sure how much it would cost the city in lost revenue.

The break should only apply to companies that fully shut down operations, and not for those still conducting business, such as restaurants that still offer takeout service, he said, noting he is hopeful council will support the move and work out those details as a group.

In a prepared statement, the mayor’s office said Mayor Brian Bowman is now reviewing the idea and is also seeking ways to assist companies hurt by the pandemic.

"The mayor has been actively engaged with business leaders and other levels of government to see what measures might be considered to provide assistance to local businesses," wrote spokesperson Jeremy Davis.

Joyanne.pursaga@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @joyanne_pursaga

 

Joyanne Pursaga

Joyanne Pursaga
Reporter

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves to tell the stories of this city, especially when politics is involved. Joyanne became the city hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.