Terrace mayor Carol Leclerc (Brittany Gervais photo)

‘Some much-needed relief’: Terrace mayor gives thoughts on new federal COVID-19 measures

The Federal government is giving a 75 per cent wage subsidy to businesses which have lost revenue

Terrace’s mayor says she supports recent steps announced by both the provincial and federal governments to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and provide financial relief to businesses across the country which have experienced a significant reduction in revenue.

On March 27 Justin Trudeau announced a number of measures aimed at helping businesses facing tough financial times stay afloat, namely a 75 per cent subsidy on wages for any business which has experienced a 30 per cent or more reduction in revenue due to the virus and the promise of guaranteed interest-free loans. Subsidies from the program will be backdated to March 15.

READ MORE: B.C. adding $300 to monthly income and disability assistance payments

Mayor Carol Leclerc said the announcement comes at a time where many businesses within the community are facing a lot of uncertainly, calling small and medium-sized businesses a backbone of the community.

“The newly increased wage subsidy and other measures announced by the federal government last week for businesses of all sizes will provide some much-needed relief for many business owners and a steady income for many of their hard-working employees,” said Leclerc.

While the Terrace mayor applauded the newly-announced measures, she also said it’s important for residents to continue to respect social distancing measures which have been announced by the Province.

Currently no gatherings of more than 50 people are allowed in British Columbia. This contrasts with other provinces and territories which have taken much more extreme measures. Nunavut has banned all public gatherings regardless of size, while Quebec has banned all gatherings outside of workplaces and retail. British Columbia has also closed down schools, restaurants and bars, while daycares remain open. Terrace’s city council has already sent a letter which they all agreed upon to the Province, asking them to issue stricter measures in the fight against the virus, including a much lower number for the maximum capacity of public gatherings.

Leclerc also stressed the importance of supporting local businesses while maintaining respect for social distancing.

“I think it’s crucial for our community to remember that this government support is only part of what these businesses need to stay afloat right now,” she said. “I can’t stress how important it is for our community members to continue to support our local businesses, whether through ordering takeout, doing physical distancing while visiting retail premises, getting a gift card, buying locally online, or connecting through another of the many ways these businesses are adapting during these challenging times.”

On the provincial front there were also a number of new measures announced in late March focused on reducing spread of the virus and stopping people from hoarding supplies or profiteering off of price gouging.

Violating orders made by public health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry can now result in fines of up to $25,000, while the reselling of supplies deemed essential (personal protective equipment, facial respirators, etc.) is banned province-wide with fines of up to $10,000. The Province has indicated jail time is also a possibility for those who ignore rules on large gatherings, with bylaw officers being granted additional powers to help them enforce the above order.

As of this article’s publication there are just under one million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with just under 51,000 deaths attributed to the virus. In Canada, there are over 10,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

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