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Downtown Winnipeg BIZ: Memo - The latest information for BIZ Members

Dear Downtown Winnipeg BIZ Member,

I can honestly say red is not my favourite colour. It was never on the top of my list but after more than a week with increased restrictions, every time I see red I have to take a deep breath.

Now we’re faced with another shutdown of non-essential businesses starting Thursday. I didn’t think it would come to this but seeing what’s happened over the past few weeks, maybe it’s not much of a surprise. While it stings, we know our community is at risk and we all need to do our part to reduce case numbers and protect our most vulnerable. It’s heartbreaking to see what’s happening and I just hope the sacrifices our business community is making helps. To those who have to shut down, I want you to know we continue to advocate on your behalf. We worked with other business groups late last week to advocate for critical financial support now that we’re experiencing a second wave. If there’s a silver lining to today’s announcement, it’s that the Province has announced increased supports for businesses that are suffering. The details of what we know so far (restrictions and support) are outlined below. As always, please reach out if you have any questions. We’re here for you and we’ve got your back.

Province announces additional restrictions under the Critical (red) level

On Tuesday, Nov. 10, public health officials announced additional measures to reduce community spread of the virus. The following measures will come into effect on Thursday, Nov. 12, and will be in effect across the province:

  • Social gatherings are not permitted. Social contacts reduced to your household only.
  • Retail businesses listed as critical services, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, can remain open at 25 per cent capacity.
  • Retail businesses not on the list are able to provide e-service, curbside pickup or delivery services.
  • All personal service businesses, including hair salons, barbers and sites offering manicures, pedicures and other esthetic services, must close.
  • Gyms and fitness centres must close.
  • Religious and cultural gatherings must close or be provided virtually only.
  • Restaurants must close to the public and may be open for delivery, drive-thru or takeout only.
  • All recreational activities, sports facilities, casinos, museums, galleries, libraries, movie theatres and concert halls must close.

Public health officials are also encouraging people to work from home, reduce travel and remember everyone you have had recent contact with. Other restrictions including mandatory mask use in indoor public places remains in place. The province has also recently increased the fines for not complying with the orders.

New Manitoba Bridge Grant available for businesses and organizations


The Manitoba Bridge Grant program announced today will provide an immediate one-time payment to small and medium-sized businesses, not-for-profit and charitable organizations that are directly ordered to temporarily cease operations or close their publicly accessible physical locations due to the public health order going into effect on November 12, 2020. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Restaurants
  • Bars, beverage rooms, brewpubs, microbreweries, distilleries
  • Casinos
  • Recreation and sport facilities
  • Museums and galleries, theatres and concert halls
  • Charities, not-for-profits and faith-based organizations that have been adversely impacted.

The Manitoba Bridge Grant has the capacity to be extended automatically to Jan. 1, 2021, to provide an additional grant to each organization should these public health orders remain in place. This means, if the restrictions continue, the grant will be able to provide additional funding to each organization in 2021.

The premier noted the province is able to shift significant funds from other programs that have run their course as new needs emerge based on the latest restrictions and the province will seek supplemental funding if more is required.

The grant applications will open by Nov. 16 and you will have until Dec. 15 to apply. Please visit the Manitoba Bridge Grant news release for more information.

Manitoba Gap Protection program changes

The Manitoba Gap Protection Program, which provided funding to businesses that did not qualify for federal support programs, has been converted from a forgivable loan to a grant, meaning recipients no longer have to repay if they received federal COVID support.

Wage subsidy program updates

The Back to Work in Manitoba Wage Subsidy program

  • Immediate, early cash advances provided to employers that have applied for the Back to Work in Manitoba. program
  • New applications received between now and Dec. 1 will continue to be processed.

Canada United grants are available

The #CanadaUnited campaign supports small and local businesses by encouraging Canadians to buy local. The Canada United Small Business Relief Fund (CUSBRF) was established to help small businesses offset the cost of expenses to reopen safely or adopt digital technologies to move more of their business online.
Examples of equipment and services covered by this grant include:

  • Personal Protective Equipment such as masks, gloves, face shields and disinfectant wipes.
  • Physical barriers like Plexiglas and sneeze guards.
  • The installation of touchless devices including bathroom upgrades.
  • Designing a website.
  • Hiring a professional photographer for product shots.
  • Fees related to e-commerce.

For eligibility information, to help you prepare for the application and for the link to apply, visit the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce website.

As always, please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions:

Thank you,
Kate Fenske, CEO
Downtown Winnipeg BIZ