Small enterprise house owners say they’re being omitted at Manitoba’s monetary aid program throughout the partial lockdown just because they do not work out of a storefront.
Joel Boily and Cheryl Mains utilized for the province’s $5,000 bridge grant to offset a few of their losses at their full-time pictures firm. The funding is meant for companies immediately ordered to close down by present public well being restrictions.
However the couple, who personal Black & Gold Pictures in Winnipeg, have been informed they don’t qualify as a result of they do not function out of a bodily storefront.
“That is lots of people within the marriage ceremony trade. Individuals do not work out of brick-and-mortar shops anymore, and lots of people simply make money working from home,” Mains mentioned.
“It is the yr 2020. A lot of our enterprise is completed simply on location, on-line and residential places of work. We do not want that bodily retailer to function as a authentic enterprise in Winnipeg.”
Turning away purchasers, however not eligible for funding
Boily and Mains, who’ve labored as photographers in Winnipeg for a decade and determined to make it their full-time jobs two years in the past, mentioned that they had been scraping by all through the pandemic with smaller photograph shoots.
However when code pink restrictions in Manitoba kicked in earlier this month — ordering non-essential businesses to close — they have been a part of orders to cease photograph shoots utterly.
“It is not like there wasn’t any enterprise,” Mains mentioned. “We have needed to flip away purchasers and simply particularly say that we can’t work at the moment. I imply, that paired with not being eligible for funding is simply actually irritating proper now.”
‘They gladly take my taxes’
Photographer Nancy Arnold cannot get the funding both, and in contrast to shops or eating places that may nonetheless function curbside pickups or supply, she’s left attempting to get purchasers to buy reward playing cards for future photograph shoots.
“Companies which can be in a position to do curbside pickup, with a just about a assured supply of earnings, are getting the grant,” she mentioned.
Arnold, proprietor of Kiex Fotography, mentioned she is absolutely on board with having to shut, however it feels just like the province is treating her livelihood like a interest.
“I am a taxpayer. They’re going to gladly take my taxes. I gather GST and pay earnings tax,” she mentioned.
Photographers, entertainers, florists, planners all cannot qualify
Many within the occasion trade have additionally came upon they don’t qualify. Entertainers, florists and occasion planners are in full limbo.
Connie Kusie began her personal occasion planning firm Harlow Occasions lower than a yr in the past, and mentioned the complete marriage ceremony and occasion trade has been hit laborious for the reason that starting of the pandemic.
“We had that little bit of hope dangled in entrance of us. A bunch of us have been like, ‘Okay, we’ve some help coming in,'” Kusie mentioned.
“So to go and apply, and have that ‘you do not qualify’ pop up, my coronary heart type of simply dropped.”
“These aren’t simply hobbies. They’re our companies, our goals and our passions that we’ve taken an opportunity on,” Kusie mentioned.
‘Open to the concept’ of increasing standards: Premier
In query interval Monday Manitoba Liberal Chief Dougald Lamont mentioned his workplace was being swamped by calls from small companies who do not qualify.
Premier Brian Pallister mentioned his authorities is taking a look at broadening the grant to different small companies.
“That’s already being researched and we’re very open to the concept,” Pallister mentioned.
In a press release to CBC Information, Manitoba finance minister Scott Fielding mentioned there could also be federal funding for ineligible companies that have been ordered to shut.
“The province can be offering as much as $50 million to help enterprise organizations such because the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce create a long-term restoration plan that might assist small companies in Manitoba,” the assertion continued.
In the meantime, these within the occasion trade like Connie Kusie mentioned they hope aid will likely be on its method.
“It was a extremely harsh slap within the face as a result of there are such a lot of of us which can be struggling and barely making ends meet,” she mentioned.