Small businesses impacted by lockdown extension
WASAGA BEACH, ONT. -- The Ontario government is providing another round of grants for small tourism and travel businesses struggling to recover from the impact of the pandemic.
The announcement comes on the heels of another extension to the province-wide stay-at-home order.
On Thursday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said an extra two weeks of lockdown restrictions would help the province move towards the "most normal July and August possible."
The order is now in effect until at least June 2.
For those in the tourism industry, any hope of reopening in time for the upcoming Victoria Day long weekend were dashed.
"I've lost track of how many times we've changed the configuration of the patio, or changed the protocols, or changed who can sit with who. As the government changes, we change too," said Derek Hammond, Thornbury Cider and Brew House.
The province estimates the tourism sector has already lost $18 billion in revenue and more than 2,000 jobs.
"The grant will support small tourism and travel businesses that didn't receive the Ontario small business grant," said Lisa McLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries.
Businesses that qualify could receive up to $20,000.
Still, Hammond would prefer to be welcoming customers. "We are all ready and set up here waiting for the go-ahead to open the gate," he added.
Eligible businesses can apply for the Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant online. The deadline to apply is Fri. June 25.