Edmonton – Restaurants Canada is applauding the Alberta government for providing a lifeline to restaurants with a moratorium on evictions and establishing a working capital grant.To help ease the economic pinch, government is planning further measures including legislation to ensure commercial tenants will not face rent increases or be evicted for non-payment of rent due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The new measures will help address shortfalls in the current Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program, and will give eligible business owners piece of mind as they reopen and help with the provincial economic recovery. Additional details are expected to be finalized during the current summer session.The provincial government is committing up to $200 million in funding for eligible businesses and non-profits to access up to $5,000 to offset a portion of their relaunch costs. These funds can be used for implementing measures to minimize the risk of virus transmission, (such as physical barriers, personal protective equipment and disinfecting supplies), rent, employee wages or replacement of inventory. The program’s online application is expected to be available in the coming weeks.
“On behalf of the province’s more than 11,000 restaurants, I want to thank Premier Kenney and Minister Fir for stepping up and throwing a lifeline to these mostly small businesses,” said Mark von Schellwitz, Restaurants Canada vice-president for Western Canada, in a news release. “Our members tell us they are very concerned about whether they’ll have enough cash flow to pay rent, vendors and other expenses over the next few months.”“When restaurants thrive, so do the communities they serve,” he added. “We need to ensure that Alberta’s restaurants are able to remain viable so that they can bring Albertans back to work and contribute to the province’s recovery from COVID-19.”Today Alberta and Saskatchewan both announced commitments to protect commercial tenants from evictions in cases where their landlords are eligible to apply for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program but choose not to. Earlier this week British Columbia made the same commitment.
Premier Kenney’s announcement went a step farther to respond to another key recommendation from Restaurants Canada: to provide foodservice establishments with a working capital grant of up to $5,000 to assist with their reopening costs.
Read the province’s news release here.