A chef cooks on a rainy fall day as a restaurant is open for curbside pickup during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Monday, November 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

A chef cooks on a rainy fall day as a restaurant is open for curbside pickup during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Monday, November 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Business groups appeal for support amid surging COVID-19 cases and new restrictions

Immediate financial help is critical

Two of Canada’s largest business groups are calling on provincial governments to provide financial support for restaurants, retailers and small businesses grappling with renewed public health restrictions.

In an open letter to premiers, Restaurants Canada and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business say many provinces have introduced a fresh round of restrictions on top of existing measures, dramatically reducing the ability for businesses to serve customers.

They say those new rules coupled with widespread fears of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 have prompted many Canadians to cancel holidays plans and shop online.

But the industry groups say many businesses still don’t qualify for federal government support as their operations aren’t fully locked down.

They say the need for significant and immediate financial help is critical and urge the premiers to usher in a new round of provincial small business grants.

The business groups are also asking premiers to pressure Ottawa into restoring the wage and rent subsidies to levels used in the spring and to revise lockdown supports to include businesses facing significant capacity restrictions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 21, 2021.

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