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This combination of a global pandemic and global economic crisis is new and dangerous territory to us all.  We have a dilemma whereby we want to achieve the isolation / social distancing needed to lessen the transmission of this virus and still support our local businesses that we need here for the long term.

To find the best way through this we would like the members of our community to consider these three initiatives:

  1. Social distancing and/or isolation. The best way to “flatten the curve” and get ahead of this pandemic is to quickly stop the spread by stopping human interaction.  Some businesses may have to close their doors for a period, while some will need to stay open to serve you.
    1. Should you visit local businesses?
      1. If you have travelled outside of Canada in the last 2 weeks you are to be in self-isolation and should not interact with people. Please refer to the government guidelines to achieve this.
      2. If you can do your business by phone, text or email you should.
  • You should call ahead to confirm if the business in question is prepared to serve you.
  1. Options such as delivery, takeout or organized shopping times may help us to accommodate your needs and help us manage social contact.
  1. Supporting local business. The coming months, maybe years may be very difficult for local businesses.  Your support has never been as important as it is right now.  We recognize that the economic crisis that is in parallel with this health crisis is severe and will undoubtably hurt many people.  Please be ready to support our local businesses now and especially as soon as this crisis passes.
  2. Helping one another. Our business community has always worked with each other and with our citizens in time of need.  This time we may face some new challenges and to most of us this is new territory.  We as a business community want to begin by offering to help each other and helping any and all of our community members as we can. We will be working together to find solutions where people need:
    1. Supplies of any kind can be shared between businesses or members of the community should they be in short supply.
    2. Support for workers, replacement workers, technology and other ways to help businesses that have staffing challenges.
    3. Care and attention to the elderly. It is critical that they not be exposed and yet social interaction is important.  Staying in contact by phone, making sure they have groceries and supplies, and generally accommodating their needs without exposing them is the most important thing we can do right now.
    4. Daycare may be a challenge in the coming weeks. We should consider how we can help those that rely on daycare if it is not available.
    5. Delivery of goods and services is one way we can help people remain somewhat isolated.


The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce have been incredible at keeping us updated on announcements on both Federal and Provincial levels.

Please see below for a summary of the changes that were announced yesterday.


The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced new measures to support Canadian businesses so they can keep their doors open and their employees on the job.

The Government of Canada is:

  • Expanding the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to businesses that paid between $20,000 and $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019. This new range will replace the previous one of between $50,000 and $1 million, and will help address the challenges faced by small businesses to cover non-deferrable operating costs. Since the launch of the CEBA on April 9, 2020, more than 195,000 loans have been approved by financial institutions, extending more than $7.5 billion in credit to small businesses.
  • Announcing its intent to introduce the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. The program will seek to provide loans, including forgivable loans, to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June. Implementation of the program will require a partnership between the federal government and provincial and territorial governments, which are responsible for property owner-tenant relationships. We are working with the provinces and territories to increase rent support for businesses that are most impacted by the pandemic and we will have more details to share soon.

These measures are part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, which has committed more than $107 billion in support to Canadians and businesses facing hardship as a result of the pandemic. The government will continue to monitor and respond to the wide-ranging impacts of COVID-19, and take additional actions as needed to protect the health and safety of Canadians and stabilize the economy.

Also, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) CRA has updated the eligibility requirements to the clearer and broader criteria:

The benefit will be available to workers:

  • Residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;
  • Who have stopped working because of reasons related to COVID-19 or are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits or have exhausted their Employment Insurance regular benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020;
  • Who had employment and/or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and,
  • Who have not quit their job voluntarily.


When submitting your first claim, you cannot have earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income for 14 or more consecutive days within the four-week benefit period of your claim.


When submitting subsequent claims, you cannot have earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income for the entire four-week benefit period of your new claim.


This benefit is retroactive to March 15, 2020 .


This adjustment in the language is a much better definition of the terms.


The link to this file remains to be https://mbchamber.mb.ca/2020/04/mcc-launches-new-federal-relief-measures-guide/ and there is now a “Last Updated” field in the footer to help everyone know as of what date the file had been adjusted to meet all the changes that are currently being made.


The chief provincial public health officer has updated public health orders that take effect on April 17, and will be in effect until May 1, 2020. They mandate that anyone entering Manitoba, regardless of whether it was from another country or another province must self-isolate for 14 days. In addition, travel to northern Manitoba (north of the 53rd parallel of latitude) is prohibited with some exceptions including:

  • residents of northern and remote communities may continue to move within the north;
  • delivery of goods and services may continue; and
  • exceptions include those who travel to the north for employment, medical treatment or to facilitate child-custody agreements.

The new orders build on the current orders, and maintain the gathering size of no more than 10 people at any indoor or outdoor premises. Additional updates include:

  • a clarification that businesses not listed as critical may operate, and have customers attend to pick up ordered items, providing social distancing measures are in place;
  • a provision to allow farmers markets to operate, providing social distancing measures are in place;
  • hotels may operate, but must close common areas such as pools, hot tubs and game rooms;
  • campgrounds can provide accommodation to recreational vehicles that act as a primary residence;
  • garden centres and greenhouses can operate, providing social distancing measures are in place; and
  • appliance, electronic and furniture stores are excluded, and should not be open to the public, except where orders are placed remotely and orders are delivered or picked up with social distancing measures in place.

The following restrictions remain in place as they were with previous orders:

  • All restaurants and other commercial facilities are prohibited from serving food to customers in their premises. This prevents eat-in dining at all facilities. However, restaurants and other commercial facilities can prepare and serve food for delivery or takeout. If this takes place, the operator of the restaurant must ensure that all people maintain the appropriate social distancing from other customers when picking up food.
  • All businesses that are not listed in the schedule of critical services that accompanies the order must remain closed.

–    This closure order does not prevent these businesses from operating on a remote basis.

–    A business may accept orders on the internet or over the phone for delivery or pickup, as long as the employees are not working at the place of business.

–    The order does not prevent employees or others from coming into the business to perform repairs, to provide security services or to take out items from the business premises if the business is going to operate on a remote basis.

–    Nothing in the order restricts the operations of delivery of services by the federal or provincial governments or a municipality.

–    Nothing in the order restricts any activities of a publicly funded agency, organization or authority that delivers or supports government operations or services including health-care services. This means the order does not affect institutions, agencies and other service providers offering health-care services such as hospitals, regional health authorities and private agencies that provide a range of health services.

As a side note In addition, public health officials are expanding testing criteria to include:

  • all symptomatic workers or volunteers at workplaces that have been identified as essential services; and
  • any symptomatic person who lives with a health-care worker, first responder or worker in a congregate setting such as a correctional facility, shelter, long-term care or residential facility.

The federal and provincial measures guide has been reflected with these changes as well and lives as it always has at: https://mbchamber.mb.ca/2020/04/mcc-launches-new-federal-relief-measures-guide/