June 10, 2021, Winnipeg, MB – The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ is calling for increased financial supports after the Province announced businesses must remain closed for at least another two weeks. The impact of a third lockdown, combined with a significant decrease in foot traffic has hit downtown businesses especially hard and led to continued loss in revenue over the past 15 months.
“We understand Manitobans need social connection right now and we support some easing of restrictions,” says Kate Fenske, CEO of the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ. “But keeping businesses closed for another two weeks while the majority have operated safely and responsibly without any additional financial support has a significant and widespread impact.”
The Province’s support programs have helped throughout the pandemic and kept many businesses afloat. With already 25 weeks of closures since the pandemic started, extending them past this weekend means businesses have another month of expenses without the revenue to cover their costs.
“We appreciate the support the Province has provided businesses to date including four installments of the Bridge Grant,” says Fenske. “More support is needed as nearly 50 businesses have closed in our zone since the pandemic started. Many people employed in the hospitality and service sectors remain out of work and each closure impacts the future of our downtown.”
The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ is hopeful the Province’s reopening plan expected later this week will give businesses a framework so they can plan ahead. We know recovery won’t be fast or easy and that returning to a state of normalcy will take time – especially for downtown businesses.
To date the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ has provided over $180,000 in micro-grants for small businesses and supported members through a new program that connects small businesses that need help with other downtown businesses that can provide it. More than 50 businesses have completed the Connect Grant program that helps build their capacity and generate revenue through digital and marketing support, legal advice, HR services, and overall business strategy.
The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ is also working with various partners on a Downtown Recovery Strategy that will be completed by the fall.
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Pamela Hardman, Director of Marketing, Engagement and Communications
Cell: 204-806-2506, Email: Pamela@downtownwinnipegbiz.com