Downtown Winnipeg BIZ is here to support our members.
We understand how difficult this pandemic has been on businesses and are committed to supporting you during this time. We want to ensure you’re set up for success and are informed with the most up-to-date information.
We also know employers need support in facilitating a smooth transition from working from home to in-person work. For tips on how to help your employees through this change, view our guide.
How Downtown Winnipeg BIZ has helped businesses:
- Building on the success of the first Downtown Winnipeg BIZ Connect Grant, we were able to offer a Connect Grant round 2. Once again, it aimed to build sustainability while building community connections.
- We know businesses need help to make it through the second wave of the pandemic. To help, we created the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ Connect Grant — a service program that connects member businesses needing help with member business experts that can provide it. Simply put, it builds sustainability for two businesses with one grant.
- In an effort to help businesses in the ways they need it most, we created the first phase of the grant program, which granted $1,000 to qualifying downtown small and medium-sized businesses to help with recovery. Businesses could use the grants for just about anything they need – from helping with rent payments to extra promotion. We were able to open a second phase of $1,000 grants in May of 2021.
- Researched, created and launched a free tour app that takes guests around downtown on the BFF (Best Furry Friends) Tour. The BFF Tour includes several pet-friendly downtown businesses in a fun-filled, educational 7 km tour narrated by Kahla Evans.
- Created, organized, launched and supported Winnipeg’s first-ever Patio Fest which provided Winnipeggers with everything they need to have an amazing weekend on downtown patios.
- Ramped up our social media and online promotion of businesses.
- Created, launched and are promoting that downtown businesses are #OpenwithCare, a campaign designed to help our members demonstrate their commitment to safety.
- Brought back our events safely (like Fitness in the Park, and Downtown Sounds Concert Series) and are offering some of our signature events in reimagined ways.
- Created designated curbside pick-up locations for contactless shopping and food pick-up options.
- Worked with the City of Winnipeg and Exchange District BIZ to provide one hour free parking to encourage more visitors downtown.
- Advocated for temporary patio permits, allowing more businesses to expand outdoors through the warmer months.
- Brought large employers together to share resources and discuss how to bring workers safely back to the office. According to a survey conducted by Probe Research for the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ in September, 25% of workers were back in the office full time and another 30% were back part time.
- Advocated for changes to the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program to help with rent relief. Since then, the government has announced a new program with expanded criteria. The program:
- Allowed tenants to apply for CECRA directly, instead of relying on landlords to participate.
- Changed the requirement that businesses must have experienced at least a 70% drop in revenue, to subsidizing a percentage of their expenses, on a sliding scale, up to a maximum of 65% of eligible expenses.
- Provided a top-up Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy of 25% for organizations temporarily shut down by a mandatory public health order, in addition to the 65% subsidy.
For past COVID-19 provincial updates, please visit the archive.
Returning to the Downtown Office tips
Province of Manitoba – Restoring Safe Services guidelines and regulations
Province of Manitoba – #RestartMB
Government of Canada – Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
Business continuity and crisis recovery – free webinar from Downtown Winnipeg BIZ
Canadian Business Resilience Network – tools and resources for businesses
Economic Development Winnipeg – COVID-19 toolkit
Business continuity plan and templates
Member communications (MEMOs)
If you’re a downtown business and you’d like to receive the MEMO, please send us an email.
For The Public
Downtown businesses you know and love are open, and if you haven’t visited in a while, we miss you! Support local by visiting, ordering take-out or shopping online with a downtown business.
Check out our Find It Downtown Directory for inspiration.
If you’re visiting in person, please do your part and follow the health and safety regulations mandated by the Province.
- Practice physical distancing by maintaining a distance of two metres from others at all times.
- Wear a mask.
- Wash or sanitize your hands often.
- Be kind to employees and follow directions.
How Downtown Winnipeg BIZ has helped:
- Increased cleaning of high-use spaces like bus shelters and cigarette butt receptacles.
- Sharing updates on downtown businesses’ open hours on social media and online.
- Set up designated curbside pickup locations to make it easy for you to grab takeout or pick up purchases from your favourite restaurants and stores.
- Worked with the City of Winnipeg and Exchange District BIZ to provide one hour free parking downtown (this offer has now expired). As always, you can continue to enjoy free parking after 5:30 pm weekdays, for two hours on Saturday and all day Sunday.
- Provided downtown businesses with masks they can give to customers in case you forget one, and hand sanitizer.
Impressed by how well downtown businesses are following health and safety protocols? Share your experiences using the hashtag #OpenWithCare!