As Calgary businesses open their doors once again — some for the first time in more than a year — the excitement comes with a variety of challenges. Though through a bit of financial support, the City of Calgary is hoping to make the transition a little less daunting.
The City is dedicating $13 million through the Calgary Reopening Grant Program to help businesses hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic — specifically restaurants, pubs, bars, fitness centres, nightclubs and live music venues.
“Small businesses are the lifeblood and the heart of any community, small or large, both economically and in how they contribute to the quality of life,” says Calgary city manager David Duckworth.
Businesses in the outlined sectors are encouraged to submit applications for grants, with varying amounts allocated for each.
Food service businesses, such as restaurants and pubs, are eligible for $2,500, while fitness centres, including yoga and spin studios, can receive $7,500. Entertainment establishments operating as night clubs and live music venues are eligible for $15,000, receiving the most financial support, as many were unable to open at all through the pandemic.
Applications for grants are open from July 2, 2021 until August 10, 2021, or until all of the funds have been allocated.
A conscious decision was made when creating the application to leave out questions regarding what the money would be going toward. Instead, businesses will be able to put grants wherever they feel they’re needed most to support reopening, whether that’s a new coat of paint, a new sign, or filling their fridge.
The $13 million allotted for grants is just part of more than $200 million towards recovery throughout the city. The City has also allocated $2.9 million towards deferring property taxes for hotels and motels until Dec. 31, 2022, $17.6 million for waiving business licence-related fees for two years and $4.2 million towards Business Improvement Areas (BIAs), giving businesses within BIAs a one-time credit equal to their 2021 BIA tax bill.
Further commitments were visible on Calgary sidewalks, as the City allowed patios on public land while prioritizing related applications. With help from federal funding, the City of Calgary also provided hundreds of businesses and artists with free online stores through ShopHERE powered by Google and continues to encourage Calgarians to think local through the ongoing #SupportLocalYYC campaign.
As reopening rolls on, Duckworth says he hopes the Calgary Reopening Grant Program reinstates the City’s lasting commitment to the businesses that make Calgary what it is.
“For the City to be able to help with the small business sector, and particularly those that were hardest hit, I think is pretty meaningful,” says Duckworth. “We just hope to have a small part in making them successful as we come to the end of the pandemic.”
For more information or to apply for funding through the City of Calgary’s Business Reopening Grant, visit Calgary.ca/BusinessGrant.
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