The District of Kitimat’s mayor says he supports recent steps announced by both the provincial and federal governments to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and provide financial relief to small-to-medium-sized businesses across the country.
On March 27 Justin Trudeau announced a number of measures aimed at helping businesses facing tough financial times stay afloat, namely a 75 per cent subsidy on wages and the promise of guaranteed interest-free loans. Subsidies from the program will be backdated to March 15, with more details on the program expected by Monday.
For District of Kitimat mayor Phil Germuth, the announcement came at a time where so many businesses within the community are facing uncertainty and financial stressors as a result of the virus.
“The impacts of COVID-19 are going to cause tremendous stressors on many of the small and medium sized businesses that our communities rely on for day-today services,” said Germuth. “I commend the federal government’s commitment to provide a subsidy of up to 75 per cent of employees salaries, to support these vital businesses in maintaining their employees through what may be the economic challenge of a generation.”
On the provincial front there were also a number of new measures announced on March 26 focused on reducing spread of the virus and stopping people from hoarding supplies or profiteering off of price gouging.
Violating orders made by public health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry can now result in fines of up to $25,000, while the reselling of supplies deemed essential (personal protective equipment, facial respirators, etc.) is banned province-wide with fines of up to $10,000. The Province has indicated jail time is also a possibility for those who ignore rules on large gatherings (currently nothing over 50 people is allowed), with bylaw officers being granted additional powers to help them enforce the above order.
Germuth said it was positive news to hear the additional policies from the Province. “There are operational elements of this announcement that will have to be worked through to see how they are effectively executed, but I feel this is a positive move by Dr. Henry,” he said.
As of this article’s publication there are just over 715,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with just over 33,600 deaths attributed to the virus. In Canada, there are over 6,250 confirmed cases of COVID-19.