Coronavirus and Tourism in Manitoba
April 29, 2020
Dear Industry Partners,
With the arrival of the warm weather, our thoughts turn to what would normally be a busy summer tourism season, and with it, the need for summer students. As some tourism businesses may soon begin to re-open - in accordance with all public health orders - the Manitoba government has launched a program that will help businesses find students to help, while at the same time, supporting high school and post-secondary students.
Under the Summer Student Recovery Plan, up to $120 million is available for employers to access a $7 per hour wage subsidy, up to a maximum of $5,000 per student. The program is open to Manitoba students aged 15 to 29, for employment May 1 to September 4. Employers can be subsidized to hire up to five students.
Employers must place students in jobs that can be accommodated under current public health orders and be able to adapt to recommendations provided by public health officials over the summer.
For the first two weeks of the program, priority will be given to employers who do not qualify for any federal government assistance programs. For more information, visit www.manitoba.ca/covid19.
It was also encouraging that this week the provincial government announced it is investing up to $500,000 for work on the completion of six trails in Manitoba provincial parks. With the assistance of Trails Manitoba, the funding will help link the 1,755-kilometre Great Trail in Manitoba and includes:
- South Whiteshell Trail;
- South Whiteshell Trail – Penniac Bay;
- Cabin Lake Creek Pedestrian Bridge;
- Centennial Trail – Hansons Creek Bridge Phase 2;
- North Whiteshell emergency repair washout; and
- Spruce Woods Provincial Park.
We know that our parks and trails are important tourism assets in our province, and this new funding to maintain and repair them is welcomed.
At a time when many Manitoba tourism business can’t afford to pay their landlords when their operations are shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there may now be relief in the form of a new federal program announced last week.
The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of three monthly rent payments payable by eligible small business tenants experiencing financial hardship during April, May and June.
The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75 per cent for the three corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a pledge not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25 per cent of the rent.
Affected small business tenants are those paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations, or have experienced at least a 70-per-cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. It is expected that CERRA will be operation by mid-May, and further details will be announce soon.
While we await more information on initial re-opening plans for Manitoba, we’re encouraged by the assistance programs announced so far, and by the steps being taken at all levels of government to proceed cautiously and safely, with the best interests of all Manitobans at heart.
Stay safe, stay well, stay home,
Travel Manitoba President & CEO