Up to $100M for Quebec businesses forced to close because of red zone rules

The Quebec government is making $100 million in financial aid available for the estimated 12,000 businesses that will have to shut down at least partially this month because of new lockdown measures.

Restaurants and bars will be eligible for up to $15,000 in loan forgiveness

Chairs and bar stool are stored at a pizza restaurant in Montreal on Wednesday. Bars, restaurant and dining rooms in red zones in Quebec are closed until Oct. 28. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

The Quebec government is making $100 million in financial aid available to the estimated 12,000 businesses that are shutting down this month because of new lockdown measures.

Starting today, bars, restaurant dining rooms and reception halls in the province's so-called red zones — which include Montreal and Quebec City — must close for the next 28 days.

These were among a series of restrictions announced earlier this week as the province fights off a second wave of COVID-19 infections. On Thursday, 933 new cases were reported. 

"We want to avoid a more generalized lockdown," Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon said at a news conference in Quebec City.

Premier François Legault, left, and Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon announced aid for businesses closed due to the partial shutdown in October. (Sylvain Roy Roussel/Radio-Canada)

Fitzgibbon said the businesses who are forced to close, or scale back, will be eligible for loan reimbursements of up to $15,000 each.

Fitzgibbon said the money will help offset fixed costs, including municipal taxes, insurance and mortgage payments. The affected businesses can also apply to a federal wage subsidy program. 

The economy minister estimated there were somewhere between 20,000 and 25,000 businesses in the province currently experiencing financial difficulties.

He said that with help from both the provincial and federal governments, most of these businesses should be able to survive.

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