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Job Creators Need Immediate Financial Relief to Withstand the Closure of All Non-Essential Businesses

27 March 2020

EDMONTON – The Alberta Government’s decision to close all non-essential businesses is necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Yet this important public health measure brings with it a new threat – the possibility that many local businesses will face very difficult decisions before COVID-19 can be contained. That’s why we urge all orders of governments to provide immediate financial relief to affected employers and employees.

“The health and safety of Albertans is our first priority,” said Janet Riopel, President & CEO of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce. “But as we work together to take these necessary precautions, we need governments to ensure financial assistance flows much more quickly. Businesses can’t wait any longer – they need help urgently.”

After losing most or all of their revenues, Alberta’s job creators cannot wait weeks for assistance. By then, some of them will already be out of business, which puts entire communities at risk. When businesses close, business owners and employees lose their livelihoods, and many are left unable to pay their bills and are at risk of defaulting. This could create a domino effect with devastating impacts on our economy.

While we’re pleased the Alberta Government is allowing businesses with curbside operations and delivery services to continue operating, governments must do more to ensure that businesses are able to withstand the economic impacts of COVID-19 without resorting to laying off more people.

“Allowing curbside pick-up and delivery will help those businesses stay afloat,” said Riopel.  “But for far too many, this is simply not an option. Governments must help these employers access the financial support they desperately need.”

We strongly encourage all governments to make programs as easy as possible for businesses and individuals to access, ensuring they are not adding unnecessary red tape. This includes essential workers who need documentation authorizing them to continue doing their jobs.

“Alberta businesses are determined and resilient, but they need our support now more than ever to weather this storm,” said Riopel.

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