For 89 Ponoka businesses, things just got a little bit easier.
The Town of Ponoka mailed out hardship grant payments last week to applicants of the grant who had suffered significant financial losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce would like to commend the town for all it is doing to help our local businesses through this time,” said chamber president Barry Grant.
“We have seen several programs and initiatives provided by the town over the last year to help reduce the financial stress being experienced because of COVID. The town is doing a great job in supporting our local businesses where they can.”
The hardship grant offered financial assistance to businesses hit hard by the pandemic, either through full or partial closure, reduced businesses hours, or decreased revenue.
“Local businesses are the economic engine that help drive our local economy by generating jobs and economic growth in our community,” said Mayor Rick Bonnett in the town’s news release announcing the payments.
“The hardship grant was created to help our local businesses that are struggling most during the pandemic by reducing some of the financial stress they are experiencing. Council’s hope is that all of these businesses will survive the financial impacts of this pandemic.”
A total of $50,000 was allocated to the hardship grant through the Municipal Operating Support Transfer (MOST) grant. The MOST grant is being provided to municipalities by the provincial and federal governments to help offset lost revenue and fiscal challenges due to COVID-19.
The $50,000 was shared among the eligible in-town businesses that applied for the grant.
Grant payments were allocated by business type based on the percentage of 2020 business licences in each of five Town of Ponoka business licence categories, and the number of businesses that applied and qualified for grant funding in each category.
Eligible businesses were required to physically reside and operate in the Town of Ponoka and hold a 2020 and 2021 Town of Ponoka business licence, or had to be exempt from requiring a business licence from the town.