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Newfoundland and Labrador: COVID-19 relief measures for your business

We know that this is a difficult time, full of uncertainty. The information you need to run your business changes rapidly, and it can be hard to keep track and make sense of it all.  

In order to relieve some of the pressure on small businesses such as yours, we are gathering all the information you need about government services and supports in Newfoundland and Labrador and putting it in this one location. We will continue working with governments to ensure additional relief measures become available for your business as the situation evolves.

Please check back regularly. We will update this page as more information becomes available.

Update, March 24, 2021: Effective 12.01am Saturday, March 27, the entire province will move to Alert Level 2. 

Re-opening the Economy

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has released a plan to re-open the economy. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business pushed for the release of a plan, so you could make crucial decisions affecting your business.

 

Government Employer Resources
The provincial government has released sector-specific guidance for businesses as well as public health posters that may be appropriate for your business:

Cleaning and disinfecting for public settings

Washroom Door poster

Hand-washing poster

COVID-19 Best Way to Prevent poster

 

Government has a Business Response Team to support businesses as they navigate closures and public health guidance. Businesses who have questions can email [email protected] or call 1-833-771-0696.

 

Alert Levels

The government will implement its plan based on five alert levels. Newfoundland and Labrador will move to Alert Level 2 at 12.01am Saturday, March 27, 2021. 

Alert Level 5

All business except those that offer services essential to life, health and safety must close. Restaurants may not offer in-person dining. Retail stores providing non-essential items may offer online/telephone sales with delivery and/or curbside pick-up options. 

Alert Level 4

Recreational businesses (e.g. gyms, dance studios) remain closed. Restaurants may only offer delivery and/or take-out options. Retail stores can open at 50% capacity. Personal service establishments may open in accordance with guidelines. private healthcare clinics may open in accordance with guidelines. 

Alert Level 3

Retails stores can increase capacity providing physical distancing can be maintained. Restaurants can re-open at reduced occupancy. Recreational businesses (e.g. gyms, dance studios, yoga studios) may open in accordance with guidelines. Bars, lounges, cinemas and bingo halls remain closed.

Alert Level 2

Bars, lounges, cinemas, and bingo halls may open with reduced occupancy.

Alert Level 1

Businesses are open, but have to operate according to the public health measures still in effect.

 

Alert Level 2 - March 27, 2021

As of March 27, 2021, all of Newfoundland and Labrador will be in Alert Level 2. 

  • Gym and fitness facilities, yoga studios, tennis and squash facilities, swimming pools, arenas, and dance studios can open in accordance with guidelines.
  • Performance spaces can open with a maximum capacity of 50 people. Physical distancing must be maintained. 
  • Retail stores can open at reduced capacity. Physical distancing must be maintained.
  • Personal service establishments, including spas, esthetic services, hair salons, body piercing, tattooing and tanning salons, can open in accordance with guidelines.
  • Restaurants can open for in-person dining at 50% capacity providing physical distancing can be maintained between patrons seated at adjacent tables; buffets remain prohibited.
  • Bars and lounges can open at 50% capacity in accordance with guidelines.
  • Bingo halls and cinemas can open with a maximum capacity of 50 people per room. Physical distancing must be maintained.
  • Private healthcare clinics can open in accordance with guidelines

Remember to follow the public health guidance:

  • Stay informed and be prepared to follow public health advice
  • Practice good hygiene (wash your hands, avoid touching your face, cough and sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue)
  • Maintain a physical distance of at least 2 arm lengths
    • Use a non-medical or cloth mask when physical distancing cannot be maintained
  • Frequently clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces
  • Stay at home and away from others when you are sick, unless it is to get medical attention
  • Wear a non-medical or cloth mask when going out to access health care services or visiting indoor public spaces.
  • Work from home, where possible.
  • Continue to shop online and use curbside pickup, where possible.
  • Limit non-essential travel in and outside of the province.
  • Keep a log of when you go out in public and your interactions with others.
COVID-19 Work Safe Course

WorkplaceNL and SkillsPass have created a COVID-19 Work Safe online course for employers and employees. The course reviews:

  • Where and how COVID-19 can be spread at work
  • Best practices for reducing the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19
  • Physical distancing
  • Personal hygiene
  • The physical environment
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

 

Mandatory mask order

As of August 24, 2020, non-medical masks are mandatory in most public indoor spaces.

What are the places where masks will be mandatory?

  • public transit (buses, taxis, car services, public areas of ferries, etc.);
  • a retail business;
  • a service company;
  • a professional’s private office, where physical distancing cannot be maintained or physical barriers are not in place;
  • common areas of an office building (e.g. lobby, elevators, reception areas, conference rooms, washrooms, breakrooms);
  • common areas of apartment buildings/condominiums (e.g lobby, elevators, hallways)
  • a place where municipal or government services are offered;
  • a personal care business (e.g., hair salons, tattoo shops, tanning salons) (see exemptions for treatments below);
  • an animal daycare or grooming business;
  • a shopping mall or community market;
  • a place of worship;
  • a funeral home;
  • a theatre or performing arts venue;
  • a movie cinema;
  • an indoor entertainment business (see exemptions for physical activity below);
  • a rental room, community centre, or other venue used to host distanced gatherings;
  • a sports-related clubhouse;
  • a community museum or historic site;
  • a bingo hall;
  • a fitness centre, dance studio or yoga studio (see exemptions for physical activity below);
  • an arena (see exemptions for physical activity below);
  • a place where sports or recreational activities are practiced (see exemptions for physical activity below);
  • a restaurant or lounge;
  • a common area, including an elevator, of a tourist accommodation establishment (e.g. hotel, motel, bed and breakfast, rental cabins or cottages); and
  • a post-secondary educational institution (including colleges, universities and trades schools).

For more information, please see the government COVID website

Workers' Compensation Support

WorkplaceNL provided employers with a workers' compensation premium payment deferral until August 31, 2020 with no interest or penalties. Employers must settle, or arrange payment for outstanding balances by September 30, 2020.

Clearance letters will continue to be provided during the payment deferral period to allow contractors that meet certain reporting criteria to continue to bid on work and operate.

The interest-free payment plan is extended beyond 2020 to March 31, 2021 to allow employers more flexibility to pay.

Safety training certificates are extended to August 31, 2020 for confined space entry, fall protection, mine rescue, power line hazards, traffic control person, first aid and OHS committee members.

Trainers and training providers have new guidelines from WorkplaceNL for in-class instruction for certification safety training during COVID-19.

WorkplaceNL is offering reduced services at this time, but is prepared to help with any questions business owners may have.

Employers are able to revise their payroll estimates at any time by e-mailing the revised estimate to [email protected] so the assessment can be recalculated.

For more detailed information, please visit the Newfoundland and Labrador COVID-19 information page on the WorkplaceNL website. 

Webinar Information:

WorkplaceNL offers regular webinars on a variety of occupational health and safety topics. All webinars run from 10am to 11.30am (unless otherwise indicated on the registration page).

April 14 - Meeting your PRIME Requirements

April 15 - Respectful Workplace

April 21 - MSI: What's Your Risk?

April 22 - Contractor OHS Management

April 22 - Workplace Violence and Harassment Legislation Overview (pre-recorded)

April 28 - Workplace Serious Injury and Fatality Prevention

April 29 - Effective Workplace Inspections

Support for Liquor Licensees

On May 1, the provincial government and Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation announced initiatives to support liquor licensees during the pandemic. Specific supports include:

  • Temporary direct sale of alcohol with takeout/curbside pick-up and delivery orders
  • Brewers, wineries and distilleries can offer home delivery
  • Liquor licence fees are waived for the 2020-21 fiscal year (a refund will be provided for those fees already paid)
  • A 5 per cent wholesale pricing discount for licensees on wine, spirits and ready to drink beverages
  • An increase in product commission discounts for non-NLC distributed products to 55 per cent for those producing 1000 HL or less
  • Ferment-on premises operations can temporarily bottle customers' beverages

For further information, please refer to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador press release.

Other Supports for Business

Electricity

The government announced a one-time credit on electricity bills as early as July as a result of fuel savings at the Holyrood Thermal Generating Facility. The Public Utilities Board will determine the details of the credit, including the amount and timing, and it will apply to Island customers only.

The government is providing $2.5 million to waive interest on overdue accounts for residential and general service (commercial) customers in the province. It will be for a period of 15 months beginning on June 1, 2020.

More information on both initiatives available here
 

Red Tape Reduction

The government has launched a red tape reduction portal for businesses to suggest opportunities to ease regulatory pressures. The questionnaire will be open until March 31, 2021.

Commercial Vehicles

Businesses are eligible to have a portion of vehicle registration fees for vehicles registered to the business refunded, if they are not in use and there is 6 months or more remaining on the plates.

The plates should be returned to the nearest Motor Registration Division to be inactivated in their systems. The vehicles will not require an inspection if they are inactive. 

Filings and Remittances

Deferral of requirement for businesses to file yearly returns under Companies and Deeds Online (CADO) and remittance of the accompanying filing fee.

Other Supports

Compensation is available to private sector employees who had staff self-isolate due to COVID-19 travel restrictions; the self-employed are included. The compensation is related to federal funding, including the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. There are criteria applied to the provincial funding.

The Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation has announced a number of business supports:

  • Loan payments on business loans administered by the Innovation and Business Investment Corporation are deferred by six months.
  • The hiring eligibility for commercial Research and Development will be temporarily increased between April 1 and September 30.
  • Contribution levels have been temporarily increased (up to 75 per cent) for eligible project applications under Research and Development commercial and business development support.

 

Supports for Aboriginal Businesses

The Ulnooweg Development Group has been providing loans and business support to Aboriginal businesses in Atlantic Canada since 1986. The group has announced two measures to help support Aboriginal businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • payment deferrals and interest relief on loans between April 1 and June 30, 2020, and
  • Emergency Loan Program - up to $40,000 to help meet immediate operating cash flow needs.

Information on the support is available on the Ulnooweg site

When a co-worker tests positive for COVID-19 or is ordered to self-isolate

When there is a case of COVID-19, Public Health will complete contact tracing; this involves finding and informing people that an infected person has been in contact, so they can get counselling, testing, and treatment (if necessary).

Public Health will advise whether self-isolation or self-monitoring is needed. If Public Health determines a business may be at risk, they will notify the employer and provide advice on appropriate follow-up. 

Note: The Personal Health Information Act will prevent Public Health from releasing the patient's name to the employer. 

Mental Health Resources

With Canada firmly in the grip of COVID-19, it is anything but business as usual.  Many businesses are closing their doors and laying off staff, others have employees refusing to come to work. We are all stressed and everyone is worried about their health and financial well-being.  Amidst this turbulence, you as a business leader are scrambling to keep your business afloat while leading your staff through these uncertain times.

Here are links to resources you can access if you’re feeling overwhelmed:

Newfoundland and Labrador

Mental health and addictions
Provincial Mental Health Crisis Line: 1-888-737-4668 or (709) 737-4668 
Mental Health and Addictions Systems Navigator: 1-877-999-7589 or (709) 752-3916 
CHANNAL Peer Support Warm Line: 1-855-753-2560 or (709) 753-2560

Federal

What is CFIB doing?

CFIB’s legislative team in Newfoundland and Labrador are working to ensure the provincial government knows what your business needs. 

What we've achieved:

  • Creation of a web portal for red-tape reduction ideas.
  • Allowing alcohol to be sold with restaurant take-out and delivery orders, and craft breweries to deliver.

What we're asking for:

  • Ensure shutdowns are consistent and targeted to the sectors of greatest concern, as backed by transparent healthcare policy evidence;
  • Impose lockdowns fairly to ensure an uneven playing field is not created between large and small businesses. As an example, if retailers are required to close, ensure that big box retailers that sell groceries are limited to providing essential services only and not permitted to sell non-essential goods in-store during the lockdown period;
  • Review and update lockdown measures regularly to avoid any business being closed longer than necessary;
  • Ensure provincial small business support programs are available to all sectors, when their operations are affected by increased public health restrictions;
  • Ensure provincial small business support programs are available to businesses of all sizes;
  • Extend availability of provincial small business support programs for as long as public health measures restrict the ability of businesses to operate;
  • Extend current and future provincial small business support programs to businesses that began operating during the pandemic;
  • Ensure the application process for provincial small business support programs are simple;
  • Convert provincial small businesses support programs introduced during the pandemic from “deferrals/loans” to “holidays/grants”;
  • Actively promote consumer confidence, and spending within small businesses.

 

FAQ on COVID-19

We’re dedicated to supporting your business through this difficult time by compiling answers to the most common COVID-19 questions and keeping you up to date on the latest relief measures from the federal government. Visit our Small Business Help Center to learn more.