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Premier promises more plans are coming to help small business owners

The premier says new plans are coming and that the rent deferral program was launched because something needed to happen with April fast approaching
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stephen mcneil
Premier Stephen McNeil (file photo)

The start of the month is when the rent is due, so what does that mean for small business owners in Nova Scotia?

Premier Stephen McNeil didn’t introduce any new plans at yesterday’s COVID-19 briefing, but said he is asking banks and commercial landlords to be flexible and work with their tenants.

"If you take advantage of the rent deferral, it does not mean you will not qualify for anything else that comes along," explains McNeil.

The premier says new plans are coming and that the rent deferral program was launched because something needed to happen with April upon us. According to Patrick Sullivan with the Halifax Chamber of Commerce much more help is needed.

He tells NEWS 95.7 he’s encouraged by the various help on offer from different levels of government, but the fixes are not perfect.

"We would really hope that landlords are going to offer that compassionate ear, and help to either defer, or in some cases waive [rent]," says Sullivan. "I'd like to think that they're going to work with their tenant so they can keep that tenant, and keep that business in that location, because I don't see anybody lining up for real estate at this minute."

McNeil says to all businesses that are still functioning, and operating to continue paying their rent. He expects that anyone who can still pay their rent should still do so, but those who can't should work with their landlords.

"It will require all of our small business owners to look at how we can spread out that cost over a period of time," explains McNeil. "It will require the banks to be flexible, it will require the commercial landlords to be flexible."

Sullivan, meanwhile, says rent deferral is a suggestion, not a mandate.

"None of these are perfect in themselves, but I think we are starting to see a volume of measures," says Sullivan.

Sullivan hopes there when all this is over, customers will show up in big ways to help local business repay their debts.
 




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