COVID-19 Resources for Businesses

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has formed a Business Response Team will help businesses navigate through the COVID-19 Alert Level System. This will include guiding businesses to various resources and guidelines available on how to operate in a way that protects workers and customers from the potential risk of COVID-19. The Business Response Team is here to help businesses in any way they can.

If you have inquiries, please send an email to: covid19info@gov.nl.ca or call 1-833-771-0696, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. You can also visit their website at https://www.gov.nl.ca/covid-19/business-supports/#BS7

Business Practices

The Chief Medical Officer of Health has ordered all retail stores to close immediately, unless those stores provide services essential to life, health or personal safety. Alternate forms of service delivery may be provided as long as the store is not open to the public. Retail stores may provide service through online or telephone orders, contactless delivery, and curbside pickup.

For businesses that continue to operate during this public health emergency, preventative measures and physical (social) distancing must be implemented to protect public health and limit the spread of COVID-19. The Town of Torbay is asking all local businesses to implement the following measures:

  • Limit number of customers in the facility at one time and enforce social distancing of at least 2 meters/6 feet. Avoid having customers enter facility when possible.
    • Businesses are encouraged to use markers on floors to indicate distancing requirements.
  • Restrict deliveries to contactless delivery such as curbside pickup;
  • Stagger scheduled pickups to one customer at any given time;
  • Avoid the exchange of cash and use Interac Flash/tap if possible;
  • Disinfect debit/credit pin-pads  after each use;
  • Limit the number of employees in the facility to only those necessary;
  • Employees are not to report to work if they are sick, are required to self-isolate, or are a close contact of a known case of COVID-19;
  • Employees must practice proper hand hygiene, cough, and sneeze etiquette;

Provincial guidelines for businesses, including emergency orders and FAQs can be found at https://www.gov.nl.ca/covid-19.

If you are an owner/operator of a hotel or bed & breakfast, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador have issued specific guidelines to follow. Click here for Guidance for Hotel and Bed and Breakfast Accommodations.


Due to the necessary measures in place to help slow the spread of COVID-19, many businesses are facing significant challenges. The Town of Torbay, along with the provincial and federal government have recognized the hardship this outbreak has placed on businesses and are offering supports to help see them through this period.

If you are a business owner in Town of Torbay and have any questions related to these measures and exemptions, please contact jschwarz@torbay.ca or sparsons@torbay.ca.

Payment Deferrals

  • CRA Tax Deferral – the Canada Revenue Agency is deferring your tax payments until August 31, 2020 to help with your cash flow. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. Visit the CRA Website for more details.
  • Municipal Tax Deferral – the Town of Torbay has deferred all tax payments, including business and commercials taxes, until June 30, 2020 with no interest charged during this period. For more information visit torbay.ca/taxdeferral.
  • Workplace NL Payment Deferral – WorkplaceNL is deferring the collection of assessment payments from employers until June 30, 2020, and waiving interest charges or penalties. For more information visit the Workplace NL website.
  • Deferral on Loan Payments – ACOA is applying a deferral of three months on all payments (and related interest charges) as of April 1, 2020, and will work with clients in the coming months to amend repayment schedules. Visit the ACOA website for more information. TCII has also announced an automatic deferral of loan payments to all clients with business loans under the Innovation and Business Investment Corporation (IBIC) for a period of three months. For more information, visit the TCII website.
  • Deferral of Sales Tax Remittance and Custom Duty Payments – Businesses, including self-employed individuals, are allowed to defer until June 30, 2020 payments of the Goods and Services Tax / Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST), as well as customs duties owing on their imports.The deferral will apply to GST/HST remittances for the February, March and April 2020 reporting periods for monthly filers; the January 1, 2020 through March 31, 2020 reporting period for quarterly filers; and for annual filers, the amounts collected and owing for their previous fiscal year and instalments of GST/HST in respect of the filer’s current fiscal year. For GST and customs duty payments for imported goods, deferral will include amounts owing for March, April and May.

Business Supports

Avoid Layoffs

  • Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy – The Government of Canada have proposed the new Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy that would cover 75% of salaries for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. Employers of all sizes and across all sectors of the economy would be eligible with the exception of public sector entities. This program is designed to help employers hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic to keep and retain workers. Organizations that do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy may qualify for the wage subsidy of 10 per cent of remuneration paid from March 18 to before June 20, 2020.
  • Wage Subsidy – immediate relief for small businesses with a 10% wage subsidy for the next 90 days, up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Businesses will be able to benefit immediately from this support by reducing their remittances of income tax withheld on their employees’ remuneration. Visit the Department of Finance website for more information.
  • Work Sharing – Work Sharing provides income support to employees eligible for EI benefits who work a temporarily reduced work week while their employer recovers. The maximum duration of Work-Sharing agreements had been increased from 38 weeks to 76 weeks. For more information visit the Government of Canada Work Sharing website.

Access to Credit

  • Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) will provide $65 billion of additional support through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC).
    • Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
      • EDC is working with financial institutions to issue new operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to SMEs.
    • Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
      • BDC is working with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements.
      • Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts of up to $6.25 million through the program.
  • Canada Emergency Business Account will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced. To qualify, these organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019.

These programs will roll out in the three weeks after March 27, and interested businesses should work with their current financial institutions.

Additional Supports

  • If you are a tourism operator or small- or medium- sized business or organization and have received RDA funding and COVID-19 is affecting your operations, you are encouraged to contact the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) to  review your situation and provide guidance.
    • You may be eligible to receive additional funding and/or flexible arrangements.
    • Further support will be determined on a case-by-case basis as the situation evolves.
  • If you are a tourism operator or small- or medium- sized business or organization impacted by the sudden shifts in the economy and need pressing assistance, ACOA could assist you with:
    • Access to federal funding to help you stay in business.
    • Advice and pathfinding services to other federal programs and services available.

Support For Employees & Self-Employed

  • Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) – If you stopped working because of COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) may provide you with temporary income support. The CERB provides $500 a week for up to 16 weeks. The benefit will be available to workers:
    • Residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;
    • Who have stopped working because of COVID-19 and have not voluntarily quit their job;
    • Who had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and
    • Who are or expect to be without employment or self-employment income for at least 14 consecutive days in the initial four-week period. For subsequent benefit periods, they expect to have no employment income.

For information on how and when to apply visit the Government of Canada website.

Other Resources

  • Government looking for Suppliers to fight COVID-19. Visit Buyandsell.gc.ca for a list of products and services needed.
  • Federal Economic Response Plan
  • Resources for Canadian Businesses: COVID-19
  • CFIB Helpline: Given the urgency surrounding this issue, CFIB are also opening our Helpline to all business owners including non-CFIB members for advice on managing COVID-19 situations in the workplace. To talk to an expert, please call us at 1-888-234-2232. More Info
  • CBDCs in Atlantic Canada are dedicating in excess of $5 million in direct financial relief to the small business clients we serve to support the fight against COVID-19.
  • National Banks have united to offer payment deferrals and flexible options for businesses and individuals affected by COVID-19. Contact your local bank to find out if they have options to help you at this time.
  • Business continuity plan and templates for entrepreneurs – Having a business continuity plan helps ensure that your business has the resources and information needed to deal with an emergency. Exploring these templates (courtesy of BDC) can help you understand where your pain points may be in the weeks and months ahead. More Info
  • Canadian Chamber of Commerce Pandemic Guide
  • WHO: Getting your Organization ready for COVID-19
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