NewsSaskatchewan announces tourism, small business relief program extension SHARE ON: Dan Soul, staff Thursday, Feb. 25th, 2021 (file)The Saskatchewan Government has extended two financial benefits supporting small businesses, especially those in tourism.It was announced on February 25th that both the Saskatchewan Tourism Sector Support Program and the Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment were both re-upped. Both benefits were originally brought in to support businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.Tourism benefit to cover businesses facing uncertain summerThis benefit covers tourism businesses in things like accommodations, attraction and tours, events, and major event facilities.To be eligible, they must have at least 30 per cent in 2020 when compared to 2019. It is expected by the Government the extension will provide approximately $15 million in support. During it’s first run last year, it provided $14.5 million to 761 businesses between August and October.Trade and Export Development Minister Jeremy Harrison says while hope is on the “near horizon” due to the vaccine rollout, tourism is still uncertain, leading them to want to support a vital industry for the province. Pre-pandemic, tourism brought in about $2 Billion per year to Saskatchewan.The program will begin accepting applications on March 8 and the deadline to apply is April 30.Small business to get support benefit through MarchSmall businesses who have been or can receive the Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment will now get it covering this month and next. The funding is for businesses that have had to significantly curtail operations or close entirely and provides $5,000 a month, useable for any expense. This extension will cover both February and March of this year.CFIB Vice-President for Western Canada and Agri-business Marilyn Braun-Pollon says this funding will provide much-needed support as businesses continue to manoeuvre around COVID restrictions, and as getting back to normal could remain months away for many.Information on both of these business supports can be found on the STSSP and SSBEP’s respective websites.Businesses that have been found to be non-compliment with COVID-19 public health orders will not be eligible to receive these programs, the Government notes.