2020-04-24 - COVID-19 Update

Good afternoon, 

I am sending out a supplemental update today in addition to our regular Tuesday and Thursday edition because of announcements at the federal and provincial level that we have been eager to learn more about and a major clarification regarding the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. 


Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) 

ATTENTION IF YOU HAVE BROUGHT EMPLOYEES BACK TO WORK: It has been clarified that since the government views both the CEWS and CERB as employee-targeted benefits, they cannot be used together.  This means that if an employee is receiving CERB, they will not also be an ‘eligible employee’ under the CEWS program. Employees are still able to earn $1000 per month and collect the CERB, but the wage subsidy will not apply to those earnings. 

The government has also released a new FAQ regarding CEWS that addresses many of the most common questions. 


Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program 

Prime Minister Trudeau announced that the federal government has reached an agreement in principle with all provinces and territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. This program can lower rent by 75 per cent for some small businesses affected by COVID-19. 

 Other details the government provided today are: 

  • The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May, and June. 
  • The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75 per cent for the three corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25 per cent of the rent. 
  • Impacted small business tenants are businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations. 

We will share other details as they become available. The full news release can be found here


New Brunswick’s Recovery Plan 

Today Premier Higgs announced the first phase of New Brunswick’s recovery plan and the loosening of some public health restrictions. The framework for the four-phase recovery process can be found on our website here

The plan to re-open businesses, educational facilities, the health-care system, recreational activities, and cultural events will be guided by four distinct public health alert levels: 

  • Red: This is the present phase aimed at flattening the curve and containing the virus as quickly as possible. 
  • Orange: The goal of this phase is to balance the reopening of social and economic settings while preventing a resurgence of transmission. 
  • Yellow: The goal of this phase is to further increase the reopening of social and economic settings after the ability to control transmission has been demonstrated. 
  • Green: This phase will likely come after a vaccine is available or more is learned about how to protect people from the virus. 

As a first step, the following will be allowed effective today: 

  • Two-household bubbles: Households may now choose to spend time with one other household, if both households agree. The selection made is not interchangeable. 
  • Golf courses and driving ranges: If all physical distancing and safety measures are in place, golf courses and driving ranges can now open. 
  • Recreational fishing and hunting: The delay on springs seasons has been lifted. 
  • Outdoor spaces: With physical distancing, people can now enjoy the outdoors including parks and beaches. 
  • Carpooling: Co-workers or neighbours can carpool if physical distancing measures are maintained by transporting the passenger in the backseat. 
  • Post-secondary education: Students requiring access to campus to fulfill their course requirements will be able to do so. 
  • Outdoor religious services: As an alternative to online worship, religious organizations can hold outdoor services if parishioners stay in their vehicles that are two metres apart. 

A guidance document of the public health measures during the recovery Phase One has been published by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer. It can be found on our website here

The latest version of New Brunswick’s State of Emergency mandatory order is available online

The full news release can be found here


If you haven’t yet checked out the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce’s Open, Operational and/or Offering help business directory, now would be a great time to do so. We have made it more user friendly and continue to ask all local businesses that are open, operational and/or offering help to fill out this brief form to help us populate the page.  And please continue to share, share, share so our community knows the services that are available!  The resource now contains more than 400 product and service listings by businesses and organizations and how you can access them – including nearly 20 offering free services to assist you during this time!! 


You are receiving this message because you are on our email list. If you know other individuals or organizations that could benefit from our information, ask them to join our mailing list here. Of course, all daily emails are also available on our website by clicking here we are continuing to share them on our social media vehicles (FacebookTwitterLinkedInInstagram). 

We also still want to hear how the COVID-19 Crisis is affecting your business and any specific ways that the government can support you at this time.  Contact either myself or our Policy & Research Manager, Morgan Peters to share information or ask questions. 

kristar@frederictonchamber.ca / (506) 461-5165 

advocacy@frederictonchamber.ca / (506) 470-5593 


Krista Ross, CEO, Fredericton Chamber of Commerce