Sherbrooke launches COVID response measures for businesses

Record Staff

The City of Sherbrooke launched several COVID-19 response measures as a part of Monday night’s city council meeting, announcing an intention to invest close to $1.1 million to offset the impacts on local businesses and organizations while also proposing non-monetary measures with the same goal.
“The recovery plan is intended to be a structuring and evolving tool given the rapidly changing situation,” said Sherbrooke Mayor Steve Lussier. “The plan includes short, medium and long-term measures to support entrepreneurs in this difficult period, as well as measures to revive the Sherbrooke economy through promising projects. It is essential to quickly help our businesses to relaunch their activities.”
The new plan, which will be carried out in partnership with local economic development organizations, has been built around the results of a survey conducted in the month of June. According to the results of that research, a total of ten per cent of local companies had not yet restarted their activities and 34 per cent of companies had resumed them in a reduced way. More than half of the companies polled said they feared for their survival if the current situation continued beyond a year.
The recovery plan is to be adjusted along the way, notably from 2021, in order to take into account the evolution of the situation.
The support measures and their associated funding break down into several categories:
Program and fund management: $ 605,000
A buy local program: $ 115,000
Innovation: $ 100,000
Coaching and training: $ 47,000
Events and attractions: $ 90,000
Ecological transition: $ 83,000
“Although businesses have been strongly affected by the crisis, the measures in the recovery plan are aimed at companies in all sectors of activity. Companies will benefit from several funds and assistance programs, support to take their work online and optimize their business processes, training and coaching, measures to encourage Sherbrookers to invest in our businesses in consuming locally, et cetera,” said Annie Godbout, member of the city’s economic development committee. “We are optimistic that this plan corresponds to the needs and expectations of the entrepreneurs who were surveyed in March and June last on the measures that would be relevant in the current context.”
It should be noted that these new investments, which will be deployed for the most part by Sherbrooke’s economic development organizations, enhance the financial efforts already made by the City of Sherbrooke to support local businesses during the acute period of the crisis, between last March and June. Indeed, a financial effort of some $ 2.8 million has already been made through various measures such as the deferral of taxes and other regulatory reliefs and the creation of an emergency fund through transfers from the government of Quebec, in particular.
Sherbrooke’s pandemic response also has regulatory components, with several rules being relaxed in light of other restrictions local businesses face at the moment.
Effective immediately, the terraces and patios of convenience stores, restaurants or microbreweries are allowed to be enlarged to an area greater than 40% of the floor area occupied by the establishment. The installation of two non-illuminated mobile signs to advertise the menu will also be permitted.
Service to cars, bicycles and pedestrians in the parking lots of these same businesses will be authorized.
The installation of an advertising-free marquee with a maximum area of two square metres and the installation of two 15 square metre steel containers of goods without advertising or registration will be authorized for the purposes of collecting cans and bottles. On site, the criteria to be respected for the return of the containers must be indicated on two temporary mobile signs.
Shelters without advertising may be installed to protect customers from the weather and the sun during the waiting period before entering a business. Two non-illuminated mobile signs may be installed there to help guide customers.
For each of these situations, parking spaces can also be removed if necessary, but these measures do not supercede the requirement to maintain a fire lane or other similar building code requirements. It should be noted that the relaxation of these rules will end on October 15, 2020.
Merchants wishing to have more information on the subject can call 819 823-8000 extension 5905 or write to

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