The owners of sports centers in Lanaudière have seen a precious subsidy slip through their fingers for a matter of hours.
“Why let us open one more day if it penalizes us thousands of dollars?” »Asks Michel Landry, owner of the Club sportif 7-77 in Joliette, who says he lost $ 200,000 due to the pandemic.
He does not qualify for a program that grants a non-repayable loan of 80% of fixed costs to businesses in the red zone for a reason he considers unfair.
The eligibility criteria for the grant state that a business must have been closed by order of Public Health 10 days in a given month.
However, Public Health decided to close its training center on October 23, a day too late for him to be eligible.
The restaurants and bars in the MRCs of Joliette and D’Autray were ordered to cease their activities the day before and do not have this problem.
For gyms, fitness centers, karate schools and yoga studios already shaken by the extended measures, it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
“Why the gyms, we live that, and that the restaurateurs, not? We closed that day because we were told to close that day! Exclaims Annie Destrempes, at the helm of the Energyform gym in Berthierville.
Because of the schools?
The Ministry of Health explained to the Newspaper that the entry into force of the red zone measures was postponed by 24 hours in schools and sports to allow schools to adapt.
The PQ member for Joliette, Véronique Hivon, sees this as nonsense.
” [Ces entrepreneurs] are in the same category as schools and community activities, yet they are first and foremost business owners, ”she says.
That they don’t have access to the grant because their SME was closed nine days instead of 10 days in October seems just as absurd to him.
“It is frustrating, because we have often heard Minister Marie-Eve Proulx in the chamber [déléguée au Développement économique régional] answer that the government wanted to be flexible on all kinds of issues related to aid programs, “says Mme Hivon.
The elected official intends to continue her efforts to have the government review these rules.
To correct the shot
The owner of Center soi yoga studio in Joliette, Mélanie Trudel, believes that there is still time to put things right and grant the non-repayable loan to businesses that were unable to obtain it due to their late closure.
“The government cannot think of everything all the time. But I think he should do a mea culpa and reassess the situation. This is how it works in a business. “