Highlands businesses required to close or limit capacity due to COVID-19 rules can apply for financial assistance.

The Ontario Business Costs Rebate program opened for applications Jan. 18.

Restaurants, gyms and bars can receive 100 per cent rebates for property taxes and energy costs. Indoor businesses currently limited to 50 per cent capacity can get up to 50 per cent of energy costs and property taxes covered if eligible.

“We recognize that these necessary public health measures are impacting businesses, and as we have been since the beginning of the pandemic, we are there to support them,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, minister of finance, in a Jan. 18 press release.

Highlands restaurants have been forced to offer outdoor and takeout-only service at four different periods during the pandemic.


Shannon Brown, of Till Death BBQ in Fort Irwin, said his restaurant doesn’t qualify for the rebate. He likely won’t need it. He has developed a thriving takeout business serving signature smoked meat dishes. “We were so busy that first weekend I could barely even keep up,” he said.

His partner Joy said the success has also been a community effort. “In the few weeks we have been open we did build some really strong relationships with some of the people up there,” she said. “They are really pushing for friends and family to come and support us because we have built those relationships. We consider them friends and family now.”

For more information visit: app.grants. gov.on.ca/obcrp/#/

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