A small business owner says he was shocked to learn he might not qualify for help from the Ontario government as part of this latest lockdown.
Michael Lalonde and his wife Kim recently relocated to Gore Bay and fell in love with the Manitoulin Island community. It quickly became their new retirement home.
It was Kim's dream to have a home-outfitter type shop.
After working for months, they opened the 'Raven's Roost' in September, hoping to fill a need in the community and thought they were in good shape after the province had reopened.
Manitoulin had recently turned green and there were few cases of COVID-19 on the island.
"People haven't been buying non-essentials from curb-side pickup, it was available but realistically we haven't seen it," said Lalonde.
And the couple is not the only one affected by the recent move to lockdown Ontario. Gore Bay is a community full of independent shops and boutiques that have either had to shut down or move to curb side as a result.
Lalonde, hoping to find a solution, looked to the Small Business Grant announced by the province and was shocked to see there was nothing in place for businesses that had not been in operation from April 2019 to April 2020.
He says they thrived those first few months they were open and have become a valuable addition to the town only to be forgotten by their government.
"It was like one line at the bottom of it - almost like an afterthought, oh if you weren't in business in April and September- oh we'll give you more details later but there was nothing, even looking back at it there's very little detail on how to apply for the program or anything," he explained.
According to the government website, more details were promised to be released in January.
Algoma Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha says for many of these shop owners, they shouldn't have to wait and wonder if they will be excluded.
"This is a couple that has stepped up and opened this new business but unfortunately has fallen through the cracks," said Mantha.
"Because of the lockdowns that have happened and the business not being open for more than a year, both levels of government have failed these individuals."
Mantha says creative entrepreneurs that have found a market and have found new ways to service their community are being penalized as a result.
"It's not fair, where you see big box stores that have been able to stay open and funding provided to those businesses, this is one of those businesses that has fallen through the cracks,"he said.
Ryan Mallough with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) says this is not just a Gore Bay Issue. This problem has become province-wide.
"Not only has government support for business not been great but in particular for retails to have to watch as the Walmarts and the Costcos of the world get to remain open to in store customers as they're shut down to end the year and get to start a new one has been a particular bitter pill to swallow for small business owners across Ontario," he said.
Mallough says help is needed now. Many of these business owners are going to be facing new expenses in January that they will have to pay and they shouldn't have to wait for help from the government.
"The longer this goes and the more time it takes to get funds out the door, the more likely it is we're going to see a lot of permanent closures," he said.
CTV News reached out to the Finance Minister's office this week and was assured that new businesses would not be excluded from its program and that they are working to get it up and running in January.
In a news release earlier this year, the government revealed eligible businesses will be able to apply for a one-time grant of at least $10,000.
They're still working to formulate some of the criteria
It's unclear if Thursday's resignation of the Finance Minister will be impacting any of their timelines.