Support Services for Businesses

Updated 2:55 a.m. December 1, 2020

Occupancy limits

Beginning Dec. 3 at noon until Dec. 21 restaurants and bars are required to limit their occupancy to 50% of normal fire code limit. 

Help Track COVID Cases

The Banff Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC) is asking local businesses to please report any positive cases of COVID directly to the ECC to assist them in verifying the case counts being reported through the provincial reporting system. There may be an issue tied to local case reporting for any temporary residents who provide a health card that is not affiliated with a Banff address.  

In order to fully understand the extent of the case count in our area, the Banff ECC is asking for help from the local businesses. Please note, no individual names are being requested, just totals of positive cases that have been reported to you by your employees. 

Please also indicate how many of your employees are in quarantine due to close contact notification and if you have plans to change your operational status such as closures on certain days.”

Please email this information as you become aware of it to

Alberta Relaunch Strategy

Effective November 27, new restrictions will limit the amount of contact between people in the community, while still allowing businesses to offer services. These measures apply to all communities on the enhanced list.

Banff residents are encouraged to limit in-person visits to retail locations and use curbside pick up, delivery and online services.

Businesses that are closed for in-person service include:

  • Banquet halls, conference centres, trade shows, auditoria and concert venues, non-approved/licensed markets, community centres
  • Children’s play places or indoor playgrounds
  • All levels of sport (professional, semi-professional, junior, collegiate/universities and amateur). Exemptions may be considered.

Restaurants, bars, pubs and lounges will be open with restrictions if they follow all public health guidance in place including:

  • Maximum of 6 people from the same immediate household at a table and no movement between tables.
  • People who live alone can meet with up to 2 non-household contacts as long as they’re the same two throughout the duration of these restrictions
  • Only seated eating and drinking is permitted. No other services or entertainment will be allowed, including billiards, games or darts.
  • Liquor can be sold until 10 pm and food-serving establishments must close to in person-dining at 11 pm. Liquor sales apply to casinos, but casinos are not required to close at 11 pm.

Albertans are encouraged to use take out, delivery, drive-thru and curbside pick-up options.

Additional inspections will occur to verify that public health measures are being followed. Establishments that are non compliant may face orders and fines.

Most retail businesses may remain open with capacity limited to 25% of the occupancy set under the Alberta Fire Code.


  • Retail, including liquor and cannabis
  • Grocery stores
  • Pharmacies
  • Clothing stores
  • Computer and technology stores
  • Hardware
  • Automotive
  • Farmers markets approved by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
  • Unlicensed outdoor seasonal markets

Some entertainment and event services may remain open with capacity limited to 25% of the occupancy set under the Alberta Fire Code.

  • Movie theatres
  • Museums and galleries
  • Libraries
  • Casinos, offering slots only. Table games must be closed at this time.
  • Indoor entertainment centres including amusement parks, water parks, bingo halls and racing centres.
  • Indoor fitness, recreation, sports and physical activity centres, including dance and yoga studios, martial arts, gymnastics and private or public swimming pools.
    1. Facilities can be open for individual studio time, training or exercise only.
    2. There can be no group fitness, group classes, group training, team practices or games.
    3. Instructors can use facility to broadcast virtual fitness classes from, but there can be no group class.

All public health guidance and physical distancing requirements must be followed.

Albertans and businesses are encouraged to limit in-person visits and use curbside pick up, delivery and online services instead.

Businesses open by appointment only are not permitted to offer walk-in services. Appointments should be limited to one-on-one services.

  • Personal services such as hair salons and barbershops, esthetics, manicure, pedicure, body waxing and make-up, piercing and tattoo services,
  • Wellness services including acupuncture, massage and reflexology
  • Professional services such as lawyers, mediators, accountants and photographers
  • Private one-on-one lessons (no private group lessons permitted)
  • Hotels, motels, hunting and fishing lodges

These businesses must follow all current public health guidance for their sector and should consider virtual options where possible.

Home-based businesses should follow the restrictions for the type of service they provide.

See below for Help Guides for Businesses allowed to reopen with restrictions.

Municipal Support

Banff & Lake Louise Tourism Newsletters
All Banff businesses are encouraged to sign up for Banff & Lake Louise Tourism’s newsletters. Content includes many valuable resources, such as information on upcoming workshops and member engagement opportunities, government news and programs relevant to tourism, key destination messages and member success stories and celebrations. The member newsletter is currently distributed weekly, on Tuesday afternoon. High Points is a bi-weekly newsletter produced for members of Banff & Lake Louise Tourism. Street Talk is intended to keep front-line staff up-to-date on what’s happening around Banff and Lake Louise. Sign up at 

Customized ‘We’re Open’ signs available for Banff businesses
The Town of Banff has created sign templates that it will customize for any local organization to help clarify their available services, while emphasizing health and safety protocols are in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Town’s newly available “We’re Open” business signs let customers and clients know how to access services or goods from local establishments, such as by appointment, online shopping, delivery or curbside pick-up.

To acquire a sign, businesses can email with their logo and contact information and select the messaging they wish to use from the following options. The Town will then customize, print and distribute the signage for businesses to use in highly visible areas like front windows or doors.    

Town of Banff Emergency Coordination Centre

The Town’s Emergency Coordination Centre is asking businesses if they have supplies to share with essential services or if they need supplies to maintain critical operations. Information on your business status also assists with security enforcement. Please note that hand sanitizer for essential workers is in high demand.

If you operate a business, please provide info at

The Town’s Emergency Coordination Centre will coordinate the re-distribution of these resources, as required.

Criminal Record Checks

Businesses hiring new staff often require criminal records checks. Call the Banff RCMP at 403.763.6600 to receive a records check for staff.

Federal Government Support

To support businesses and their employees throughout COVID-19, the Government of Canada has implemented a financial aid package that aims to help avoid layoffs, ease access to credit, support financial stability and grant more time to pay income taxes. These new measures include:

Changes to Time periods for Temporary Layoffs

The Government of Canada has temporarily extended time periods given to employers to recall employees laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to these changes, employers could temporarily lay-off their employees for up to three months if no notice with a recall date was provided, or for a period of up to six months if they provided a notice with an expected recall date, before the lay-off became a termination. The amendments, which are set out in the Canada Labour Standards Regulations, temporarily extend these time periods by up to six months:

  • For employees laid off prior to March 31, 2020, the time period is extended by six months or to December 30, 2020, whichever occurs first.
  • For employees laid off between March 31, 2020, and September 30, 2020, the time period is extended until December 30, 2020, unless a later recall date was provided in a written notice at the time of the layoff.

These changes, which came into effect on June 22, 2020, do not apply to employees who are covered by a collective agreement that contains recall rights.

Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP)

Announced November 30, the federal government will work with financial institutions in the near term through HASCAP for sectors like tourism and hospitality, hotels, arts and entertainment. HASCAP would offer 100 per cent government-guaranteed financing for heavily impacted businesses and provide low-interest loans of up to $1 million over extended terms, up to ten years. Rates will be lower than those offered in Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) and beneath typical market rates for hard hit sectors. 

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)

NOTE: Additional RRRF funding may become available in the foreseeable future. The CFCWest RRRF program is currently oversubscribed but will be reach out to applicants as events warrant.

The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund provides funding to support businesses that have not been approved for supports through the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) or the Emergency Loan Program delivered through Aboriginal Financial Institutions.

Announced November 30, the government is proposing a top-up of up to $500 million, on a cash basis, to Regional Development Agencies and the Community Futures Network of Canada.

Small- and medium-sized businesses can apply for loans of up to $40,000 with terms that include:

  • No interest accrual or principal payments through December 31, 2022.
  • If 75% of the loan is repaid by December 31, 2022, the remainder of the loan is forgiven.
  • Blended principal and interest payments beginning January 1, 2023 and loans must be repaid by December 31, 2025
  • No prepayment penalties.

 Sole proprietors and non-profits are not eligible to apply for the RRRF. Examples of business that are eligible to apply to the RRRF:

  • Pre-revenue firms (e.g. a company that has not had any sales to date)
  • Businesses that do not have salaried employees (e.g. a company with a workforce of contract employees)
  • Businesses with no payroll that do pay their owners a salary (e.g. a company that pays its owners through dividends)

For more information and to apply for rural funding visit:

Wage Support Coming for Universities and Health Research Institutes
Canada has announced it will provide $450 million in temporary wage support to universities and health research institutes to assist medical researchers and labs whose work is unrelated to COVID-19 but has been impacted by the pandemic. Some 15,000 health researchers and lab technicians at hospitals and medical institutes across the country who have seen their work halted as it is not COVID-19 related and are facing funding pressures as the nation prioritizes the pandemic. Read more information on agency-specific measures to support researchers and graduate students.

Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) – Coming Soon

LEEFF is a program instituted by the Government of Canada to provide short-term liquidity assistance in the form of interest-bearing term loans to large Canadian employers who have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The intent of LEEFF is to provide bridge financing to large Canadian employers to help these enterprises to preserve their employment, operations and investment activities until they can access more traditional market financing. LEEFF will be open to large Canadian employers who have a significant impact on Canada’s economy, can generally demonstrate approximately $300 million or more in annual revenues and require a minimum loan size of $60 million. LEEFF is part of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan to support Canadian families and businesses facing hardship as a result of the global COVID-19 outbreak.

LEEFF will be open while the current economic situation persists. Learn more.

Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations

Temporary relief measures are in place to support Canada’s cultural, heritage and sports organizations. 

All Canadian Heritage funding programs can be viewed at the online list of funding programs.

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)

Canadian businesses, non-profit organizations, or charities who have seen a drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of their commercial rent or property expenses, starting on September 27, 2020, until June 2021. 

  • Claim period 1 for September 27 to October 24,2020 is now open for applications.
  • Claim period 2 for October 25 to November 21, 2020 will open for applications on November 30, 2020.
  • Claim period 3 for November 22 to December 19, 2020 will open for applications on December 23, 2020.

Note: a CERS application must be filed no later than 180 days after the end of a claim period.

This subsidy will provide payments directly to qualifying renters and property owners, without requiring the participation of landlords. If you are eligible for the base subsidy, you may also be eligible for lockdown support if your business location is significantly affected by a public health order for a week or more. Learn more.

Announced on November 30, the government is proposing to extend the current subsidy rates of the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy for an additional three periods. This means a base subsidy rate of up to 65 per cent will be available on eligible expenses until March 13, 2021. With the 25% Lockdown Support also being extended, businesses may be eligible for a subsidy of up to 90% of their eligible expenses.

Canadian Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)

The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they are sick or need to self-isolate due to COVID-19, or have an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of getting COVID-19. The CRSB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

If you are eligible for the CRSB, you can receive $500 ($450 after taxes withheld) for a 1-week period.

If your situation continues past 1 week, you will need to apply again. You may apply up to a total of 2 weeks between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021. Click here for more information and to apply online.

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

Qualifying businesses will receive up to 75% of employees’ wages up to a maximum benefit of $847 per week per employee. This subsidy is extended to June 2021 and open for employers of all sizes and across all sectors who have experienced a drop in revenue, calculated by comparing your eligible revenue during the crisis with your eligible revenue from a previous period. 

Announced November 30, the government is proposing to increase the maximum wage subsidy rate to 75% for the period beginning December 20, 2020 and to extend this rate until March 13, 2021.

In advance of applying, businesses are asked to ensure they are set up for direct deposit with the Canada Revenue Agency. The deadline to apply is January 31, 2021, or 180 days after the end of the claim period, whichever comes later. Click here for more information and to apply online.

Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers (TWS)

Small business employers are eligible for a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months. The subsidy will be equal to 10 per cent of remuneration paid from March 18 to June 19, 2020, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Businesses will be able to benefit immediately from this support by reducing their remittances of income tax withheld on their employees’ remuneration. Learn more.

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits to help cover operating costs during periods when revenues have been temporarily reduced. Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25% (up to $10,000).

As of October 26, 2020, the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) is available to businesses that have been operating out of a non-business banking account.

To be eligible, businesses must have been operating as a business as of March 1, 2020, must successfully open a business account at a Canadian financial institution that is participating in CEBA, and meet the other existing CEBA eligibility criteria. The deadline to apply for CEBA has been extended to March 31, 2021. 

The CEBA program will soon be expanded, allowing qualifying businesses to access an additional interest-free $20,000 loan, in situations where there is need. Half of this additional amount, up to $10,000, would be forgivable if the loan is repaid by December 31, 2022.

A New Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium Enterprises

To support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operations, Export Development Canada will guarantee new operating credit and cash flow term loans that financial institutions extend to SMEs, up to $6.25 million.

The program cap for this new loan program will be a total of $20 billion for export sector and domestic companies.

A New Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium Enterprises

Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts up to $6.25 million BDC’s portion of this program is up to $5 million maximum per loan. Eligible financial institutions will conduct the underwriting and manage the interface with their customers. The potential for lending for this program will be $20 billion.

For more information on these additional supports, visit: 

Work-Sharing Program

Effective March 15, 2020 to March 14, 2021, and not limited to one specific sector or industry, the Government of Canada has extended the Work-Sharing Program from 38 weeks to 76 weeks. The Work-Sharing Program is offered to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours because of developments beyond the control of their employers. Learn more.

Temporary Wage Subsidy for Small Business

Small business employers are eligible for a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months. The subsidy will be equal to 10 per cent of remuneration paid during that period, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Businesses will be able to benefit immediately from this support by reducing their remittances of income tax withheld on their employees’ remuneration. Learn more.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) provides $500 per week for a maximum of 18 weeks. This taxable benefit of $2,000 a month is available from March 15, 2020 until October 3, 2020) from the Government of Canada to eligible workers. Although the CERB has ended, the CRA is continuing to accept and process retroactive applications until December 2, 2020. Learn more.

Provincial Government Support 

The Government of Alberta has implemented various measures to protect employers and employees from the economic disruption of COVID-19 and position Alberta for recovery.

Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant

The Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant offers financial assistance to Alberta businesses, cooperatives, and non-profit organizations that were ordered to close or curtail operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program launched at the end of June with a budget of up to $200 million. Full program details, including eligibility criteria and how to apply, are outlined on the program web page. Applications will be open until March 31, 2021, unless otherwise communicated. 

Job creators that meet the program’s eligibility criteria can apply for 15% of their pre-COVID-19 monthly revenue, up to a maximum of $5,000 in funding, which can offset the costs they are facing as they relaunch their businesses. This includes the costs of implementing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as physical barriers, PPE and cleaning supplies, as well as rent, employee wages, replacing inventory and more.

Also, In light of additional temporary health measures announced November 12, the Government of Alberta is ensuring affected small and medium-sized businesses receive additional support through the opportunity to apply for a second payment from the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant.

This second payment will be available to businesses operating in areas on the provincial watch list where new health restrictions – like the temporary closure of indoor group fitness classes and team sports – have been implemented.

Protection for Commercial Tenants in Alberta

The Commercial Tenancies Protection Act and regulation protects eligible commercial tenants experiencing financial challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Commercial tenants who have lost more than 25% of their revenue due to COVID-19, have been forced to close due to public health orders, or who qualify for the federal Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program but whose landlords have chosen not to participate, are protected from being evicted for non-payment of rent between March 17, 2020 to August 31, 2020. Any late fees, penalties or rent increases imposed on an eligible commercial tenant by their landlords in this time must be reimbursed. This legislation does not apply to evictions or lease terminations that happened before the legislation was tabled on June 16, 2020. Learn more

Changes to Tourism Levy Collection for Hotels and Other Accommodation Providers

On May 19, 2020, the Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation announced that hotels and other lodging providers will be allowed to keep tourism levy amounts collected between March 1 and December 31, 2020.

As of November 16, 2020, Tax & Revenue Administration (TRA) may call or mail individuals about existing debt or outstanding returns. TRA will be reconnecting with taxpayers to re-evaluate their current situation, discuss the possibility of a payment arrangement and the filing of outstanding returns. There will be no legal actions taken at this time.

See TRA online services.

For more information regarding collecting and remitting the tourism levy, visit:

Assistance to small businesses:

Talk to a small business advisor at Business Link to get free advice, coaching and information on COVID-19 resources and supports.

Submit your question online or contact them directly:

Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (open Monday to Friday, closed weekends and statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-422-7722
Toll free: 1-800-272-9675 (Canada only)
TTY: 1-800-457-8466 (For the deaf or hard of hearing)

Temporary Changes to Employment Standards

Temporary workplace rules are now in place to help employers and employees manage rapidly changing conditions. Alberta has:

  • Created a job-protected leave for employees caring for children affected by school and daycare closures or ill or self-isolated family members due to COVID-19.
    • The 90-day employment requirement is waived.
    • The leave length is flexible and linked to guidance from the Chief Medical Officer.
    • A medical note is not required.
    • Regular personal and family responsibility leave rules continue to apply for all other circumstances.
  • Removed the 24-hour written notice requirement for shift changes.
  • Removed the requirement for 2 weeks notice for changes to work schedules for those under an averaging agreement.
  • Removed the employer requirement to provide group termination notice to employees and unions when 50 or more employees are being terminated.
    • Individual termination entitlements remain in effect.
    • Employers must still give group termination notices to the Minister of Labour and Immigration as soon as is practical.
  • Increased the maximum time for temporary layoffs from 60 days to 120 days.
    • This change is retroactive for temporary layoffs related to COVID-19 that occurred on or after March 17.
  • Streamlined approvals for modifying employment standards (variances and exemptions) related to COVID-19.

The changes above will be in place as long as government determines it is needed and the public health emergency order remains.

Job Protected Leave

Changes to the Employment Standards Code allow full and part-time employees to take 14 days of job-protected leave if they are:

  • required to self-isolate
  • caring for a child or dependent adult who is required to self-isolate

Eligible, employees:

  • are not required to have a medical note
  • do not need to have worked for an employer for 90 days

This leave:

  • covers the 14-day self-isolation period recommended by Alberta’s chief medical officer
  • may be extended if the advice of the chief medical officer changes does not apply to self-employed individuals or contractors

Workers Compensation Board (WCB) Premium Payment Deferral

Small, medium and large private sector employers can defer WCB premium payments until 2021. Premiums deferred due to the COVID-19 outbreak are payable beginning Jan. 1, 2021 and employers will have until March 1, 2021 (60 days) to pay. While private sector employers had their 2020 premiums deferred, public sector employers are required to pay their 2020 premiums by the end of this year, Dec 31, 2020

For more information, visit:

Banks and Credit Unions

Credit unions

Business members should contact their credit union directly to work out a plan for their personal situation.

ATB Financial

ATB Small business customers can:

  • apply for a payment deferral on loans and lines of credit for up to 6 months
  • access additional working capital

Other ATB business and agriculture customers can access support on a one-on-one basis. Further solutions are being considered at this time.

Business Continuity Plans

Employers should be implementing their business continuity plans to limit the impact of COVID-19 in their workplace. Measures should include:

  • protecting employees
  • limiting spread in workplaces
  • ensuring continuity of critical services if staff are ill or self-isolating
  • exploring alternate working arrangements, such as:
    • working from home or remotely
    • doing work that doesn’t require contact with other people

For the most up-to-date information and resources regarding provincial government support for businesses, please visit: 

Small Business Support through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada

Working Capital Loans 

If you are looking for extra funds to bridge cash flow gaps and support everyday operations during this time, a working capital loan can be the solution you need to keep your business operating.

To learn more and to apply, visit: 

Purchase Order Financing 

If you are looking to increase your cash flow to fulfill domestic or international orders, the BDC offers Purchase Order Financing with flexible terms.

To learn more and to apply, visit:

Additional Grants and Funding

Support for Banff & Lake Louise Tourism Members 

Banff & Lake Louise Tourism has implemented several measures to support its members and continues to press the government to do more for the industry in the face of COVID-19.

To stay up-to-date on how Banff & Lake Louise Tourism is advocating for its members, visit:

Resources for your organization

Posters for your residence, workplace, or event:

Video help sessions for business

The Town of Banff has teamed up with the Banff & Lake Louise Hospitality Association (BLLHA), Banff & Lake Louise Tourism (BLLT), and AHS to provide live video workshops to help businesses implement the highest standards of COVID-safety and customer service. The weekly sessions allow Q&A with health experts, planning leaders, and industry mentors on a range of topics and focus on different industry sectors. The sessions are recorded and available afterwards on the site.

Want to read the FAQ? Join the ‘Destination Standards, Health & Safety’ online workspace for Banff businesses, and receive notification when it’s updated with the latest session. Businesses seeking access are to request by email to

Help Guides for Businesses

The Government of Alberta is releasing guides to help various kinds of businesses reopen or continue operations in accordance with the provincial relaunch strategy. Please visit for all available guidance documents. Guidance documents available include, but are not limited to:

General Guidance

This guidance supports all workplaces in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Sector Guidance 

This guidance supports sectors that were allowed to operate during the pandemic or could reopen under Stage 1 of relaunch.

Stage 2 guidance

All workplaces are expected to develop and implement policies and procedures to address COVID-19 prior to re-opening or continuing operations. 

Do you have a question or an idea? Contact the Government of Alberta’s Biz Connect Team to get the information you need to reopen your business safely and successfully. Email your question.

PPE Supplies

As businesses prepare to reopen, it’s important to take measures to protect employees and customers:

  • practice good hygiene and thorough cleaning and disinfecting
  • use Health Canada approved hard-surface disinfectants and hand sanitizers for use against COVID-19 (search products by DIN number)
  • aid physical separation through barriers (Plexiglas), signage and floor markings, and traffic flow controls to limit the number of people in a space
  • use personal protective equipment (PPE)

Business owners can purchase PPE through the following procurement websites:

Training on the Use of PPE

Local emergency medical services (EMS) are providing businesses with staff training on the use of PPE and respiratory precautions to help prepare for reopening. To schedule an appointment for free training, contact Chris de Vries of the Banff Mineral Springs Hospital at 403-760-7237.

Alberta-based businesses that manufacture PPE can go to the Alberta Bits and Pieces website to find out how to help.

Posting the Documentation of Safety Measures  

To open your business to the public, Alberta Health asks businesses to complete and post your plan to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 among your staff and customers. 

This template from Alberta Health includes considerations to help guide you as you plan to open your business.  This should be completed using Alberta Health’s Workplace Guidance for Business Owners, sector-specific guidelines, and any additional requirements your business or industry association provides.

More information is available at