Edmonton businesses brace for a financially tough winter as Canada extends aid

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Rahim Meghji, the owner of the Renaissance Edmonton Airport Hotel, said occupancy is at roughly 25 per cent. Normally during September, it would be nearly full. He said he is using the federal wage subsidy but also taking on more debt and using savings to keep afloat.

“Luckily for us, the bank gave us a six-month deferral payment, but that’s come to an end at the end of this month,” he said. “Starting in October, we’ll be back paying our principle and our basic mortgage payment. The banks aren’t deferring anymore. They can only go for six months at a time. We’ve been feeding from our own savings over the duration of this.”

For years, Meghji set aside roughly three per cent of the hotel’s revenue into savings for emergencies. He said that money will only be able to last him until the spring of next year.

While the wage subsidy does cover a majority of wages, Meghji said he still has to find money to cover the rest.

For his financial situation to turn around, he said the borders to the United States have to reopen.

“I don’t think a lot of people understand how much business we get from the United States,” Meghji said.

“Until the U.S. border opens up, I don’t think we’re going to see any bit of an economic recovery. I completely understand why they are closed right now … but at some point in time, we are going to have to open those borders in order to get some economic relief.”

jlabine@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/jefflabine

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