WINDSOR, ONT. -- The Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce is calling for additional rent relief for border cities hit hard by the border closure.

Chamber president and CEO Rakesh Naidu released the call for additional support Wednesday. The WERCC has also contacted other border-city Chambers and Commerce as well as the Ontario and Canadian chamber representatives for collaboration and backing on the initiative.

“Businesses in the border region rely significantly on cross-border trade, movement of people, and related business opportunities,” Naidu said in a news release “For SMEs(small or medium-sized enterprises) based in the Windsor-Essex region, approximately 25 per cent of revenue is generated through American visitors/tourists. Typically, SMEs operate with a very small profit margin. Losing 25 per cent of business revenue is not sustainable in most cases. This is true for SMEs in most of the border communities. Due to the eight-month long border closure, several SMEs have suffered significant business reductions and losses.”

The WERCC says to date, the response for the call has been positive is spreading across the Country. 

“The recent government support for businesses via rent relief directly to the tenants is a step in the right direction,” Naidu said.  “In addition to the up to 65 per cent rent subsidy, the government announced an additional 25 per cent for businesses that have been hardest hit. Since the border closure has had a devastating effect on SMEs in the border region, we are urging the federal government to allow these Canadian businesses within a 100 km radius from the border crossing to claim the additional 25 cent rent subsidy. This will go a long way in supporting many of these SMEs that are on the brink of closing.”

So far, WERCC says the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce, Chatham-Kent Chamber of Commerce, Cornwall and Area Chamber of Commerce, Leamington District Chamber of Commerce, Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce & Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce have voiced support for the initiative.