MONTREAL -- Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante and City Councillor Luc Rabouin, who holds the economic development portfolio, announced new loans for small and medium-sized businesses in the city struggling to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The loans of up to $50,000 will be available through the emergency assistance program thanks to a $40 million initative from Quebec, the city officials announced Wednesday.

The loans are complementary to other funding from the provincial or federal governments to assist those businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"This is really for smaller companies," said Rabouin.

There is a six-month interest moratorium on the loans, after which businesses will pay 3 per cent over 36 months.

The loans are available to any business closed due to the pandemic. Those wanting to apply can do so online.

When asked about bars and restaurants nervous about opening with a two-metre physical distance measure in place, she said the city will do whatever it can to help businesses bounce back once they are permitted to open.

"It is too soon to say how it will function but we will be supporting as much as we can all of these important businesses,” said Plante.

The mayor added that the delivery system for local businesses has been a success throughout the city. 

The mayor also announced that the City of Montreal will take over security at the 132 seniors' homes in the Office municipal d'habitation network. Plante said the guards will be able to take over all shifts by Friday. 

She said transforming Mont-Royal Avenue into a safe health corridor has been a success and welcomed in the neighbourhood. Plante said she is working with different boroughs on similar projects.