TORONTO -- A new donation platform is allowing community members to donate to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Toronto Mayor John Tory praised the makers of at a news conference Monday, saying that it would help the city’s main street businesses survive through the crisis.

“One of my greatest fears is that Toronto comes through this crisis and sees its main street businesses decimated,” he told reporters.

“They are the backbone of our residential neighbourhoods, and an important component of the quality of life that we all enjoy.”

The website was launched in response to the mayor’s calls for local companies to come forward with ideas to help the city respond to the pandemic lockdown.

People can go onto the crowdfunding website and search for local businesses impacted by the non-essential closure rule, such as coffee shops, restaurants and hair salons.

Tory said the money collected will help businesses with things like rent and payroll. He advised businesses to sign up at the website for a free account.

The mayor said he is also continuing to ask the provincial and federal government for support during the pandemic to help local businesses.