April 17 COVID-19 Update


Today Justin Trudeau announced $962 million in funding to Regional Development Agencies to assist rural businesses who may not qualify for current programs and $500 million for workers in the arts, culture and sports sector. Doug Ford extended emergency childcare to more essential service workers and announced a deal to provide IPads and free wireless data to students from low-income families. Locally, the Parry Sound Muskoka Community Network is now accepting applications for its Business Technology Improvement Fund (BTIF) grants.
As we head into yet another weekend of isolation and distancing, we would like to remind you that there is help available if you are struggling or need someone to talk to. Call 211 or visit their website to access free support services. Locally, Canadian Mental Health Association Muskoka – Parry Sound maintains a resource page on their website for mental health and addictions support. Please remember to stay at home when possible and practice physical distancing when you have to venture outdoors.

Federal Government

This morning Justin Trudeau announced that the Federal Government will be investing $962 million in Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) to help rural small businesses that may not qualify for current programs receive aid. Our regional RDA is FedNor. More details on this funding should be released “soon”.
The Prime Minister also announced $500 million to support workers and athletes in the arts, culture and sports sector as well as $270 million for entrepreneurial and industrial research.
Also announced was funding to assist Canada’s energy sector. Trudeau said the government will give $1.7 billion to create immediate jobs in the sector by cleaning up orphan oil wells in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. Another $750 million will be used to establish an emission reduction fund which will also create and maintain jobs in the energy sector.

Provincial Government

Today Doug Ford announced that last night the Province signed an Emergency Order to provide emergency childcare services to essential workers. This includes providing childcare for those who work in group homes, homeless shelters, child welfare and women and youth shelters. Also included are power workers, water and waste water workers, drug and medical supply manufacturers, RCMP officers, Canada Post workers and Border Service officers.
The Premier also announced that the Province is working with Apple, Rogers and Provincial school boards to provide children in low-income families with IPads with free wireless data to allow them to continue to learn at home and access the Ontario Learn at Home program.
The Ontario government has amended the Insurance Act to allow auto insurance companies to provide temporary insurance premium rebates to drivers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Insurance companies will now be able to provide premium rebates for up to 12 months after the Provincial declared emergency is finished. Minister of Finance Rod Phillips said, “My message has been clear: they should provide relief that reflects the financial hardships their dedicated customers are facing due to the COVID-19 outbreak.”
The Ontario Energy Board has extended their prohibition against the disconnection of residential customers for failing to pay their bills through July 31, 2020. Low volume, small business electricity customers (those who pay time-of-use or tiered electricity prices) will now also be included in the ban.

Local News

Yesterday the Huntsville/Lake of Bays Chamber of Commerce cooperated to present MP Scott Aitchison’s online roundtable business forum. MPP Norm Miller, Huntsville Mayor Karin Terziano and Lake of Bays Mayor Terry Glover answered questions from the Huntsville and Lake of Bays region. The full recording of this Zoom Meeting can be found on the Chamber Facebook page now.
As part of a planned road closure in Town of Huntsville, the District of Muskoka has advised that King William Street will be closed to westbound traffic between Cann Street and Chaffey Street as of Wednesday, April 16, 2020. Details of this closure can be found on the District’s website, as well as a detour map.
The Township of Lake of Bays has created a Virtual Recreation Zone for activities and ideas for trying something new while physical distancing at home. With sections for health and wellness, culture, a kid zone and more, take advantage of this resource to keep busy this weekend. The Township has also posted a Public Notice Board with building and services updates.
The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) has released a 2020 Assessment Update. It reports that the Ontario government has postponed the 2020 assessment update. This means that your assessment for the 2021 property tax year will be the same as the 2020 tax year, unless there have been changes to your property. You can read the full assessment update online.
The Huntsville/Lake of Bays Chamber in Commerce is partnering with the Huntsville BIA and the Town of Huntsville on the Save Summer campaign. Created as a means to inform, mobilize and encourage our community, the campaign has created a Facebook page to engage and entertain. You can tune into Facebook for live events every night at 7:00 pm. Local businesses are encouraged to share tips, tricks or entertainment segments to be included in the campaign.

Business & Tourism Report

The Parry Sound Muskoka Community Network is now accepting applications for its Business Technology Improvement Fund (BTIF) grants. The grant provides funding of up to 50% of approved costs, to a maximum grant of $25,000,to allow eligible businesses to purchase technology hardware, highly specialized equipment, software and specialized services. All the details are available on the PMCN website. If you are considering creating or updating your digital presence, fill out an application AS SOON AS POSSIBLE for consideration.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses has updated their COVID-19 Business Resource page. They have provided a comprehensive and up-to-date list of all available programs the Federal government has introduced to help small businesses, including info on wage subsidies, CERB benefits and tax filing and payments.

Member Updates

Muskoka Seniors is pleased to advise that the Frozen Meals on Wheels service is now available. There will be a staff member in their office on Mondays and Tuesdays only to support this program. Call the office at 705-789-6676 to register or for more details.
Pet Valu is open Monday to Friday 10-5 and Saturday 9-5 for curbside pickup only. Order easily through www.petvalu-huntsville.com or by email at [email protected] or by phone at 705-789-0031.
Staples Huntsville is open for curbside pickup 7 days a week between 12pm and 5pm. Orders must be placed online at Staples.ca or staplescopyandprint.ca. Customers must choose the “Buy Online Pickup In Store” option as the store is unable to take payment in store.
Sugarbush Hill Maple Farm is open daily 10am-4pm for “Porch Pick Up” only. Please call ahead at 705-787-9787 to place a maple syrup or maple product order. Orders can be paid by e-tranfer or credit card and the order is left outside on the porch. Freshly made maple syrups are available in both “Amber” and “Dark”.
Tall Trees Muskoka Restaurant is offering the opportunity to pre-purchase a three course dinner for two for $32.95 plus tax, per person, with several menu options to choose from. Purchase between April 4 – May 31 and use from their re-open date to October 1 (dates may change depending upon re-open date). Call the office at 705-789-9769 with payment information and they will store your dinner coupon for you until you choose to join them. They would also like to remind everyone that gift certificates are also available at this time.
That Little Place by the Lights is taking orders for each week until Tuesday at noon to be delivered to Huntsville and surrounding area Thursdays and Fridays. They have added menu options on Facebook and Instagram.
Provide us with your business updates so we can feature them daily and get your information out to other members. Other important updates can be found on our COVID-19 Information page. Send us your information to this email address: [email protected] or call us directly at 705-789-4771.

Further Updates

Moving Forward

In this time we need to work together as much as possible to enable Huntsville and Lake of Bays to weather this situation and to position ourselves as the tourism leader once we are able to re-open our businesses and services to the public. If you have questions or need help finding the appropriate resources to assist you or your business, please reach out to us at the following address: [email protected]
From all of us at the Huntsville/Lake of Bays Chamber of Commerce team we urge you to stay safe and promise to do everything in our power to assist you in this difficult time.

Chamber of Commerce members can expect the best!

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