April 24 COVID-19 Update


Today Justin Trudeau announced further details about the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program for small businesses and talked about future phased re-opening of the nation’s economy. Doug Ford formerly announced Ontario’s parnership in the rent assistance program.
Heading into the weekend the Prime Minister reminded Canadians that even in the face of optimism about our current situation, we must all remain vigilant in adhering to emergency orders and the advice of health officials. He urged everyone to stay at home when possible and keep up physical distancing when we need to leave the house.

Federal Government

Today Justin Trudeau announced that the Federal government has reached an agrement in principle with all provinces and territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program for small buisinesses. This program will lower rent by 75% for the months of April, May and June for small businesses that have been significantly affected by COVID-19. The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50% of monthly rent payments for the 3 months. These loans will be forgiven if the property owner agrees to reduce the small business tenant’s rent by 75%. In this scenario, the government pays 50% of the rent, the small business pays 25% and the property owners pay 25%. More details are expected next week.
Also today, the Primie Minister spoke about the gradual re-opening of the nation and its economy. Trudeau said we are a very large nation with differing levels of impact from COVID-19. He said that any plan will need to be adjusted for the realities each province and territory is facing. He said that re-opening will have to happen gradually to ensure that the hard work that has already been done will not be wasted. Trudeau also said that there will have to be significant coordination at the national level to install principles and safeguards to protect all Canadians.
Yesterday the Prime Minister announced a $1.1 billion strategy for medical research to fight COVID-19. The plan will spend $115 million for research into vaccines and treatments developed in hospitals and universities, $662 million for clinical trials in Canada and $350 million to expand national testing and modelling for COVID-19.

Provincial Government

Today Doug Ford confirmed that the Province will partner with the Federal government to offer the Ontario-Canada Commercial Rent Assistance Progam. Ontario is committing $241 million to provide forgivable loans to commercial property owners to reduce rent for small businesses by 75% for April, May and June. You can read the Province’s news release online.
Yesterday the Provincial government announced a new COVID-19 Action Plan for Vulnerable People to better protect vulnerable populations during the outbreak. The plan will focus on three specific areas: 1) Enhanced screening and reduced exposure to prevent spread, 2) Managing outbreaks and limiting spread and 3) Sustaining staff and managing staff shortages. The plan also supports mobilizing action to assist high-risk locations by providing staffing and additional training and support. You can read the full news release online.

Local News

On May 2 a Stay At Home Gala will be hosted online for Muskoka. This virtual gala will be part of a national program with participants being entertained by both national and local guest entertainers and musicians. The purchase and delivery of a four course dinner option is available as part of the event. The gala will raise money for the Huntsville Hospital Foundation, South Muskoka Hospital Foundation, Muskoka Women’s Shelters and Services and Muskoka Food Security Programs. You can find out more and sign up for the gala on their official gala webpage.
The Township of Lake of Bays has issued its Economic Delevelopment E-Newsletter which includes the launch of an interactive Lake of Bays open for business map. You can read the newsletter online.
The Huntsville/Lake of Bays Chamber of 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 6:00 pm. Local businesses are encouraged to share tips, tricks or entertainment segments to be included in the campaign.

Business & Tourism Report

Ahead of Monday’s opening for wage subsidy applications, the Canadian Business Resilience Network has created a step-by-step guide about the program which includes eligibility criteria, wage subsidy calculation and steps to apply. You can view this resource online.
The Ontario Digital Main Street Initiative is offering a series of free webinars for small business owners to learn more about social media, digital marketing and business e-commerce. Webinars start next week. You can find out more and register online on the series webpage.
RTO-12/Explorers’ Edge is asking all tourism stakeholders to fill out their April Business Barometer survey. The organization recognizes that there has been a barrage of surveys, but says this one is vital for informing government funding proposals and to determine how many tourism businesses do not currently qualify for assistance programs.

Member Updates

Henrietta’s Pine Bakery has opened their Huntsville location for take-out orders with a limited menu Wednesday to Friday from 11am-2pm.
Whimsical Bakery is open for online orders Monday through Friday, with zero contact pickup or delivery Monday, Thursday and Friday from 10am – 12pm.
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 Resources

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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