April 3 COVID-19 Update


As we head into another weekend, please to aware of the role we all play in protecting ourselves, our families and our community from the spread of COVID-19. Please stay home whenever possible and practice physical distancing if you have to go outside.
Today Provincial health experts released the numbers for Ontario’s current COVID-19 cases and deaths and projections of the potential future death toll in the Province. The Federal Government announced new funding to meet urgent food needs. See the business section below for more details on the Canada Emergency Business Account which can provide businesses with a $40,000 line of credit.
Please remember that we have launched a revised survey to help us better understand your needs and how we can help. Please take the time to fill out this survey on our website. We are also maintaining a COVID-19 Update Page on our website. Below are some important local links.

Provincial Government

Today Provincial health experts held a press conference to discuss COVID-19 modelling and projections. They reported that in Ontario the number of new cases and deaths are roughly following a similar trajectory to that of the United States. They reported 67 confirmed deaths through the Integrated Public Health Information System, 16% of which are people over the age of 80. The experts stressed that these figures can differ between provinces and between countries based upon different testing and reporting practices. Dr. Peter Donnelly, President of Public Health Ontario, says that the full course of COVID-19 may take 18 months to 2 years to run its course due to the likelihood of smaller secondary outbreaks after the current outbreak has slowed. He said that, had Ontario taken no precautionary measures, the death toll could have reached 100,000, but with the swift precautionary measures put in place province-wide, the number of Ontario deaths should likely be in the 3,000 to 15,000 range. The health officials stated that they have cleared Ontario’s backlog of COVID-19 testing which will allow the Province to be more strategic with future testing. He also stressed that the number one way to lower the rate of new cases and deaths is for everyone to follow medical advice to stay home and practice physical distancing.
Yesterday the Ontario Government announced new measures to assist those who are experiencing mental health struggles during the extraordinary measures enforced during the COVID-19 pandemic. $12 million was pledged to support online mental health resources to provide safe access to mental health support for all Ontarians. An additional $2.6 million will be used to hire psychologists and mental health professionals to provide mental health support to Ontario Provincial Police workers. Doug Ford said, “If you are struggling, please reach out.”

Federal Government

Today Justin Trudeau spoke of the increased needs of local food banks and shelters and the burden on overworked volunteers. He announced $100 million of funding to meet the urgent food needs of Canada’s most vulnerable citizens including Northern and Indigenous communities. The funding will support organizations such as food banks, the Salvation Army, Breakfast Club etc.
Trudeau also announced that people should begin receiving their increased GST credit and Child Care benefits in April by direct deposit and urged Canadians to contact their local financial institutions to set up direct deposits if they have not already done so.
Finally, the Prime Minister announced that the Federal Government has reached an agreement with Amazon Canada to use their established distribution network to ship medical supplies across the country.
This week the Federal Government published a news release and a more detailed background document regarding the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. While these documents do not contain the specific date that businesses will be able to apply, there are more details about who will qualify for the benefit. Businesses must be able to show a drop in gross revenues of at least 30% in March, April or May when compared to the same month in 2019. An eligible employer’s entitlement to the subsidy will be based entirely on the salary or wages actually paid to employees. When open, applications will be made through the Canada Revenue Agency’s My Business Account Portal. Click on the above links for full details.

Local News

Heading into another weekend of distancing and isolation, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit maintains a Support for You page on their web site devoted to providing support for those struggling to find services or to deal with mental health issues. The Health Unit also maintains a YouTube channel where video updates are posted daily.
After a special council meeting Thursday, the Township of Lake of Bays has waived the penalty on the April 27, 2020 interim tax installment for a period of 2 months ending June 30, 2020. The Township has also published their latest E-Commerce Newsletter. Visit their Facebook page and take part in their 21 Days and 21 Ways to Support Local Businesses campaign. Don’t miss the Day 1 and Day 2 posts.
The Muskoka Builders’ Association has started a COVID-19 fundraising campaign to support local food banks, shelters and hospital foundations. See their news release for details on how you can help.
There is now a COVID-19 Assessment Centre in Huntsville located in Building B, 100 Frank Miller Drive, behind the Howland Building. Please note that anyone experiencing symptoms must first see their doctor or nurse practitioner. If you do not have either then call TeleHealth Ontario at 1-866-767-0000 or access the Ministry of Health Self-Assessment Tool. If you have been advised by one of these resources to attend the Assessment Centre you must book an appointment by calling 1-888-383-7009. The COVID-19 Assessment Centre is NOT open for walk-in visits.

Business & Tourism Report

The Canada Emergency Business Account was announced March 27. This measure will provide qualifying businesses with access to a $40,000 line of credit at 0% interest until December 31, 2022 and requires no minimum monthly principal payments until the same date. $10,000 loan forgiveness is also available provided the outstanding balance is paid on or before December 31, 2022. Eligible businesses must have a 2019 payroll expense between $50,000 and $1 million and be an operating business as of March 1, 2020. The funds are to be used for operating costs that cannot be deferred such as payroll, rent, utilities, insurance etc. Businesses will apply through a Canadian financial institution. Applications are expected to open within one week.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has produced a news release with information about the Government’s wage subsidy program. They are also urging businesses to fill out Statistics Canada’s official COVID-19 survey.
The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) has published an updated news release today. The organization has opened a new survey and have published the results of their second industry survey. The summary report will be used to inform decisions made by government to help mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on tourism.
Regional Tourism Operator, RTO-12/Explorers’ Edge, would like to remind tourism stakeholders to complete their most recent survey. They also maintain a resource page for the tourism industry.

Member Updates

Beginning this week, Pet Valu will be closed on Sundays. They will remain open Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri 10 – 5:30, Wed 12 – 5:30 and Sat 9 – 5 
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.

Let Us Help

We have created a web page with resources and updates, including a survey for you to fill out about the status of your own business. Please take the time to complete our revised survey, to enable us to share your updates with fellow members and the community.

We also encourage you to provide us with insights about your current business status. Are you closed, open or do you have modified hours? Do you have changes in service or contact information you would like to share? Send us your updates to this email address: [email protected] or call us directly at 705-789-4771 and we will share your updates to the membership.

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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