June 1 COVID-19 Update


Today Justin Trudeau announced the early release of federal gas tax payments for infrastructure funding and Doug Ford announced a new flat rate for electricity bills through October 31.
Even though businesses are beginning to reopen, we ask that people use common sense and continue to follow public health guidelines. It is still best to stay at home except for short trips outdoors, remember to always practice physical distancing and try to wear a face covering when distancing is difficult.
You can still access the latest up-to-date information on our COVID-19 Update Page on our website.

Federal Government

Today Justin Trudeau announced that the Federal gas tax payments that provide funding for community infrastructure projects will be accelerated this year. This means that the $2.2 billion in annual federal infrastructure funding will be delivered in one payment in June instead of being spread out throughout the year. The Prime Minister’s official news release states that early delivery of fall funding will help communities move forward quickly with infrastructure programs to help create jobs and restart the economy.
Yesterday the Federal government announced $7.6 million to support tourism projects in Northern Ontario. Delivered through FedNor, 3 projects in Parry Sound-Muskoka received funding, as well as Muskoka Tourism. You can read the Government’s Background Document to see the full list of FedNor recipients.

Provincial Government

Today Doug Ford announced that the Ontario government has created a new electricity relief rate which will be in place starting today until October 31, 2020. To extend electricity rate support to Ontarians, the Government has introduced a fixed electricity price, known as the COVID-19 Recovery Rate, of 12.8 cents per kWh, which will be automatically applied to all time-of-use customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Province will also spend $9 million to provide a one-time payment to low-income families to help offset electricity costs as well as $8 million to help small businesses struggling to meet their electricity bill payments. You can read the full news release online.
Beginning today, the Ontario government is permitting backcountry camping in Ontario Parks, including access points, paddle and portage routes and hiking trails. Following current Provincial restrictions, no more than 5 people will be allowed to occupy a backcountry campsite unless they live in the same household. Ontario Parks will also be expanding day-use activities to include picnicking and off-leash pet areas. Ontario is also reopening recreational camping on Crown land. Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, says: “We’re counting on people to be responsible when enjoying our parks and continue to follow all of the public health measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19.” You can read the Government’s full news release online.

Local News

The District of Muskoka has posted an update on the King William Street Construction project. You can view the news release online, which includes maps of the areas that will be affected this week.
The Town of Huntsville has posted resources to help businesses with reopening. The resources can be found online and include Guidelines for Opening Safely, a Fire Safety Checklist for Reopening Buildings and a link to Safety Guidelines for business sectors. Follow the links to read these important resources.
Huntsville Doppler has an Open for Business page that is updated daily. You can find a listing of businesses that are currently open listed by category. You can read the entire list on their website.

Business & Tourism Report

In conjunction with the Huntsville/Lake of Bays Chamber of Commerce and the Huntsville BIA, the Town of Huntsville will be accessing and providing PPE to assist the business community in keeping our residents safe. The Town and its community partners are reaching out to businesses and memberships to determine any immediate need for PPE supplies as businesses enter the COVID-19 recovery phase. If you are a Huntsville business in need of PPE supplies, please fill out the attached order form and return to the Huntsville/Lake of Bays Chamber of Commerce via email no later than 4pm on Thursday June 4, 2020.
The Canadian Business Resilience Network has partnered with Facebook to provide a free webinar Wednesday June 3 at 1:00pm. The webinar will help business owners learn to promote their business with a Facebook business page and to learn about free Facebook tools for online business use. You can register for this webinar online.
The World Tourism Organization has approved and released a set of guidelines for the tourism industry. Titled Global Guidelines to Restart Tourism, the document has guidelines for areas such as border management, meetings and events, attractions and tour operators. You can read the full document online.
The Government of Canada is reviewing the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program, and the Canada Business Resilience Network is urging businesses to fill out a short survey to contribute to the consultation process. You can access the survey online. The deadline to participate is June 5, 2020.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is hosting a webinar on June 2 from 12:00 – 1:00 pm with the Business Development Bank of Canada. BDC’s Chief Economist Pierre Cléroux and Executive Vice President Peter Lawler will be discussing current business trends and what business owners should be doing now as they ramp up operations. Registration for the webinar is now open.

Member Updates

Muskoka Hydrovac has been using their downtime to conduct research and development. The company has perfected a new tool to clean out silt in dug wells as well as a rehabilitation solution for failed septic weeping beds. The company has also written a letter of encouragement to other Chamber members, which can be read here.
NOVELTYMANN is happy to announce that they have all appropriate safety protocols in place and have opened their doors to customers. Curbside service is still available if requested. They have the following message to customers: “We appreciate everyone’s support as we get back up and running and a reminder that all our companies are doing the same and some things are taking a little longer to come in.” NOVELTYMANN has suppliers of safety masks and safety clothing and is open Monday to Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm. You can reach them at [email protected] or at 705-787-0148.
Pet Valu is now allowing a limited number of customers into their Huntsville store. Online ordering and curbside pick up are still available. Pet Valu is open Monday – Wednesday 9am – 6pm, Thursday and Friday 9am – 7pm, Saturday 9am – 6pm and Sunday 10am – 5pm.
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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