June 15 COVID-19 Update


Today the Ontario Government announced more regions will enter Stage 2 of Ontario’s reopening framework this Friday. Justin Trudeau announced he is working to extend CERB benefits for those still unable to work.
Even though businesses and patios are beginning to reopen, we ask that people use common sense and continue to follow public health guidelines. Even with new guidelines around social circles, when in public please remember to always practice physical distancing and 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 told Canadians that he is working to extend the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit for people who still cannot return to work. The Prime Minister said, “I want you to know that we will continue to be there for you and your family.” Trudeau also announced the creation of the Surplus Food Rescue Program, an initiative designed to purchase surplus food from Canada’s farmers and distribute it to communities and people in need. The Prime Minister said there would be more news on both these items later in the week.
Last week the Government of Canada launched a new web hub to bring together available resources for organizations buying and selling PPE. The Supply Hub connects Canadian organizations from coast to coast with federal, provincial, territorial and other resources and information about PPE, including consumer guidance. You can access the Supply Hub and read the government’s news release online.

Provincial Government

Today Doug Ford announced that, with the lowest day over day increase of new COVID-19 cases in the province since March, all but 3 regions will be entering Stage 2 of reopening Friday June 19. Only Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex will remain in Stage 1. The Premier thanked all Ontarians for their continued sacrifices and said he was confident the remaining regions would reach Stage 2 very soon. You can read the Province’s news release online.
Over the weekend the Ontario government eased restrictions on weddings and funeral ceremonies. With physical distancing regulations still in effect, indoor weddings and funerals will be permitted with up to 30% building capacity. Outdoor ceremonies can have up to 50 people in attendance. For more information you can read the full news release online.
Last week Doug Ford announced that people throughout Ontario are being encouraged to establish a social circle of no more than 10 people who can interact and come in close contact with one another without physical distancing. Effective immediately, social circles of up to 10 people are permitted, including those outside the immediate household. Ontarians who wish to form a safe social circle should follow these five simple steps:
  1. Start with your current circle: the people you live with or who regularly come into your household;
  2. If your current circle is under 10 people, you can add members to your circle, including those from another household, family members or friends;
  3. Get agreement from everyone that they will join the circle;
  4. Keep your social circle safe. Maintain physical distancing with anyone outside of your circle; and
  5. Be true to your circle. No one should be part of more than one circle.
You can find out more in the province’s step-by-step guide to creating a social circle and by reading today’s news release online.

Local News

The Town of Huntsville is now accepting applications from businesses to expand patio seating. The online application will allow business owners to request use of a portion of municipally owned sidewalk, public lands or private property for a patio or café as an extension of an existing restaurant, café, take-out restaurant, pub or tavern. Council will review delegated authority during the June 22nd Council meeting, which would then allow Town staff to finalize application requests. You can fill out an application online.
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has published some resources now that our region is in Stage 2 of business reopening. Their online page titled Reopening and Operating Your Business Safely provides guidelines and links to further resources for businesses who will be reopening. They have also produced a document titled COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for Reopening a Food Premise for Outdoor Dining providing guidelines and information for food providers on safely reopening patios, curbside, parking lots and adjacent premises.
The District of Muskoka has published a news release regarding the reopening of child care centres in the region. While the Province now permits licensed child care providers to open providing they meet Provincial Guidelines, many centres will need time to put the necessary measures in place. You can read the District’s news release online.
The Township of Lake of Bays has published an online list of active road closures as a result of last week’s storm. The resource is updated regularly, so please read before heading out onto smaller roads in the area. You can find the road closures page online.
The District of Muskoka has launched the 2020 Muskoka Community Grant Application. Available on the Engage Muskoka Platform, applications can now be made by community groups, not-for-profit organizations and registered charities. There are three grant opportunities available: The Pay it Forward program offers grants up to $2,500 for grassroots community groups, the Community Enhancement Fund is available to not-for-profit and charitable organizations in the form of grants up to $10,000 and the Social Service Relief Fund provides grants up to $5,000 for community groups offering essential services. You can read more about eligibility and apply for grants on the Engage Muskoka website.

Business & Tourism Report

The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) maintains a comprehensive list of protocols and guidelines for tourism businesses and attractions set to reopen. The organization is also offering free, one-year memberships to all tourism businesses. You can access the protocols and guidelines online.
The Canadian Business Resilience Network (CBRN) is also continuing to update their Business Reopening Toolkit. With resources ranging from operations and health and safety plans to accessing PPE, the Reopening Toolkit is a valuable resource to all businesses preparing to reopen. The CBRN is also hosting a number of webinars to support reopening with topics including physical return to work, tools to survive and thrive and building effective advertising strategy. You can see the complete list of upcoming webinars online.
Last week the Ontario government announced, in partnership with the federal government, $57 million to further support the Digital Main Street platform. The platform is designed to help businesses create and enhance their online presence. Digital Main Street will offer three new programs to support digital transformation: shopHERE powered by Google, the Digital Main Street grant and the Future-Proofing Main Street program. You can get more details from the online platform or by reading the government’s official news release.
The Ontario government has launched the Ontario Live virtual hub, designed to promote and support the province’s tourism and cultural industries. When complete, Ontario Live will allow all Ontarians to access concerts, online art experiences, gallery and museum tours, virtual tourism experiences and much more, from the safety of their own homes. To learn more or to register your business go online at www.ontario.live

Member Updates

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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