June 17 COVID-19 Update


Today Justin Trudeau announced the Federal government will provide a fiscal update on July 8 and yesterday the CERB benefit was extended by 8 weeks. The Ontario Government has extended the Province’s emergency orders until June 30. This is proving to be a busy week, so be sure to read the Local News and Business and Tourism Report sections below.
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 the Prime Minister announced that the Federal government will be giving a fiscal and economic update before Parliament on July 8. He also announced $500 million of extra funding for innovative research in Canada.
Yesterday Justin Trudeau announced that the government is extending the CERB benefit by 8 weeks. This extension will make the benefit available to eligible workers for up to a total of 24 weeks. Trudeau said, “By extending the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, Canadians will be able to continue to buy groceries and pay their bills as we work together to safely and effectively restart the economy.” You can read the full news release online.
This week the government 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. You can now go to the program web page to learn more details about this initiative. Not-for-profits and for-profit organizations will be able to bid on significant volumes of surplus products through the program.

Provincial Government

Today the Ontario government has extended all emergency orders currently being enforced until June 30. Some of the orders still in effect include prohibiting restaurants and bars from providing indoor service, the closure of some outdoor recreation facilities and rules around long-term care homes, including limiting staff to working at only one home. You can read the full list of orders in effect online. You can also read the full news release online.
This week 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.
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. 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 has painted directional arrows on both sidewalks along Main Street from Lorne Street to the bridge to assist downtown visitors with physical distancing. If headed west, visitors are asked to use the south side of the sidewalk, with the north side reserved for pedestrians headed east. You can read the Town’s news release online.
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 Township of Lake of Bays is now accepting applications to request a temporary patio or patio extension. Township Council has authorized the waiving of any COVID-19 related building permit fees to a maximum of $360 (equivalent to a 430,000 construction value) and temporary structures will be exempt from zoning regulations and site plan approval upon a consultation with Township staff. You can apply here for a permit.
The Muskoka Virtual Job Fair is taking place June 22 at 1:30pm. Hear directly from employers such as Deerhurst Resort, Fowler Construction, Huntsville and Bracebridge Walmart and more. Employers can post jobs using the following link. This virtual event is free and you can register here.
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 Township of Lake of Bays has published details regarding tree and brush removal for residents affected by last week’s windstorm. You can find dates and times online in their media release.

Business & Tourism Report

Tomorrow, June 18, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is providing businesses the opportunity to ask questions about the safe reopening and operation of workplaces. Health Unit Medical Officer of Health Dr. Charles Gardner and Vice President of the Environmental Health Department Dr. Steve Rebellato will share information and answer questions from 3:00-4:00pm. You can register for this free session online.
The Ontario government has released a resource document online titled Develop Your COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan. The document includes information on reducing risk to employees and controls that should be put in place to ensure a safe workplace. Available online, you can also download a safety plan template for creating your own custom plan. You can view these resources online.
Beginning on Friday, businesses will be able to apply for the Canada Emergency Business Account under the expanded criteria that had been previously announced to allow more businesses to qualify. The CEBA is available through your primary financial institution. You can find out if you qualify by visiting the CEBA web page.
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 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

McLaren Press Graphics is now printing responsible restaurant menus. These safe, single-use menus can protect both staff and customers. They have created a document with all the relevant details.
Muskoka Seniors is now offering their Frozen Meals on Wheels delivery. The organization is also providing transportation services for local and out of town medical appointments. Muskoka Seniors also offers free friendly check-ins over the phone at 705-789-6676. You can also visit them at MuskokaSeniors.org.
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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