June 5 COVID-19 Update


Today the Federal Government announced funding for Canadians with disabilities and $14 billion to be spent on a Canada-wide economic reopening plan. Doug Ford said he will share details early next week about the Stage 2 reopening of Ontario’s economy.
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 supports for Canadians with disabilities to address challenges from COVID-19. This support includes a special one-time, tax-free payment to individuals who are certificate holders of the Disability Tax Credit as of June 1, 2020, as follows:
  • $600 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate. 
  • $300 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and who are eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension.
  • $100 for Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and who are eligible for the OAS pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).
You can read read more details in the Prime Minister’s full news release online.
Also today, Justin Trudeau announced that, after talks with Canada’s provinces and territories, the Federal government will be providing $14 billion to provinces and territories to help with a Canada-wide economic reopening strategy. He said this money will go toward more PPE for frontline workers and businesses, toward childcare for returning workers and to support cities and municipalities, as well as other needs. The Prime Minister emphasized the importance that all Canadians work together to reopen our economy gradually and safely.
Yesterday the Prime Minister announced that seniors eligible for the Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement will receive their special one-time, tax-free payment during the week of July 6. Seniors eligible for the OAS pension will receive a payment of $300, and those also eligible for the GIS will receive an additional $200, for a total of $500. You can read the full news release online.

Provincial Government

Today Doug Ford spoke of the Federal government’s $14 billion reopening plan. Ford said that this money is a good start, but that it is estimated that Ontario itself will require $23 billion in spending to recover from the damage caused by COVID-19. Ford also announced that he will be providing more details “early next week” about the Stage 2 framework for reopening Ontario’s economy.
Yesterday Minister of Economic Development Victor Fedeli announced on social media that the provincial ban on short-term rental accommodations has been lifted as of today. Fideli said, “Expanding the availability of short-term accommodations is an important part of Ontario’s reopening.” Local MPP Norm posted a news release saying that lodges, cabins, cottages, homes, condominiums and B&B’s will be allowed to resume operations. He also said, “Owners should consult health and safety guidelines related to the tourism and hospitality sector when considering how they can reopen their doors to guests. Operators and guests should continue to practice physical distancing, wear a face covering when physical distancing is a challenge, and wash hands frequently.” You can read Miller’s full news release on his website.
Earlier this week the Ontario government announced it is extending all emergency orders until June 30, 2020. These emergency orders include the closure of outdoor playgrounds, play structures and equipment, public swimming pools and outdoor water facilities, as well as bars and restaurants except for takeout and delivery. Additionally, there continues to be restrictions on social gatherings of more than five people, and staff redeployment rules remain in place for long-term care homes and congregate settings like retirement homes and women’s shelters. You can read the full list of emergency orders in the official news release posted online.

Local News

The Town of Huntsville has published a news release about the lifting of short-term rental restrictions. The Town would like to remind owners and operators that all short-term rental accommodations are required to be licensed. You can read the full news release online.
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has shared a link about using cloth face coverings. The resource has information on the wearing, washing and even making of cloth face coverings. You can read this resource online.
The Huntsville Festival of the Arts is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Group of Seven Artists with a special art project. Taking place throughout the summer, mural artist Gerry Lantaigne has been commissioned to paint 7 murals, each one of which will be painted on the underside of a canoe. The organization is reaching out to the community seeking donations of used canoes for the project. You can read the project’s news release online.
The Township of Lake of Bays has released their weekly Public Notice Board. You can read the release online.
The District of Muskoka has announced that their Community Volunteer Income Tax Program is now being offered to eligible residents virtually. The program provides free tax clinics to assist low-income individuals and families. You can read more about the program including eligibility requirements in the District’s news release online.
The Town of Huntsville has announced that the Brunel Locks are set to reopen for the season starting on weekends in June from 10am-6pm. For the months of July and August the locks will be open daily 10am-6pm. You can read the full news update online.

Business & Tourism Report

Muskoka Futures has launched the Muskoka Business Recovery Fund (MBRF) in partnership with FedNor and the Government of Canada. Small businesses who have been unable to qualify for current COVID-19 relief programs such as the Emergency Wage Subsidy, Emergency Business Account and Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance programs may qualify for a loan of up to $40,000 with 0% interest and no payments required until December 31, 2022. Applications are available online.
The Canadian Business Resilience Network is accepting applications for the CBRN Small Business Relief Fund. 62 Canadian small businesses will receive $10,000 grants to support recovery efforts. Applications must be submitted online by June 12 at 8pm. You can find eligibility criteria and the application form online on the CBRN website.

Member Updates

3 Guys and a Stove has opened the “On Focaccia” food truck directly beside their Huntsville restaurant. On Focaccia has a brand new menu featuring breakfast from 8-11:30am and an all day menu 11:30am-9pm. The restaurant is also open now with a special BBQ menu for curbside pickup. 3 Guys takes the safety of its customers and staff extremely seriously, so physical distancing and sanitizing measures are being enforced. Follow these links to learn more about either the On Focaccia truck or the restaurant menu online.
Find Your Wild Muskoka is getting ready to reopen to the public. The outdoor adventure company will begin offering axe throwing adventures June 13 and will be reopening their SUP paddling adventures on June 18. They will only be accepting groups of four (plus a guide) unless you have a larger family living under one roof. No equipment will be shared and physical distancing will be built in. For more information follow them on Facebook, call them at (705) 380-4479 or send an email to [email protected].
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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