March 25 COVID-19 Update


Today there have been important announcements from the Federal and Provincial Governments. We have also 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.
It remains our goal to provide you with concise, up-to-date, daily information in a quick and easy to read format. Below are some important local links for continued updates.

Federal Government

Today Justin Trudeau announced the Government is creating the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. This benefit will provide up to $2000 per month over a 4 month period to people who are unable to work or have had their pay reduced dramatically due to COVID-19. Trudeau said an online portal will open very soon for applications and that Canadians should start receiving benefits within 10 days of applying. For the most up-to-date info on this new benefit, head to the CBC News Report.
Health Minister Patty Hadju reported that, as of midnight tonight, all travellers returning to Canada with the exception of “essential workers” will have to enter a mandatory 14 day quarantine. She also said that travellers will be forbidden to quarantine in a place where they can come in contact with vulnerable people. More details on enforcement of this mandatory quarantine are forthcoming.
The Federal Government website now has a page devoted to the temporary wage subsidy for employers. With a frequently asked questions format, the page is designed to help employers figure out if they are eligible for the subsidy and how to calculate and apply.

Provincial Government

Today the Government of Ontario has announced electricity bill relief measures for families, small businesses and farms. For a 45 day period, the time of use electricity rates will be suspended and a flat rate of 10.1 cents/kilowatt hour will be in effect 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. More details can be found in their media release.
Also today, a new toll-free information line at 1-888-444-3659 has been set up to allow businesses to ask questions regarding yesterday’s official list of essential workplaces that are permitted to be open during this new stage in the COVID-19 crisis.
Ontario has launched a new business website named Ontario Together. The website is designed to remove barriers allowing Ontario’s manufacturing sector to re-deploy capacity towards the production of essential equipment like ventilators, masks and swabs. The interactive site also allows for dialogue between business and government in the area of supply-chain innovation.
The Ontario Ministry of Health has launched an enhanced and interactive assessment tool. This easy-to-use tool guides users through a series of questions to help people determine if they are negative or provide further guidance on where to seek care based upon their needs.

Business & Tourism Report

The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses has released the results of their most recent survey. The report can help you understand what other businesses across the country are facing and will be used to inform governments on the issues existing within the business community.
Canadian Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Perrin Beatty has produced a new video with information for small and medium-sized businesses. The COVID-19 Business Resilience video is titled “The Top 5 Things SMEs Need to Know”
Our Regional Tourism Operator, RTO-12/Explorers’ Edge, responding to results from their recent survey, have written an urgent plea to local municipal officials and administrators regarding the current situation. This letter is designed to update and inform these leaders regarding the need for immediate supportive measures for tourism businesses.
The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) keeps a tourism focused update page on their website. They have also published the results of their first industry survey. The summary report will be used to inform decisions made by government to help mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on tourism.

Local & Member Updates

In Lake of Bays, the Ridout Transfer Station will be closed, starting today, due to lack of staffing availability. If you have any questions, contact the District of Muskoka Waste Management at (705) 645-6747.
The Town of Huntsville has published a media release regarding precautionary changes to service of Huntsville Transit buses. Follow the link for details on routes and regulation changes.
Here are today’s member updates. A complete list of updates can be found on ouCOVID-19 Information page. If you would like to have your business updates included in future emails and online, send us your information to this email address: [email protected] or call us directly at 705-789-4771.
Pet Valu has been deemed an essential service. They will be open Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri 10 – 5:30, Sat 9 – 5, Sun 10 – 4 and Wed 12 – 5:30. They are taking phone orders with a visa number and product can be picked up curb side.

Let Us Help

We have createdweb 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 the 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

Canada’s Regional Development Agencies (RDA’s) are responsible for economic development and have issued an informative single-page document to help you understand their role and where you can reach out for assistance. You can contact FedNor for support for your business.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has published the following guide to assist businesses in working through the changes COVID-19 will have on your business.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses has also published helpful resources for your business.
The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has been given $10 billion to loan to small businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. They have created a support webpage with links for small business loans, working capital loans and purchase order financing.
FedNor has requested that businesses fill out their FedNor COVID-19 Impact Form, which will allow them to better respond to rapidly changing needs. Please send FedNor this form and any other concerns you might have to this address.
Additional 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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