March 26 COVID-19 Update


Today the Provincial Government announced its economic plan and we have new local updates. 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.

Local News

Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare has released a letter to the community with a COVID-19 update. CEO Natalie Bubela has also produced a message to our communities which can be viewed as a video or read in a blog post. MAHC maintains a COVID-19 Information Page on their website.
The Lakeview Physicians Family Health Organization has updated their information and resource page to include current clinic practices for their patients. They also maintain a list of resources open to all.
The District of Muskoka has made changes to its waste collection procedures. Find the latest info in this media release.
Parry Sound Muskoka MP Scott Aitchison has released a video update with information and updates for local constituents.

Federal Government

More details have come out about the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. Financial assistance will be available to those who do not qualify for regular Employment Insurance benefits and who are unable to work or have had their pay reduced dramatically due to COVID-19. The benefit will provide up to $2000 per month over a 4 month period. The application process is expected to open in early April via online portal and this morning Justin Trudeau said that Canadians should start receiving benefits within 14 days of applying. More details can be found on the Department of Finance website.
As of midnight last night, all travellers returning to Canada with the exception of “essential workers” will have to enter a mandatory 14 day quarantine. Travellers will be forbidden to quarantine in a place where they can come in contact with vulnerable people. Provisions are being made for individuals who have nowhere to quarantine themselves including lodging and meals in some cases. Failure to comply is an offense under the Quarantine Act and carries a maximum penalty of fines up to $750,000 and imprisonment up to 6 months. Read the Self-Isolation news post online for further details.

Provincial Government

Yesterday afternoon Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips released Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19. The first step in the Government’s response to the economic crisis, the $17 billion plan is “a critical first step to ensure our health care system, communities and economy are positioned to weather the challenges ahead.” Highlights of the plan include $3.3 billion in additional health care resources, $3.7 billion to directly and urgently support people and protect jobs and $10 billion earmarked for tax and other deferrals for people and businesses. A quick guide to the Action Plan has been released, or you can read the full action plan online.
Yesterday the Government of Ontario 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.
The Government continues to direct businesses to their toll-free information line at 1-888-444-3659. The service allows businesses to ask questions regarding the Government’s official list of essential workplaces that are permitted to be open during this new stage in the COVID-19 crisis.

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.
Parry Sound Muskoka Community Network is suggesting business owners read the following post. While produced in the United States, there are several services included in the resource list that are applicable to Canadian businesses as well.
BDO Canada maintains a page on their website dedicated to helping businesses cope with the effects of COVID-19. Titled How Do We Adapt to COVID-19, the page contains information on topics such as tax implications, risk management and economic impact strategies.
Our Regional Tourism Operator, RTO-12/Explorers’ Edge, responding to results from their recent survey, has 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.

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.

Let Us Help

We have created a web 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 our revised 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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