March 30 COVID-19 Update
Today Justin Trudeau delivered more details and numbers about the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Program. The Provincial Government has limited social gatherings to 5 people or less.
Please remember that we have 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. We are also maintaining a COVID-19 Update Page on our website. Below are some important local links.
This morning Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced more details about the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. A business will be eligible for the subsidy provided it has seen a revenue decrease of at least 30%. The subsidy applies to all businesses, including not-for-profit and charities, regardless of the number of employees. The subsidy will provide 75% of employee wages for the first $58,700 earned, which works out to a maximum of $847 per week. As stated last week, this subsidy will be retroactive to March 15. Trudeau did not give details of how to apply or how soon money would be available, saying that the government is working on the background documents as quickly as possible. To business owners he said: “We are trusting you. Try to make every effort to top up the remaining 25% of employee wages and to rehire laid off workers.” He also cautioned that there would be, “serious consequences for anyone found taking advantage of the system.”
Over the weekend, the Prime Minister announced increased assistance for Canadian youth and seniors struggling with staying at home and accessing critical services during the COVID-19 pandemic. The federal government pledged $7.5 million in funding to Kids Help Phone to provide mental health support for youth. An additional $9 million in funding will be administered through United Way to help seniors get groceries, medication and other critical items.
The Government of Canada is introducing new domestic transportation measures on travel within Canada. Domestic air and rail travel providers will be required to conduct health checks of all travellers before boarding that include answering health questions and watching for visible symptoms. Travel providers must refuse boarding to passengers that present COVID-19 symptoms. Coming into effect today at noon, the restrictions apply to aircraft with 10 seats or more and do not apply to commuter trains. See the full news release for more details.
The Government of Ontario has prohibited gatherings of more than 5 people. Acting on the advice of the Province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, prohibited public events include parades, social events such as weddings and worship services. The order does not apply to private households of 5 people or more and funerals are permitted to proceed with up to 10 people at one time. You can read the full news release on the Province’s news website.
Over the weekend Premier Doug Ford announced new penalties to combat price gouging and hold offenders accountable for raising prices on the necessary goods Ontarians need to protect themselves and their families. Necessary goods include things like, masks and gloves, non-prescription medications, disinfecting products and personal hygiene products. The Province’s news release has further details.
The Government of Ontario announced last that the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) will be deferring premium payments for 6 months. Applicable to all businesses within the province, all employers covered by the WSIB’s workplace insurance are automatically eligible to defer premium reporting and payments until August 31, 2020. Businesses will not have to opt in to receive the benefit. WSIB will also cease interest accrual on all outstanding payments for the 6 month period. The Government wants to assure all businesses that there will be no negative consequences for those who defer reporting and payment. You can read the official news release for more details.
Yesterday the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit announced that there is evidence of community transmission of COVID-19 in our region, which means the virus is spreading in the community and is not linked to travel or a previously known case. Community transmission means that we should expect the number of cases will start to rise over the next days and weeks. The Health Unit stresses the absolute need for distancing, isolation and cleanliness to help prevent further infection.
The Town of Huntsville has waived the penalty on tax payments for the 2 month period of March 31 to May 31, 2020. The deferral allows Town of Huntsville residents the ability to defer interim tax payments prior to May 31 deadline without incurring penalty. In the official news release, the Town is asking those with the ability to pay taxes on the original March 31st deadline to do so.
Tourism & Business Report
Our Regional Tourism Operator, RTO-12/Explorers’ Edge, would like to remind tourism stakeholders to complete their most recent survey. They also maintain a resource page for the tourism industry.
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.
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.
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.
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.