May 11 COVID-19 Update


Over the weekend the Ontario government announced the staged opening of provincial parks for day use activities. Today Justin Trudeau announced emergency funding for Canada’s medium and large businesses and Doug Ford talked about gradually reopening the economy.
This week we will be sending you emails on Monday, Wednesday and Friday with the latest federal, provincial and local news as well as updates from member businesses. You can access the latest up-to-date information on our COVID-19 Update Page on our website.

Federal Government

Today Justin Trudeau announced emergency funding for Canada’s medium and large sized businesses. Through the newly formed Large Employer Emergency Funding Facility these companies that do not currently qualify for financial assistance will be able to receive bridge funding. Trudeau expressed that this funding “is not a bailout” and will come with strict guidleines and oversight. Companies will have to make commitments to maintain jobs and pensions and factors such as dividends and executive salaries will be scrutinized. This new funding is being made available to “protect millions of Canadian jobs.” You can read the Prime Minister’s official news release online.
The Government of Canada has also released more details on funding for cultural, heritage and sport organizations. Starting this week organizations will be contacted so that funding can begin to flow. Canadian Heritage is working closely with its partners – in particular, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Canada Media Fund, FACTOR, Musicaction, and Telefilm Canada – to distribute the funds as quickly as possible using existing channels. You can read the full news release online.

Provincial Government

Today Doug Ford spoke about the safe and gradual reopening of the economy. Retail stores in the province are allowed to open for curbside pickup today and many construction sites are getting back to work. The Premier said: “We are insuring that we can reopen the economy safely, with strict public health guidelines in place.” You can read the full news release about these openings and safety measures online.
Over the weekend the Ontario government announced that it is reopening provincial parks and conservation reserves for limited day-use access. Beginning today, non-operational parks and conservation reserves are opening, with most operational parks scheduled to open Friday May 15. Activities permitted include day-use walking, hiking, biking and bird watching. Access will be free until the end of May. Please note that there is no water access for boating or paddling and all facilities including washrooms, water taps, campgrounds, playgrounds and beaches remain closed. The government asks that you only visit parks in your immediate area. Before planning your trip, please visit the Ontario Parks Locator to check the status of your local park.

Local News

The Mayors of Muskoka and Chair of the District released a message last Friday to all residents, both year round and seasonal. Among other things, the message addresses guidelines and preparedness for travel to and from Muskoka. You can view the full message online.
Township of Lake of Bays Mayor Terry Glover has released his latest update video. You can watch the video online on Facebook.
The Huntsville BIA is holding a Share Your Love for Huntsville contest. Between now and May 25 you can email them a review (100 words or more) on your favourite Downtown Huntsville business to be entered in a draw for a $200 gift card to your favourite BIA business. Email your review to [email protected] to enter. Your review will be posted with your first name only on social media. Go to to find a listing of all the Huntsville BIA businesses.

Business & Tourism Report

Tourism Excellence North has created the Adapt 2020 webinar series designed to support Northern Ontario tourism businesses. Open to businesses in our region as well, the webinars cover a variety of topics important to the tourism sector. Tomorrow, May 12 at 11:00am there is a webinar titled “Ramping Up as the Curve Flattens.” You must register online for access. You can also find recordings of previous webinars online.
On Tuesday May 12 the Canadian Business Resilience Network is hosting a webinar about the recovery and resilience of Canada’s food service sector. The presidents of Molson Coors Canada, Boston Pizza and Firkin Group Pubs will join a special roundtable discussion about the particular challenges facing the food services sector. The webinar takes place at 2:30pm and those interested must pre-register online.

Member Updates

Soapstones Natural Skincare will be open for curbside pickup as well as online ordering starting today. Curbside pickup orders will be received by phone between 10:00am and 4:00pm Monday to Friday. Pickup will be at the Main Street entrance only.
In advance of more businesses being able to open in the future, Staples has launched a line of decals for social distancing markers, doors, floors, walls etc. These decals can be purchased online through the Staples website.
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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