May 22 COVID-19 Update


Today Justin Trudeau announced an new online tool to assist Canadians in navigating the various funding opportunities available to them. Doug Ford announced support for new trades workers and unemployed hospitality sector workers. We would also like to remind you that this week Federal and Provincial health experts recommended wearing face coverings where social distancing is difficult such as in newly opened stores and other confined areas.
With a summer weather forecast predicted for the weekend and our community poised to open some outdoor recreation facilities, 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 and remember to always practice physical distancing.
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 the creation of an online tool designed to assist Canadians in navigating the various funding programs and benefits available during this pandemic. The online tool is now live to help students, seniors, business and out-of-work Canadians see what benefits they qualify for. The conservative government is also pushing for the House of Commons to resume next week with public health measures in place and a reduced number of MP’s.
Yesterday the Prime Minister announced $350 million for a new Indigenous Community Support Fund to address immediate needs in Indigenous communities struggling with COVID-19. The funding also includes $15 million in support for Indigenous organizations that provide services to Indigenous peoples living in urban centres and off reserve. You can read the full news release online.

Provincial Government

Today Doug Ford announced new measures to help workers struggling during the pandemic. The government is creating a $2.5 million Ontario Tools Grant to help new eligible apprentices purchase tools, as well as forgiving more than $10 million in loans under the current Loans for Tools Program. The government is also investing nearly $2 million to open a Virtual Action Centre. This virtual job training resource will provide hospitality sector workers who have been laid off with a range of services and support both online and over the phone. You can read more about all of these programs in the government’s news release online.
Today the Ontario Government announced it is making it easier for corporations to conduct business and practice physical distancing. As part of the COVID-19 Response and Reforms to Modernize Ontario Act, the Province is permitting Ontario corporations to conduct virtual meetings, defer certain annual meetings and e-file some official documents. For more details you can read the news release online.
Yesterday Doug Ford announced that the Province is moving ahead to fund 15 proposals as part of the COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund. The $20 million fund was created to support Ontario research into methods of fighting COVID-19, including vaccine and treatment research. Ford said: “Our government is investing in some very promising research proposals, which have the potential to save lives and help us get back to a way of life that is as close to normal as possible.” You can read the full news release online.
The Ministry of Health is now recommending that Ontarians wear face coverings where social distancing is difficult such as when using public transit. The following recommendations for face coverings were given:
  • Wear your face covering safely and snugly to cover your nose and mouth, without any gaps. Ensure your face covering is made of at least two layers of tightly woven material and can be cleaned multiple times without losing its shape;
  • Medical masks, such as surgical and N95 masks, should be reserved for use by health care workers, those providing direct care, first responders and individuals who are ill and must leave their home for essential reasons such as seeking medical care, picking up medication or groceries;
  • Face coverings should not be placed on or used by children under the age of two; anyone who has trouble breathing; and anyone who is unable to remove it without assistance.
You can read the full news release online.

Local News

The Town of Huntsville has issued a news release regarding the reopening of select outdoor recreation amenities. Beginning this weekend, many sport facilities, public beaches and park infrastructure will be reopened with physical distancing and restricted gathering measures in place. All outdoor playgrounds, play structures and equipment will remain closed. To learn more about which facilities are reopening you can read the news release online.
The Township of Lake of Bays has released their latest economic development newsletter. The newsletter contains information on support for Muskoka businesses, the Lake of Bays physical distance signage program and other online resources. You can read the newsletter online.
With more retail businesses opening up, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has posted a How to Shop Safely section on their website. You can read this and other safety guidelines on their website.
Township of Lake of Bays Mayor Terry Glover has released his weekly update video. You can view the video online on Facebook.
Huntsville Doppler has an Open for Business page that is updated daily. You can find a listing of businesses that are currently open listed by category. You can read the entire list on their website.
The Dwight Public Library is now open for curbside pickup. Library members can order materials in 3 ways: online at, by email at [email protected] or by phone at 705-635-3319.
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

The District of Muskoka has formally endorsed a recommendation to partner with Muskoka Futures to deliver the Muskoka Business Recovery Fund program. Council approved a $750,000 loan to allow Muskoka Futures to support Muskoka small businesses who are not eligible for current government funding. Council has also endorsed the creation of a Muskoka Economic Recovery Task Force to “undertake strategic actions that enable recovery.” You can read the full news release about these measures online.
The Canada Business Resilience Network has published a Toolkit for Reopening Canada’s Economy. The document provides many resources for businesses on creating operations and health and safety plans, sourcing PPE and advice on internal and external communications. You can access this guide on the CBRN website.
Community Foundations of Canada (CFC) is now accepting applications for the Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF). The fund is a $350 million program designed to support charities and not-for-profit organizations serving vulnerable populations as they manage the impacts of COVID-19. Applications must be submitted by July 27, 2020 for activities occurring between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. You can download the application guide here. Visit the CFC website for more details and to apply.

Member Updates

Pride Marine Group is offering local Muskoka businesses free dock space to schedule dates and times to exchange products with cottage customers. They ask that guidelines for physical distancing and sanitation be respected. Pride Marine has a Lake of Bays location, as well as two in Muskoka Lakes. You can read all the details of this program in their letter to businesses.
Local human resource partner OpX Project + People Management has produced a resource document about the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy. They are offering complimentary consultations for local businesses. You can read their resource document for details.
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!

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: The Huntsville/Lake of Bays Chamber of Commerce, 37 Main St. East, Huntsville, ON, P1H 2K5, You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact