Stay healthy Wellington West! COVID-19 updates.
UPDATED FRIDAY MARCH 27 – 5:00 p.m.
Public health updates for merchants and customers in Hintonburg & Wellington Village.
1) Federal government announces expanded aid package – 75% Wage subsidy and more.
See details below.
2) Ottawa declares State of Emergency, announces “Shop Local” ad campaign.
See details below.
3) More landlords given deferrals, urged to help tenants.
Mayor Jim Watson urges landlords to “be flexible with tenants during this crisis.”
PLEASE NOTE: This page is provided as a public service, and while we will try to be as accurate and timely as possible, please refer to government agencies and public health experts for the final word.
Please let us know of any broken ofr stale links or information. To subscribe to member updates for business: firstname.lastname@example.org.
MARCH 27: 5:00 p.m.: More financial support for small business
Hopefully, the announcement below will come as good news in this dark time that may provide a *bit* more tangible help to business owners as you face difficult month-end decisions.
In brief, the federal government announced today:
- 75% Wage Subsidy.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced dramatic expansion of the federal government wage subsidy for small and medium-sized businesses who choose to retain employees during the COVID shutdown to 75% – up from the 10% previously announced. He also announced these would be retroactive to cover any wages since March 15 and promised that details and application instructions will come on Monday.
- Canada Emergency Business Account: This $25 billion program implemented by eligible financial institutions will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits with payrolls between $50,000 and $1 Million, to help cover their operating costs. Up to 25% or $10,000, will be forgivable for businesses who pay back the loan by the end of 2022.
- Deferral of Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) remittances and customs duty payments to June 30, 2020.
- Additional co-lending and loan guarantees to expand previously announced programs.
These programs are in addition to earlier EI expansion, and the improved support program for workers announced on Wednesday March 25.
- Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This taxable benefit would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic – including workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19. “This would help businesses keep their employees as they navigate these difficult times, while ensuring they preserve the ability to quickly resume operations as soon as it becomes possible.”
Unfortunately, none of this yet addresses either of the two critical we’ve been calling for with BIAs across Ontario: a) direct financial compensation for lost revenue, or b) rent relief as . But these are significant improvements.
MARCH 26: 4:00 p.m.: Liquor licensed Ontario bars, restaurants can sell alcohol with takeout and delivery food
Effective immediately, licensed restaurants and bars in Ontario may sell alcohol with food takeout and delivery orders between the hours of 9:00 am and 11:00 pm. All active liquor licensees may immediately begin offering this service if they choose and there is no application process or fee required. Liquor may be sold for takeout or delivery through a third party, such as a food delivery service or ordering platform, provided they are acting on behalf of the licensee.From Ontario Government Announcement – click for full details.
MARCH 26: 6:30 a.m.: federal measures announced yesterday:
- Federal Government introduces Canada Emergency Response Benefit to help workers and businesses
- “To support workers and help businesses keep their employees, the government has proposed legislation to establish the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This taxable benefit would provide $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
- Ontario‘s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19
- $7 billion in additional resources for the health care system and direct support for people and jobs. It also will make available $10 billion in support for people and businesses through tax and other deferrals to improve their cash flow, protecting jobs and household budgets.
- City of Ottawa:
- The City of Ottawa declares State of Emergency
- Mayor Jim Watson announces expansion of property / water utility program; urges landlords to be flexible and pass on deferral savings to tenants amid crisis.
- City’s new economic task force will launch an online promotional campaign called “Buy Local” on Thursday, urging residents to support Ottawa business in ways they still can.
MARCH 25: 5:00 p.m.: essential shops & services in our BIA
|The merchants of Hintonburg and Wellington Village are doing our part to help keep everyone safe and healthy during the COVID-19 crisis. And while the province has ordered all non-essential businesses closed, the following stores and services are designated “essential” and remain open to provide important supplies and services through the shut-down:|
MARCH 24: 9:00 a.m.: List of Essential business types
We distilled the following list for your convenience based on the shops and services most prevalent among our 550 businesses in Wellington West BIA. See the full provincial order for official definitions / details.
|Online, telephone, and delivery sales are clearly permitted for ALL businesses. “Order does not apply to services or products delivered online, by telephone or by mail/delivery. Online commerce and teleworking are permitted at all times for all businesses.”|
|Summary list of essential business types|
NOTE: NOT AUTHORITATIVE OR COMPLETE LIST –
SEE PROVINCIAL ORDER FOR OFFICIAL DEFINITIONS!
Food retail, wholesale, supplies
Restaurant takeout, delivery (only)
Pet supplies, animal health services
IT, software, online services
Beer, wine, liquor, cannabis
Telecomm service, hardware
Gas, fuel suppliers
Automotive, bicycle repair
Manufacturers, supply chains
Agriculture and food production
Office supplies, computers
Banks, insurance, payroll services
Laundromats & dry cleaners
Medical, senior care services
Social service agencies
Business organizations, regulators
MARCH 23 – 4:00 p.m.: Province orders non-essential businesses to close
The province has announced this afternoon that any “non-essential” businesses must close as of midnight Tuesday night, March 24, and remain closed for at least 14 days.
We are told grocery, pharmacy, takeout, and manufacturing businesses will be exempted, but beyond that, we are seeking more clarity on the exact definition and what the restrictions might entail.
You will find the link to the Press Release below:
MARCH 22 – 9 a.m.: Increased level of Public Health warnings
This was the statement issued last night from Ottawa Public Health about changes to the COVID-19 situation today. You can read the whole statement here.
Ottawa Public Health now has laboratory confirmation of community spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ottawa. Additionally, we are starting to see cases among health-care workers who have not traveled or been a close contact of a confirmed case . Based on modelling data, there could now be up to 4,000 undetected cases of COVID-19 in our community.
Now is also not the time for non-essential excursions. We are working with the City of Ottawa to provide greater clarity on what we consider non-essential vs essential businesses here in Ottawa. People should not visit non-essential businesses including but not limited to clothing retail stores, hair and nail salons, tattoo parlours, gym and fitness facilities, banquet halls and conference centres.Dr. Vera Etches – Ottawa Medical Officer of Health
March 20: Urgent call to Federal Government for direct aid for merchants
We sent this email letter with our OCOBIA colleagues calling on the federal government for direct financial aid. Small merchants are facing an urgent month-end rent-payment crisis in the next 10 days.
MARCH 18: Summary of announced support for businesses
Canada’s Finance Minister announced $27 Billion worth of stimulus and aid for employees, landlords, and businesses affected by the current COVID-19 situation. The full details are below.
But briefly, businesses should know about these programs:
- Tax Deferral – The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all businesses to defer tax payments until after August 31, 2020.
- Expanded Employment Insurance eligibility – “Emergency Support Benefit” – for self-employed or people who lose job or hours reduced, but not eligible for EI – payments every 2 weeks, comparable to EI for up to 14 weeks
- Temporary Wage Subsidy – for employers who choose to keep staff on payroll – 10% of salary for 3 months – up to $25,000 per employer.
- Emergency Care Benefit – for infected, self-isolated/quarantined, or those caring for ill family members but not eligible to paid sick leave or EI benefits. Payments every 2 weeks for up to 14 weeks.
- Emergency Credit / loans from BDC – “Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)” – these were announced last week, but reaffirmed March 17.
OFFICIAL RELEASE (in government language)
Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: Support for Canadians and Businesses – posted Mar 17, Government of Canada Web site.
City of Ottawa – Municipal Government
The proposed measures announced on Wednesday March 18 apply mainly to property owners, although the mayor is urging commercial landlords to pass on any savings from deferred payments on to their tenants.
- Grace period for interim property tax payment – City will grant property owners a grace period for payment – late payment penalty will not be applied to current March 19 deadline, moving instead to Wednesday, April 15, 2020.
- New 2020 Interim Property Tax Hardship Deferral Program – longer deferrals to October 30 are available for small commercial property owners with property values under $2.5 Million.
Province’s Declaration of Emergency: effective Tuesday, March 17:
Link: Ontario Enacts Declaration of Emergency to Protect the Public. Summary below.
On March 16, 2019, Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health for the Ministry of Health, has now advised cancelling events or gatherings over 50 people because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a result of this declaration and its associated orders, the following establishments are legally required to close immediately:
- All facilities providing indoor recreational programs;
- All public libraries;
- All private schools as defined in the Education Act;
- All licensed child care centres;
- All bars and restaurants, except to the extent that such facilities provide takeout food and delivery;
- All theatres including those offering live performances of music, dance, and other art forms, as well as cinemas that show movies; and
- Concert venues.
Further, all organized public events of over fifty people are also prohibited, including parades and events and communal services within places of worship.
This declaration does not apply to other merchants, fitness studios, and services, who may choose to remain open to provide important health services, groceries, and supplies. But since Monday, most have closed voluntarily.
Recommendations for workplaces from Ottawa Public Health:
If businesses choose to remain open, we recommend taking the following precautionary measures:
- Apply social distancing measures;
- Provide access to handwashing facilities and place hand sanitizing dispensers in prominent locations throughout the workplace, if possible;
- Review and make use of Public Health Ontario’s resource on Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings – COVID-19.
- Notify customers of the social distancing measures you are taking by posting these on the front door.
- Consider additional strategies that workplaces can put into effect
Some important things to note:
- Customers and business owners should study and follow all public health advisories and take all recommended cleaning, hand-washing, and social distancing precautions, as well as self-isolating at the first sign of a fever or cough.
- Businesses should prepare for potential disruptions. Talk now to your insurance provider, your neighbouring businesses, suppliers, and employees to make sure you understand your obligations. This is a good resource about employment standards in Canada.
Some good sources of information:
These are the most current and easy-to-understand and print sources of information we’ve been able to find.
Financial Assistance for business:
Emergency Federal Loan program – administered by the federal Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)
General COVID-19 situation updates:
- Ottawa Public Health Updates – refreshed twice daily.
- Ontario Public Health – updated twice daily.
- Public Health Agency of Canada – for national information.
Advice for business:
- Ottawa Public Health Information for Workplaces – released March 13
- CDC – Guidance for Businesses & Employers – from the American Centres for Disease Control – includes information on cleaning and disinfection.
- Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) – Employment and Social Development Canada – Employment Insurance and Labour and Occupational Health and Safety
- Advice for Canadian employers – from Gowlings.
- Planning for Coronavirus – Advice for Businesses and Organizations – very good printable checklist of considerations for all business (from Seattle).
- Retail food establishments: Public Health recommendations to minimize the spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) – one-page printable list of considerations for food service businesses (from Seattle).
Are we missing anything?
Please let us know at email@example.com if there are others we should know about and we’ll expand this list!