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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Business Update: April 20th, 2020, 4:00pm

On April 21, Niagara-on-the-Lake Lord Mayor Betty Disero and Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati will join us for COVID-19 and community updates in our Espresso Live: Mayors of Niagara webinar series. Join us at 10:00a.m. – registration is free.
Information on government grants, resources, and programs, and how to apply for them, is available here.
The Government of Canada has a support page with summaries of current programs and application portals.

Today’s vital updates:

  • The wave of community cases in Ontario is reported to have peaked. Some countries are starting to re-open from lockdown, with some stores open in Germany, while New Zealand looks at a re-opening next week. An end to the current situation may be in sight.
    • Re-opening, when it happens, will be staged and gradual. Not all businesses will be allowed to re-open at once, and there will likely still be major restrictions around occupancy of stores and buildings, personal contact and distancing, and so forth. ‘Business as usual’ will not be the case for the foreseeable future.
    • Pandemics frequently come in waves, as did the 1918 influenza pandemic (where second and subsequent waves were more lethal than the first), the 1957 and 1968 influenza pandemics, and H1N1, whose initial outbreak in April was followed by a second in the fall. The caseload in Singapore has surged again despite that country’s decisive and widely-praised handling of the initial outbreak.
    • This being the case, businesses should be prepared for the planned re-opening to be reversed quickly by the government if the infection rate begins to surge again. In the absence of a vaccine or even reliable data on the infection rate and the lethality of the virus, the future cannot be accurately predicted. The GNCC urges businesses to cautiously plan for a re-opening, but to keep their contingency plans ready. We will have more resources available once a re-opening in Ontario is closer, and when we have more information on what that will look like.
  • Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley announced that by June 30, the pandemic is likely to have cost the Regional government $9 million in additional spending and lost revenue. Double-digit property tax increases can only be avoided by bailouts from the provincial and/or federal governments.
  • The Government of Canada has announced $306.8 million in short-term, interest-free loans and non-repayable contributions through Aboriginal Financial Institutions to be made available to indigenous-owned businesses.
  • The governments of the United States and Canada have agreed to extend the Canada-U.S. border closure by another 30 days. Essential goods and services will continue to cross the border, but recreational and tourist travel are prohibited.
  • Passengers on flights in Canada will be required to wear non-medical masks beginning on April 20 while in flight and during screenings where distances of two metres cannot be maintained. Those passengers without masks or face coverings may be denied boarding. Passengers traveling by rail or bus are also strongly encouraged to use face coverings.
  • Niagara West M.P.P. Sam Oosterhoff is conducting a survey to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the heritage, sport, tourism and culture industries. Businesses in these industries can fill out the survey here.

If you are showing symptoms, self-isolate for 14 days. Call a public health authority. Do not visit any healthcare provider in person before calling.  

It is important that everyone practice social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Remain at home unless absolutely necessary. Minimize contact with other people. Wash hands frequently and thoroughly. Avoid touching the face. Maintain a 2-meter distance from others if you are required to be out in public. If you have recently traveled outside the country, self-isolate for 14 days. This means that you must not leave your home under any circumstances. Have supplies delivered and left at your door. 

Previous updates can be accessed at 

Stay safe and be vigilant. The GNCC is here to support you. Contact us with any questions you have. 

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