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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Business Update: February 4th, 2021

In-person learning to resume in Niagara next week

Elementary and secondary schools in Niagara will return to in-person learning on Monday, February 8, 2021, along with elementary and secondary schools in all other school districts barring Peel, York, and Toronto, which will return on February 16.

The provincial state of emergency is set to expire the following day (February 9), and the stay-at-home order on February 11. The Reopening Ontario Act will expire on February 19. No indications on whether any or all of these measures will be extended have been given.

Brock, HOPA Ports aim to strengthen Niagara economy through partnership

Brock University and the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority (HOPA) Ports have formalized their partnership by signing a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The agreement will see Brock and HOPA Ports work together to provide experiential learning opportunities, including co-op placements, and to pursue research collaborations that support marine and industry needs.

Offering port and marine assets on the Great Lakes, HOPA Ports recently announced an expansion into Niagara, with plans to showcase the region’s prime access to water, road and rail transportation. The port authority develops multimodal spaces to support Ontario’s industries, facilitate trade and build prosperous working waterfronts.

Government of Ontario clarifies pet grooming business rules

After confusion had resulted from unclear guidelines on pet grooming, leading to pet groomers being open in some municipalities and closed in others, the Government of Ontario has offered clarification for pet grooming businesses.

Pet grooming businesses can only open if they are providing “strictly necessary” services to prevent an animal from requiring foreseeable and reasonably imminent veterinary care.

Businesses can also provide services if the pet owner has been required to obtain them under the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act, 2019.

Reading recommendations

Canadians working from home could cost Ottawa $260 million in lost taxes

Canadian press/Financial Post

The parliamentary budget officer says the federal government could lose out on $260 million from a simplified federal tax measure to let Canadians write off working from home due to the pandemic.

Workers who have been able to do their jobs remotely have been asked to do so since the spring as part of public health efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Normally, writing off home office expenses on tax returns requires detailed calculations and additional tax forms, but the Liberals have sought to simplify the issue and let Canadians claim deductions up to $400 depending on how many days they worked from home in 2020.

Drawing on tax data from 2018, the PBO found the number of people who wrote off home offices on their taxes amounted to about 10 per cent of those who worked from home and those people deducted about $1,550 on average.

How to Better Read COVID-19 Data

Caroline Mimbs Nyce, The Atlantic

Pandemic data can be difficult to parse and weigh. Below, two experts offer five tips for improving your COVID-19 data literacy.

In order to understand this pandemic, you need to understand the data. And that’s not always easy: Each day, a variety of local, state, and federal sources release a firehose of statistics.

Which numbers should you pay attention to and which should you absorb with a grain of salt? I asked two experts from The COVID Tracking Project, Jessica Malaty Rivera and Peter Walker, for some advice on how to get smarter about COVID-19 data. They offered five tips.

Niagara COVID status tracker

Niagara’s most up-to-date COVID statistics, measured against the targets for the various stages of the Ontario COVID-19 Response Framework, are presented below. This does not predict government policy, but is offered to give you an idea of where Niagara is situated and how likely a relaxation (or further restrictions) may be. These data are drawn daily from Niagara Region. The Grey-Lockdown level does not have its own metrics, but is triggered when the COVID-specific measurements in a Red-Control region have continued to deteriorate.

Note that the Provincewide Shutdown is not the same as the Grey-Lockdown level listed in the Ontario COVID-19 Response Framework, which has been suspended for the duration of the shutdown. Additional restrictions for businesses apply during the Shutdown. Businesses should not use the Response Framework as a guide during this time, but should instead refer to the Shutdown guidelines.

 December 18December 25January 1January 8January 15January 22January 29
Reproductive number1.
New cases per 100,000101.2267.3469.8575.8507.1295.5250.6
New cases per day (not including outbreaks)60.7178.7311.7376.9325.4182.7145.7
Percent of hospital beds occupied97%95.2%98.2%103.2%104.5%103.6%106%
Percent of intensive care beds occupied78.8%77.3%87.9%87.9%90.9%89.4%93.9%
Percentage of positive tests6.1%15.6%28.1%28.6%26.6%21.2%16.2%


  • Weekly Incidence Rate: the number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people per week
  • Percent Positivity: the number of positive COVID-19 tests as a percentage of all COVID-19 tests performed
  • Rt: the reproductive rate, or the number of people infected by each case of the virus

Information on government grants, resources, and programs, policies, forms, and posters for download and use, are available here.The GNCC is here to support you. Contact us with any questions you have.
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