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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: February 8th, 2021

Ontario extends stay-at-home order

In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the government is moving to a regional approach and maintaining the shutdown in the majority of the public health regions in Ontario, including the Stay-at-Home order and all existing public health and workplace safety measures. When it is safe to do so, the province will gradually transition each region from the shutdown measures to a revised and strengthened COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open (the “Framework”).

Limited in-person shopping, including non-essential stores, in Grey-Lockdown zones will be permitted with public health and safety measures, such as limiting capacity to 25 per cent in most retail settings. Retailers must therefore use the smaller of either the number of people their space can accommodate with 2 metres distancing (i.e. 1 person per 4 square metres) or 25% of the building code capacity. In addition, public health and safety measures in retail settings will be strengthened for other levels of the Framework. Individuals will also be required to wear a face covering and maintain physical distance when indoors in a business, with limited exceptions.

It is proposed that the Stay-at-Home order will continue to apply to 28 public health regions, including Niagara, until Tuesday, February 16, 2021. For Toronto, Peel and York regions, it is proposed that the Stay-at-Home order will continue to apply until Monday, February 22, 2021. Final decisions will be subject to review of the trends in public health indicators at that time.

The provincial emergency declared under s 7.0.1 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMPCA) will be allowed to terminate at  the end of February 9, 2021.

The following measures will be added to of the Framework to protect the health and safety of retail patrons and workers:

Grey-Lockdown Level

  • In person shopping permitted for retail sales, with capacity limits;
  • In addition of the previous restriction of 50 per cent capacity limit for supermarkets and other stores that primarily sell groceries, convenience stores, and pharmacies:
    • 25 per cent capacity limit for all other stores that engage in retail sales to the public, including, big box stores;
  • Curbside pick-up and delivery permitted;
  • Require store capacity limit to be posted publicly;
  • Require businesses and organizations to screen in compliance with any advice, recommendations and instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health or other public health official by, among other things:
  • Require individuals to maintain at least two metres of physical distance and wear a face covering, including when attending organized public events and other gatherings, with limited exceptions.

Red-Control Level

  • In person shopping permitted for retail services, with capacity limits;
    • 75 per cent capacity limit for supermarkets and other stores that primarily sell groceries, convenience stores, and pharmacies; and
    • 50 per cent capacity limit for all other retail businesses that engage in retail sales to the public, including big box stores;
  • Curbside pick-up and delivery permitted;
  • Require store capacity limit to be posted publicly;
  • Require all retailers and other sectors to have a safety plan and post it;
  • Require businesses and organizations to screen in compliance with any advice, recommendations and instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health or other public health official by, among other things:
  • Require individuals to maintain at least two metres of physical distance and wear a face covering, with limited exceptions.

Green-Prevent, Yellow-Protect, and Orange-Restrict Levels, and Other Sectors

Further changes to measures in the COVID-19 Response Framework (e.g. opening of additional businesses, loosening of public health and workplace measures) will be restricted for at least 28 days following the last public health unit returning to the Framework.


Fort Erie Town Council approves 2021 Budget (PDF link)

Fort Erie Town Council approved in principle the 2021 proposed budget with an increase of 0.32 per cent for the Town’s portion of the residential property tax. When the Niagara Region and the Boards of Education levies are included, the combined increase for residential taxpayers in Fort Erie is 0.90 per cent.

For the average median home (includes town homes, apartments & detached homes) assessed at $200,300, this increase translates to an additional $2.22 monthly. The assessed value is provided by MPAC and is different than the market value of homes.


Total investment in building construction increases in December

Total investment in building construction increased 1.5% in December, following three consecutive months of declines. Investment in the residential sector reached a record high of $11.1 billion.

In December, non-residential construction investment remained at $4.4 billion for the third consecutive month. Ontario reported the largest gain—up 2.0% from November—but this growth was offset by declines reported in five provinces. Investment in commercial building construction edged up 0.3% in December, driven in large part by Ontario’s growth in this sector (+3.6% to $1.1 billion). The construction of large projects, such as Amazon’s Project Python being built in Ottawa, contributed to the rise.

Investment in residential construction reached a record high in December, up 1.9% to $11.1 billion. Single-unit investment continued to show strength for the third straight month, up 2.6%. Eight provinces posted gains, with Ontario (+2.8%), Quebec (+3.1%) and Alberta (+4.6%) accounting for the majority of the growth.

The total value of investment in building construction edged up 0.3% to $46.2 billion in the fourth quarter, driven by gains in the residential sector (+5.0%). Investment in residential buildings reported a record quarter, with both single-unit (+7.9%) and multi-unit (+2.2%) investment posting gains.


Reading recommendations

Eye on Employment – February 2021

Niagara Workforce Planning Board

NWPB’s monthly Eye on Employment is a regular breakdown of the latest data from Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey. In this feature, NWPB provides you with a summary of changes in local labour market indicators month to month, and offer comparisons to historical benchmarks.

The Eye on Employment is available to read in a compact 4-page infographic PDF, which can be viewed here, or downloaded by clicking here.


What does it mean to short a stock?

Zachary Crockett, The Hustle

Late last month, a truly bizarre scene unfolded in the market.

GameStop ($GME) — a stock that began the year trading at ~$17 per share — rocketed up to $483, then came crashing back down to Earth a few days later.

The saga began when a bunch of hedge funds (“hedgies”) heavily speculated that GameStop would plummet.

The hedgies’ idea was to short the stock –– or bet against its future success. Their plan was foiled when Redditors and newly minted day traders snapped up millions of shares, momentarily sending the beleaguered consumer electronics retailer “to the moon.”


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 number1.41.81.41.11.00.70.9
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%

Definitions:

  • 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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