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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Business Update: July 20th, 2020

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.

Vital updates:

  • On Friday, July 24th, Niagara will move into Stage 3 of the provincial re-opening framework. Gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 50 people indoors and a maximum of 100 people outdoors, with physical distancing in place. Gathering limits apply to all social gatherings and events, as well as some higher risk activities and venues. Gathering limits do not apply to settings such as beaches, parks, restaurants and bars, but measures to enable physical distancing may limit capacity at any given time.
  • Nearly all businesses and public spaces can gradually reopen as regions enter Stage 3, with public health and workplace safety restrictions in place, while some high-risk venues and activities will remain closed until they can safely resume operations. The following businesses and activities will remain closed, even in Stage 3:
    • Amusement parks and water parks
    • Buffet-style food services
    • Dancing at restaurants and bars, other than by performers hired by the establishment who follow specific requirements
    • Overnight stays at camps for children
    • Private karaoke rooms
    • Prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports
    • Saunas, steam rooms, bath houses and oxygen bars
    • Table games at casinos and gaming establishments
  • If your business is not listed above, you may re-open in Stage 3. Physical distancing must be maintained in your business. You must also comply with any local restrictions such as the St. Catharines and Niagara-on-the-Lake mask bylaws.
  • Premier Ford has stated, and legal experts have confirmed, that businesses are within their rights to refuse service to anyone who does not wear a mask. The Occupational Health and Safety Act clearly gives companies an obligation to protect their employees from all reasonable or foreseeable risks of harm, including COVID-19. Businesses may not demand proof of exemption to a mask requirement under local bylaws, but they may also refuse service to anyone claiming such an exemption if they do not feel they can safely accommodate a customer without a mask. Any threat of legal action is likely highly over-rated as a person would have to prove before a court that they had a disability protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code that prohibited them from wearing a mask, and even in such a case, the Code conflicts with the OHSA. Businesses should also be aware that “exemption cards” being carried and shown by some people are fraudulent and do not carry any legal force.

Reading recommendations:


If you are showing symptoms, you must self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days. Call a public health authority immediately. Do not visit any healthcare provider in person before you have been directly advised to by public health authorities.

Remember that a COVID-19 test is only a snapshot of your health on the specific date and time the swab was taken. No testing is perfect and a negative result doesn’t mean you haven’t been exposed to COVID-19. You can still develop symptoms days after your test was taken.

It is important that everyone practice physical distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Maintain a 2-metre distance from other people. When maintaining distance is impossible, use a face mask. Wash hands frequently and thoroughly. Avoid touching the face. If you have recently traveled outside the country, you are legally required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Previous updates can be accessed here.

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