Your browser is not supported

Your browser is too old. To use this website, please use Chrome or Firefox.

Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Business Update: October 30th, 2020

The Government of Ontario has provided guidance for a safe and fun Halloween for regions in Stage 3, such as Niagara.
Information on government grants, resources, and programs, as well as policies, forms, and posters for download and use, are available here.
The Government of Canada has a support page with summaries of current programs and application portals.

Vital updates:

  • The Government of Ontario has provided the following guidance for a safe and fun Halloween for regions in Stage 3, such as Niagara:
    • avoid gatherings with people outside of your household
    • stay home if you are feeling ill, even if you have mild symptoms, or if you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19
    • turn off your porch light and don’t hand out treats if you are sick, even with mild symptoms, or self-isolating
    • stay within your public health unit region
    • only go out with members of your household
    • only trick-or-treat outside
    • both trick-or-treaters and people handing out candy should wear a face covering — a costume mask is not a substitute and should not be worn over a face covering because it may make it difficult to breathe
    • do not congregate or linger at doorsteps and remember to line up two metres apart if you are waiting
    • avoid high-touch surfaces and objects, such as railings and doorbells
    • whether you are collecting or handing out treats, wash your hands often and thoroughly, or use hand sanitizer
    • Consider printing one of these posters to let your neighbours know that you are handing out treats (version 1 version 2), or these alternatives if you are not handing out treats (version 1 version 2).
  • The Ontario government is providing municipalities with $500 million through the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF). The province is maintaining the overall structure of the fund, keeping a commitment made at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario annual conference in August 2020. Municipalities are being informed of their specific 2021 funding allocations today, which will provide much needed stability and support. The OMPF is the Province’s main general assistance grant, used to support the local priorities and specific needs of 389 municipalities, with a special emphasis on northern and rural communities.
  • Niagara Health’s COVID-19 Assessment Centre in St. Catharines will be ending its drive-through service as of end of day Monday, Nov. 2. Beginning Tuesday, Nov. 3, people requiring a COVID test will access the centre through a dedicated entrance located behind the Walker Family Cancer Centre in the Outpatient Mental Health area at the St. Catharines Site. Testing at Niagara’s three Assessment Centres is available by appointment only and testing is prioritized for those most at risk for the virus.
  • On November 4, 2020, grade nine students will have the opportunity to job shadow their parent or another adult for the day, to get an up-close glimpse of work life. Take Our Kids to Work day is going virtual this year, and employers can get more information and sign up to take part here. More information, resources, and tools to promote workplace health and safety on Take Our Kids to Work day are available at Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) reminds workplaces that health and safety can still form part of their virtual programs. CCOHS recommends organizations incorporate the following activities while hosting students virtually this year:
  • Today, the Government of Canada announced that the COVID Alert app has been updated to send notifications based on a more precise timeline. With this update, users who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have entered a one-time key from their respective public health authority will now have the option to enter the date of their symptom onset or their testing date. This will provide a better estimation of the period when they may have been most infectious to others. Any information users provide about their symptom onset and testing date will stay on their phone and will not be shared. Canadians can still input their one-time key without sharing any additional information about symptom onset or testing date if they prefer. COVID Alert can be downloaded for iOS and Android here.
  • Winter at the Market will return as an in-person event at St. Catharines Market Square this year for seven weeks, every Thursday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., beginning this coming Thursday Nov. 5. Visitors can plan their trip to Winter at the Market with the handy vendor map available on the website at For fresh local produce, the St. Catharines Farmers Market will also continue to run on its regular days, Thursdays and Saturdays from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. More information, including a full list of health and safety guidelines, is available at

Reading recommendations:

  • COVID stress syndrome: 5 ways the pandemic is affecting mental health, Gordon J. G. Asmundson, The Conversation

    • In addition to its staggering impact on physical well-being and mortality, COVID-19 is also taking an unprecedented toll on our mental health. Numerous recent studies have shown global increases in the prevalence and severity of depression and anxiety as well as increases in post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse. These increases likely stem from the changes to daily life we have all been asked to make in attempts to mitigate viral spread. Yet conventional mental health approaches and diagnoses do not fully capture the nuanced mental health impacts of this pandemic.
  • Restaurants urge Ontario government to show data amid COVID-19 restrictions, Canadian Press/BNN Bloomberg
    • A group from Ontario’s restaurant industry is calling on the provincial government to explain its decision to impose tighter COVID-19 restrictions on the sector. A coalition that includes the industry association Restaurants Canada and a number of food service businesses has issued an open letter to Premier Doug Ford, asking to see what data the province relied on in setting its health measures. The letter says no data have been provided so far that would suggest restaurants are a major point of transmission for the virus. It notes restaurants have had to make significant investments in safety procedures and training, personal protective equipment and other measures, yet those in some regions are nonetheless being forced to stop serving customers indoors.
  • The dark history behind Halloween is even more chilling than you realized, Juliana Kaplan and Áine Cain, Business Insider
    • Halloween is the spookiest night of the year. It’s also a boon to the retail industry — even during a pandemic. According to the National Retail Federation, Halloween spending in the US is projected to reach $8 billion in 2020, with 58% of people planning on celebrating. But where did all these strange practices come from? Turns out, a lot of these customs date back centuries. The holiday has changed over time, transforming from an ancient tradition to the flashy fright fest we know and love today.


Niagara Economic Summit Series 2020

Where are we now, how did we get here, and where do we go? This year’s summit, taking place between November 10 and November 24, brings experts and leaders together from across the country to identify where we are economically, what our future opportunities are, and how we can seize them. Find out more and get a calendar save-the-date here.

 If you are showing symptoms, contact your health care provider, call the Public Health Info-Line at 905-688-8248, or chat to Public Health online. For testing, call 905-378-4647 ext. 42819 (4-CV19) for information on test centres in Niagara and to book an appointment.

Previous updates can be accessed here.

The GNCC is here to support you. Contact us with any questions you have.