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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Business Update: September 30th, 2020

The Ontario government today released updated COVID-19 modelling which shows the province is experiencing a second surge in cases similar to what other jurisdictions have experienced
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:

  • The Ontario government today released updated COVID-19 modelling which shows the province is experiencing a second surge in cases similar to what other jurisdictions have experienced. Cases are currently doubling approximately every 10 to 12 days. The growth in cases was initially in the 20 to 39 age group, but cases are now climbing in all age groups. The GNCC advises all businesses and non-profits to:
    • Strictly adhere to all public safety legislation and guidelines, including Regional mask bylaws, gathering patron contact information, and employee screening, as well as physical distancing and hand-washing, etc.
    • Prepare for the possibility of additional restrictions in the coming weeks, including a potential rollback to Stage 2 of the provincial re-opening framework.
  • Niagara Health President Lynn Guerriero has confirmed that the second wave of COVID-19 has arrived, and reassured the public that Niagara Health has been carefully planning for a second wave of the virus. The St. Catharines Site will be the dedicated COVID-19 site for inpatient acute and critical care. A regional model of care developed with hospitals in our LHIN region, which includes Hamilton, Burlington and Brantford, will support a coordinated response to caring for COVID-19 positive patients, particularly during times when there may be a surge in cases of COVID-19. Safety enhancements are in place for everyone who comes into our buildings. Among them:
    • Staff, physicians, patients and visitors are screened for COVID-19.
    • Masking is mandatory.
    • Signage is in place to maintain physical distancing in waiting rooms, elevators and other common areas.
    • Niagara Health has introduced a number of virtual care offerings to patients to reduce the need for them to come to the hospital in person.
  • The Government of Ontario now requires screening for any workers or essential visitors entering the work environment. This does not include patrons entering a workplace (e.g., customers entering a grocery store, restaurant, bar or other food or drink establishment). It also excludes emergency services or other first responders entering a workplace for emergency purposes. Further, essential workers who travel outside for Canada for work purposes should not be excluded entry on this basis alone. Screening should occur before or when a worker enters the workplace at the beginning of their day or shift, or when an essential visitor arrives. Anyone who does not pass screening should be advised that they should not enter the workplace and should self-isolate and call their health care provider or Telehealth Ontario. Template screening tools are available from Niagara Region in colour and black-and-white (PDF links).
  • A handful of Ontario craft breweries and distilleries have joined forces with Niagara College to establish student awards aimed at increasing diversity in both academic programs and the province’s beverage industry as a whole. The awards, which include both scholarships and bursaries covering partial and full tuition, have been created specifically for students who are Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) and enrolling in the College’s Brewmaster and Brewery Operations, Artisan Distilling, and Winery and Viticulture Technician programs.
  • The Ontario government has developed a $2.8 billion COVID-19 fall preparedness plan aimed at ensuring the province’s health care, long-term care and education systems are prepared for the immediate challenges of the fall, including a second wave of COVID-19 and the upcoming flu season, entitled Keeping Ontarians Safe: Preparing for Future Waves of COVID-19. The plan includes:
    • $1.376 billion to enhance and expand efforts to test, trace and isolate new cases of COVID-19
    • $70 million to purchase and distribute flu vaccines
    • $26.5 million to purchase and administer additional flu vaccine doses if required
    • $2 million to purchase additional antiviral medication to support outbreak management of influenza in institutions
    • $30 million to identify and contain COVID-19 outbreaks
    • $283.7 million to assist the health system’s ongoing efforts to reduce surgery backlogs
    • $457.49 million to ensure that the health system is prepared to respond to any waves or surges of COVID-19 without interrupting routine health services
    • $52.5 million to recruit, retain and support over 3,700 more frontline health care workers and caregivers
  • How comfortable are you attending in-person events? The GNCC is conducting a survey to assess our members’ current attitude towards events held in person. The GNCC has been holding all of its own events virtually since March. The survey contains 3-6 questions, depending on your answers, and should take no more than 1-2 minutes to complete.

Reading recommendations:

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.

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, wear a mask or face covering. 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.

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