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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: April 1st, 2021

Ontario implements province-wide emergency brake

The provincewide emergency brake will be effective Saturday, April 3, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. and the government intends to keep this in place for at least four weeks. All public health units are included.

Measures include, but are not limited to:

  • Prohibiting indoor organized public events and social gatherings and limiting the capacity for outdoor organized public events or social gatherings to a 5-person maximum, except for gatherings with members of the same household (the people you live with) or gatherings of members of one household and one other person from another household who lives alone.
  • Restricting in-person shopping in all retail settings, including a 50 per cent capacity limit for supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, indoor farmers’ markets, other stores that primarily sell food and pharmacies, and 25 per cent for all other retail including big box stores, along with other public health and workplace safety measures (calculate your store’s capacity here);
  • Prohibiting personal care services;
  • Prohibiting indoor and outdoor dining. Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments will be permitted to operate by take-out, drive-through, and delivery only;
  • Prohibiting the use of facilities for indoor or outdoor sports and recreational fitness (e.g., gyms) with very limited exceptions;
  • Requiring day camps to close; and,
  • Limiting capacity at weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies to 15 per cent occupancy per room indoors, and to the number of individuals that can maintain two metres of physical distance outdoors. This does not include social gatherings associated with these services such as receptions, which are not permitted indoors and are limited to five people outdoors.

Click here to read more.

GNCC issues statement on province-wide lockdown

After a failure to contain the spread of COVID-19, Ontario will now enter a third lockdown, and frustrations continue to grow. The GNCC calls upon all levels of government to accelerate the rate of vaccination by any means available. Delays in distribution are heavy blows to businesses going through further restrictions and lockdowns while we watch our neighbours to the south being inoculated at a rapid and accelerating pace.

In the experience of the GNCC, businesses have overwhelmingly complied with restrictions in an effort to safeguard public health. At the same time, in addition to the vaccination delay, they have repeatedly expressed concerns about sudden shutdown decisions, especially when weeks of advance warning from public health officers was given. We require more sufficient testing and tracing capacity, data on the sources of community spread, and an improved vaccination strategy. The lack of clarity over when restrictions will be applied, what will be restricted, and a framework that has been modified and bypassed contributes to a climate of uncertainty in which it is very hard to sustain business.

Public health and a healthy economy are interdependent. We are asking the public sector to leverage the expertise, capacities and resources of businesses to support vaccination distribution, and improved testing and tracing capacities.

New locations for COVID-19 vaccination announced

The Ontario government is increasing capacity in its COVID-19 vaccine rollout with the addition of over 350 additional pharmacies and more primary care settings across the province. All of these locations will be offering the AstraZeneca vaccine to individuals aged 55 and over, with some locations to begin offering the vaccine as early as Saturday, April 3, 2021.

Click here to read more, or find the list of pharmacies offering the AstraZeneca vaccine as the province prepares for Phase 2 of Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout.

Government of Canada launches public engagement to hear from Canadians on access to information 

Today, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, President of the Treasury Board, launched  online public consultations with Canadians, Indigenous peoples, and other interested stakeholders on Canada’s Access to Information Review.

The access to information review will build on targeted changes made to the Access to Information Act in 2019.

Click here to read more.

Niagara Health President asks public to remain vigilant over long weekend

COVID-19 variants of concern are circulating in Niagara and impacting younger populations. Intensive Care Units in Ontario are seeing younger patients with more severe cases of COVID-19. Today, Critical Care Services Ontario reported the highest number of patients in the ICUs – 430 – since the pandemic began.

As we head into the long weekend, it’s important we remain vigilant with public health measures, including masking, physical distancing and hand washing, to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Click here to read more.

Statistics Canada study shows 90% of new teleworkers reported being at least as productive as before

At the beginning of 2021, 32% of Canadian employees aged 15 to 69 worked most of their hours from home, compared with 4% in 2016.

Of all new teleworkers, 90% reported being at least as productive, i.e., accomplishing at least as much work per hour, at home as they were previously at their usual place of work.

More than half (58%) reported accomplishing about the same amount of work per hour, while roughly one-third (32%) reported accomplishing more work per hour.

Employees who reported accomplishing less work per hour while working from home identified different barriers to productivity.

About one in five of those who reported being less productive than prior to the pandemic reported a lack of interaction with co-workers as the main reason why they accomplished less work per hour. Close to 20% reported having to care for children or other family members. The remainder faced different challenges, such as accessing work-related information or devices (11%), having to do additional work to get things done (13%), having an inadequate physical work space (10%), or experiencing difficulty with Internet speed (5%).

Click here to read more.

Reading recommendations

Ontario imposes province-wide ’emergency brake’ as 3rd wave of COVID-19 hits hard

Adam Carter, CBC News

The Ontario government is imposing a province-wide “emergency brake” starting Saturday, but stopped short of a stay-at-home order, despite modelling showing such a measure could significantly curb the surge in COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations.

In hotspot regions like Toronto, the new measures are very similar to restrictions that are already in place. At a news conference Thursday afternoon, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that the province did not issue a stay-at-home order like the one from the start of the year, because officials saw then that it had “tremendous ill effect on children and adults.”

When asked why his government started to ease measures just a few short weeks ago before shutting things back down again, Ford said it was due to “a combination of things,” such as local officials pushing for things to reopen, and an inconsistent supply of vaccines.

Ontario locks down with virus ‘killing faster and younger’

Danielle Bochove, Derek Decloet, Bloomberg News

Ontario declared a four-week state of emergency after hitting a record for the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care, driven by virus strains that are more contagious and dangerous.

Ontario joins a growing number of locations, including France and Italy, that are returning to strict limits on social interactions in an effort to slow the latest virus surge. Even as vaccinations continue, not every area has equal access. Novel variants are hastening the spread, and case rates are rising in many regions.

Niagara COVID status tracker (March 21-27)

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 the most recent published by 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.

▲: Metric has increased since last published measurement

▼: Metric has decreased since last published measurement

 Incidence ratePercent positivityRt
Target: Green<10<0.5%<1
Target: Yellow10-24.90.5-1.2%1
Target: Orange25-39.91.3-2.4%1-1.1
Target: Red≥40≥2.5%≥1.2
Niagara Current154.2 ▲7.4% ▲1.2 ▼


  • 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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