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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: February 18th, 2021

New Section 22 orders announced for Niagara restaurants, bars, and retailers

As of February 22nd, Niagara’s restaurants, bars, and other establishments serving food and drink must comply with a new order from Niagara Public Health, in effect until further notice. The order requires that establishments must:

  • gather contact information, symptom screening, time, and table number for every patron aged 16 or older, refuse dine-in service (indoors or outdoors) to anyone refusing to give this information, and retain records for at least a month, to be provided to an inspector or medical officer of health upon request
  • interactively screen employees for symptoms daily and retain records for at least a month
  • take all possible steps to keep employees two metres from each other and from patrons
  • keep patrons seated whenever possible
  • separate tables by two metres, or an impermeable barrier
  • provide hand sanitizer at every table and entrances/exits, with signage encouraging its use
  • make employees aware of any benefits or pay to which they may be entitled if they are required to self-isolate

The full order is accessible here (PDF link).

Retailers, malls, and other businesses selling directly to the public must:

  • ensure that two metres of distance are maintained between staff, between patrons, and each other, at all times. This does not apply to people from the same household
  • maintain two-metre distancing in all queues or line-ups
  • ensure all persons are masked unless exempted under the Reopening Ontario Act
  • conduct daily interactive symptom screening of all employees and retain records for at least a month
  • provide hand sanitizer at entrances/exits, with signage encouraging its use
  • make employees aware of any benefits or pay to which they may be entitled if they are required to self-isolate

The full order is accessible here (PDF link).

The GNCC has made resources such as screening tools and posters available on its website. You can also contact Niagara Public Health for any questions about your responsibilities under the order.

The GNCC has reached out to Niagara Public Health to ask:


Niagara College and Niagara Region to hold digital fundraising webinar

Niagara College and Niagara Region will hold a webinar on digital fundraising, focusing on:

  • Digital fundraising strategies and best practices
  • Low cost or FREE tools available to implement digital fundraising
  • Guidance on donor stewardship principles and best practices

The event will be held on February 23rd between 11am and 12pm. To register, please contact Michelle Johnston at michelle.johnston@niagararegion.ca


Empty tables don’t pay bills: new data reveals ongoing decline in food services

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce today commented on newly released data from Statistics Canada reconfirming that the food service sector has been disproportionally harmed by the ongoing pandemic.

Today’s data speaks to the stark year-over-year comparisons for the sector, revealing a precipitous drop in sales between December 2019 and December 2020:

  • Total food service sales are down over 35% ($6.5b vs $4.2b)
  • Full service restaurant sales are down over 50% ($2.9b vs $1.4b)
  • Drinking place sales are down over 64% ($221m vs $78m)

“Restaurants were some of the very first businesses to be hit by the pandemic and broad-based business restrictions last March. As this new data shows, the food services sector continues to be severely weakened,” commented Alla Drigola, Director of Parliamentary Affairs and SME Policy. “Canada’s restaurants are predominantly small businesses that have limited cash reserves and are at their debt limits. The need for targeted supports to help them weather the storm is urgent.”

An example of a targeted support includes providing a temporary and targeted consumption tax holiday to boost consumer spending for this and other hard hit sectors.

Patrick Gill, Senior Director of Tax and Financial Policy, adds: “At the very minimum, government policies right now must do no further harm to this sector. Ottawa’s looming alcohol excise tax increase, currently scheduled for April 1, would only exacerbate the challenges these businesses are facing. Freezing the alcohol tax and using tax policies to help these businesses survive – and eventually recover – is vital.”


Reading recommendations

Liberal pledge to get GST from goods in Amazon warehouses could net $600M: PBO

Canadian Press/BNN Bloomberg

The parliamentary budget officer estimates the Trudeau Liberals’ pledge to collect federal sales tax on some goods sitting in Amazon warehouses could net Ottawa just over $600 million. The extra tax revenue is spread over five years, starting this year and ramping up every year thereafter for a total of $604 million over that time.

The proposal would try to close a loophole for unsold goods foreign-based sellers ship to Canada, then house until they are sold and shipped domestically to local buyers. GST is collected on the wholesale value of the goods when they come across the border but the federal sales tax isn’t always collected by sellers when the goods are sold to consumers. That creates a gap the Liberals want to close by either making sellers registered to collect the GST do so on the final sale price, or making platforms like Amazon responsible for it instead.

The Liberals are promising to have the policy come into effect on July 1.


Why 7-Eleven’s plan to serve alcohol in Ontario sparks concern — and curiosity — in business community

Trevor Dunn, CBC News

7-Eleven’s new plan to sell wine and beer at several Ontario stores is raising both eyebrows and concern in the business community.

Already struggling with COVID-19 restrictions, Ontario bars and restaurants may soon be facing new competition from a powerful, multinational chain of convenience stores. That’s right: it will be restaurants and bars competing with 7-Eleven if its applications are successful.

The company is applying for licences to sell beer and wine for in-store consumption only. Corner store alcohol sales remain prohibited in Ontario.


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.

 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 Current23.61.1%0.8

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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