COVID-19 Information – St. Catharines Tourism

COVID-19 Information

Update

April 3, 2020

  • Following advice from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, on April 3, 2020, Ontario updated the list of essential businesses that can remain open. The restrictions are aimed at further reducing contact between people and stopping the spread of COVID-19. By 11:59 p.m. Saturday, April 4, 2020, businesses that are not identified on this list must close their physical locations.
  • Niagara Region and Niagara’s 12 local area municipalities have jointly declared a State of Emergency. Declaring an emergency under s 7.0.1 (1) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act provides Niagara with all options available to protect the health and safety of Niagara residents.
  • The Ontario Government has launched a new user-friendly online portal for the public to easily access their COVID-19 lab test results. By offering faster and secure access to test results on their computer or mobile device, this portal will help ease pressures on public health units and frontline workers to provide this information so that they can better focus on containing COVID-19.
  • To support public health units’ extensive efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, Ontario is taking further action to redirect existing resources while allowing for public health units to considerably increase their capacity. Ontario is issuing a new emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, effective immediately, to provide public health units the authority and flexibility they need to make staffing decisions that support their ongoing fight against the outbreak of COVID-19, despite any collective agreements. As a result, public health units will be able to significantly expand their capacity to implement critical public health functions, such as case and contact management, through the use of volunteers, including the thousands of retired nurses and medical students who have signed up through the province’s website.

April 2, 2020

The Tourism Association of Ontario (TIAO) released its third COVID-19 industry survey. It’s important to participate as it helps TIAO build the most comprehensive picture of the very latest developments on the front-line. The survey closes Monday, April 6 at 8 a.m.

  • Two special workshops are coming up Monday, April 6 for small business owners:
    • How to Manage Your Finances and Cash Flow During this Covid-19 Crisis
      April, 9-10:30 a.m.
      The world just changed rapidly, leaving many uncertain of how they are going to survive the economic impact of Covid-19. Enterprise Toronto is hosting free webinars with Andrew Patricio of Bizlaunch on how the small business owner can manage their finances during this crisis. Register here.
    • Your COVID-19 Employment Questions Answered:
      April 6, 2-3:30 p.m.
      With the spread of COVID-19 and the partial, temporary and full closures of many businesses, we know that small business owners have questions about how to deal with their employees. Join Stephen Wolpert and Marc Kitay, partners at award-winning employment law boutique Whitten & Lublin for a session to answer questions like:

      -Am I allowed to lay my staff off during this emergency?
      -What are the consequences of doing so?
      -What if I can’t afford to rehire them when the emergency ends?
      -Are my employees eligible for employment insurance or wage subsidies?
      -If I am the owner but I am on payroll, am I eligible?
      -What steps can I take to protect myself from claims by my employees?

      Register here.
  • Ontario increased mental health support during COVID-19 with additional resources improving access to online and virtual supports.
  • The Ontario Government called on all business owners to support truck drivers when they are stopping to rest, get gas or use washrooms.
  • To enhance safety and mitigate the financial burden placed on families during this time, all patients, staff and physicians now have free parking at all Niagara Health sites. This temporary measure will continue until further notice. Niagara Health made the desiciosn to:
    • Help increase safety at Niagara Health.
    • Recognize the financial hardship that many in the community are facing at this time.
    • Support the dedicated team at Niagara Health who are going above and beyond each day to provide extraordinary patient care during this pandemic.
  • Check out the new Canada COVID-19 Support App for the the latest national updates, trusted resources, and a tool to self-assess your symptoms. Download from your device’s app store. 

April 1, 2020

  • Google committed $800+ million to support small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), health organizations and governments, and health workers on the frontline of this global pandemic.
  • The Government of Canada announced more details about the proposed Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to help employers keep people working.
    • The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy would apply at a rate of 75 per cent of the first $58,700 normally earned by employees – representing a benefit of up to $847 per week.
    • The program would be in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6, 2020.
    • Eligible employers who suffer a drop in gross revenues of at least 30 per cent in March, April or May, when compared to the same month in 2019, would be able to access the subsidy.
    • Eligible employers would include employers of all sizes and across all sectors of the economy, with the exception of public sector entities.
    • For non-profit organizations and registered charities similarly affected by a loss of revenue, the government will continue to work with the sector to ensure the definition of revenue is appropriate to their circumstances. The government is also considering additional support for non-profits and charities, particularly those involved in the front line response to COVID-19. Further details will be announced in the near term.
    • An eligible employer’s entitlement to this wage subsidy will be based entirely on the salary or wages actually paid to employees. All employers would be expected to at least make best efforts to top up salaries to 100% of the maximum wages covered.
  • The Government of Canada announced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is set to Launch on April 6. The CERB will support Canadians who have lost their income because of COVID-19 by providing $2,000 a month for up to 4 months. Some examples of support to workers provided by the CERB include:
    • Workers, including those who are self-employed, who must stop working due to COVID-19 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support.
    • Workers who lost their employment, as well as workers who are sick, quarantined or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19.
    • Working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures.

More details here.

March 31, 2020

  • The Ontario Government extended school and child care closures to fight spread of COVID-19. Public schools will remain closed to teachers until Friday, May 1, 2020, and to students until Monday, May 4, 2020.
  • Justin Trudeau has announced that the federal government is spending $2 billion to procure personal protective equipment for front-line workers. More to come.
  • The Ontario Government eased the financial burden on students and helped ensure they can complete their studies during the COVID-19 outbreak by temporarily deferring payments for Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loans and making online learning supports, including year-end exams, available to post-secondary institutions.
  • In an effort to stop the spread of #COVID19 the Ontario Government has closed all outdoor recreational amenities across province.

March 30, 2020

  • Niagara Health put out a call for new N95 masks, surgical masks and other protective equipment. Email foundation@niagarahealth.on.ca if you can donate. Learn more at: http://SupportNHF.com .
  • The Ontario government is working with businesses, volunteer organizations and non-profits to make it easier for Ontario’s seniors to self-isolate and practice physical distancing during this unprecedented time by ensuring they can receive the support they need to stay safe and healthy. The government is investing $10 million to help community organizations with the coordination of subsidized deliveries of meals, medicines and other necessities to seniors.
  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that businesses and non-profit organizations that see at least 30 per cent decrease in revenue due to COVID-19 will qualify for the Government of Canada’s 75 per cent wage subsidy program.
    • Number of employees doesn’t matter
    • Non-profits and charities, big and small, are eligible
    • Covers up to 75 per cent on the first $58,700 earned, up to $847 per week
    • Back dated to March 15, 2020
    • More to come

March 28, 2020

  • Premier Doug Ford announces new penalties to combat price gouging and hold offenders accountable for raising prices significantly on the necessary goods Ontarians need to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19.
  • The Ontario Government has announced they are limiting gatherings to no more than 5 people. Essential business, child care facilities, and families of more than 5 people are exempt. Previously, the rule was no more than 50 people.

March 27, 2020 – 7:45 p.m.
Relief from the City of St. Catharines – Today, St. Catharines City Council approved a series of measures aimed at supporting residents and businesses with the costs of municipal taxes and services as they wrestle with the financial pressures due to the COVID-19. Some of the measures The City is offering include:

  • Deferring the April 30 interim tax instalment to June 30
  • Waiving tax penalty and interest charges until June 30
  • Waiving water and wastewater penalty and interest charges until June 30
  • Waiving accounts receivable penalty and interest charges until June 30
  • Waiving charges for any cheques or pre-authorized payments returned for non-sufficient funds or payments stopped by the payer
  • Amending the 2020 final tax levy instalment dates to July 31 and October 30
  • Deferring the 2020 water and wastewater increase from April 1 to July 1

COVID-19 Economic Response Plan Update – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced additional new measures supporting small businesses dealing with the economic impacts of the pandemic to help protect jobs and pay their workers and bills during these difficult times. Part of its COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, the program includes offering qualifying small and medium businesses 75 per cent of wages to be covered, and $40,000 loans interest free, GST / HST payment deferrals until June and more. 

Announcements from Minister Lisa MacLeod – On March 26, Minister Lisa MacLeod hosted an industry stakeholder tele-town hall conference call and announced the following initiatives:

  • Re-purposing the Tourism Development Fund to the Tourism Development and Recovery Fund and increasing the fund from $500,000 to $1.5 million.
  • Working with industry partners on an online marketplace and town centre for all Ontarians to access concerts, art, digital gallery and museum tours and attraction prepurchases. The province’s initial investment of $150,000 will match community contributions to give musicians a platform to do concerts from the safety of their homes.
  • Destination Ontario is actively working on a marketing program that will let the world know that when they are ready to travel and when we are a safe environment to accept them back, we will be ready.
  • The government will be allowing all licensed restaurants, bars and pubs to sell and deliver unopened alcohol at their establishments.
  • Provided lists of hotels to MOH, MOLTC and MCCSS to be used in the event hospitals, LTC’s, VAW Centres need capacity due to social distancing. Yesterday’s economic statement earmarked $341 Million if this is required.
  • Revised film and tv industry regulations to allow contract and freelance workers to receive Ontario’s three refundable film and TV tax credits while at the same time working to streamline the time it takes to complete them.
  • For our emerging artists, the $7 million Ontario Music Fund is being retooled to get more money into their hands immediately during this crisis.
  • Each year the province invests $10 million into athletes through Quest for Gold and Sport Hosting events. Despite these postponements and cancellations this money will still be available.
  • Celebrate, OAC, OCAF or Trillium Grant will flow even if events are forced to cancel. The province will invest almost $200 Million in 2020.
  • Local libraries, community museums and our governments agencies and attractions will see their money flow very quickly so when it is safe to do so, they can open their doors again to the public.

March 26,2020
PickUpSTC – We are working on an online directory people can go to see what’s open and what services, such as take out and / or delivery, are available. Use this online form to tell us your status and details.

Bars and restaurants – The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario announced a number of temporary measures to support Ontarians and businesses impacted by the spread of COVID-19, including allowing licensed restaurants and bars in Ontario to sell alcohol with food takeout and delivery orders between the hours of 9 a.m. and 11 p.m.


Tourism St. Catharines continues to monitor and communicate important information regarding the unprecedented and rapidly changing landscape of COVID-19. We are working with industry partners and all levels of government to ensure health and safety of our guests and community.

In the days and weeks ahead we will continue to:

  • Provide exceptional service to ensure a positive ongoing customer experience.
  • Share information through our digital and social channels about how our tourism partners in St. Catharines are adapting in order to continue serving you.
  • Distribute important COVID-19 updates in a timely manner.

Niagara COVID-19 Business Impact Survey

How is COVID-19 affecting your business? Niagara’s Economic Rapid Response Team needs your input as we gather data to send directly to the provincial and federal governments. Take the survey here.


Resources

For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19:

St. Catharines Tourism Rapid Response Team

We are at the ready to address the impacts of COVID-19 on community, answering your calls and emails and working with our stakeholders and partners. Supporting our local businesses has never carried more meaning and impact than it does now. If you have any questions or need our support, please contact us:

Karen Doyle
Tourism Marketing Officer
kdoyle@stcatharines.ca
905.688.5601 ext. 1733

Karen Doyle, Tourism Marketing Officer

Rob Lapensee
Marketing Coordinator
rlapensee@stcatharines.ca
905.688.5601 ext. 1731

Rob Lapensee, Marketing Coordinator