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COVID-19 Resources for Businesses

Posted in News & Updates

Orders under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act

Niagara Region Public Health is putting additional health measures in place in order to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

Dr. M. Mustafa Hirji, Medical Officer of Health (Acting) for Niagara Region has issued orders under Section 22 for:

Orders issued on Feb. 18 will take effect for shopping malls, retail businesses, and food and drink premises in Niagara on Feb. 22.

Indoor and outdoor sit down dining isn't currently permitted in Niagara while the provincewide emergency brake is in effect.

Orders under Section 22

  • Shopping and retail
    All owners / operators of shopping malls and businesses that engage in retail sales to the public, including stores within a shopping mall in Niagara must:
    - Actively monitor compliance with the required capacity limits set in the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020, S.O. 2020, c.17 and applicable regulations for the shopping mall, business, place, facility, or premise under your control, and ensure that physical distancing of two metres is maintained by patrons, store staff and mall staff in all common areas, stores, washrooms, hallways, entrances, etc., at all times.

    - Actively manage all line-ups or groups of patrons congregating and ensure all patrons waiting in line-ups inside or outside the shopping mall or retail store under your control maintain physical distancing of at least two metres.

    - Actively monitor compliance and ensure that all patrons, store staff and mall staff, whether inside the mall or retail store under your control, or in the vicinity of a line-up outside the mall or retail store under your control, wear a mask or face covering in a manner that covers their mouth, nose and chin unless entitled to an exception from this requirement in the Reopening Ontario Act.

    - Conduct daily interactive screening of all employees for symptoms of COVID-19, using the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Screening Tool for Workplaces, or another tool with the same minimum set of questions, such as the COVID-19 Screening Tool developed by Niagara Region Public Health. Answers to daily screens must be collected and retained for at least one month.

    - Ensure the workplace is arranged to help employees keep two metres distance from each other and from patrons at all times. For example, spacing of stations and visual cues. For emphasis, employees on breaks should keep two metres distance from each other.

    - Provide sufficient alcohol-based hand rub (minimum alcohol concentration of 70 per cent) at every entrance and exit of the establishment, with prompting to use it upon entry and exit.

    - To encourage honest and forthright reporting of COVID-19 symptoms and / or contact amongst employees, ensure that all employees are aware of any benefits and / or pay to which they may be entitled to if they must isolate due to symptoms of COVID-19, being tested for COVID-19, or being a contact of COVID-19.

    - Comply with all other requirements that apply to your business, place, facility or establishment as set out under the Reopening Ontario Act and the applicable regulations.

    - Follow all further instructions from Niagara Region Public Health pertaining to COVID-19 that apply to your premise

    - Ensure all stores within the shopping mall set a maximum capacity limit that's consistent with required capacity limits set in the Reopening Ontario Act, and its regulations. Monitor the capacity limit to ensure physical distancing of at least two metres is maintained by patrons, store staff and mall staff at all times.

    For greater certainty, nothing in this order is intended to require persons who are members of the same household to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from each other while in a place of business or facility

  • Food and drink premises
    All owners / operators of food premises, including bars, restaurants, banquet halls, wineries or breweries, including ones where only beverages are served within Niagara must:
    - Record the following information from every patron who is 16 years of age or older that enters an indoor or outdoor dining area in the establishment, other than patrons who briefly enter the area to place, pick up, or pay for a takeout order:
          - Name
          - One form of contact information (phone number, email address, physical address)
          - Time of arrival and departure
          - Table number or location
          - Attestation that the patron doesn't suffer from any COVID-19 symptoms, excluding those from a chronic non-contagious existing diagnosis)
          - Attestation that the patron is joining a table with only household members and / or a maximum of two persons who are essential to maintaining physical
          and mental health. For example, caregivers or social supports to someone who lives alone

    - Don't serve patrons for indoor or outdoor dining on the premises if they don't provide information for the above records.

    - Retain the above records for a period of at least one month, and ensure the records are maintained and stored in a secure manner to preserve privacy of patrons, and appropriately and securely destroyed after the one month retention of those records has elapsed.

    - Disclose the records to a medical officer of health or an inspector under the Health Protection and Promotion Act on request, or as otherwise required by law.

    - Conduct daily interactive screening of all employees for symptoms of COVID-19, using the Ministry of Health's COVID-19 Screening Tool for Workplaces, or another tool with the same minimum set of questions, such as the COVID-19 Screening Tool developed by Niagara Region Public Health. Answers to daily screens should be collected and retained for at least one month.

    - Ensure the workplace is arranged to help employees keep two metres distance from each other and from patrons at all times. For example, spacing of stations and visual cues. For emphasis, employees on breaks should keep two metres distance from each other.

    - Ensure that patrons are seated at all times, except while:
          - Entering the area and moving to their table
          - Placing or picking up an order
          - Paying for an order
          - Exiting the area
          - Going to or returning from a washroom
          - Lining up to do anything stated above
          - Necessary for the purposes of health and safety
    - Ensure that patrons seated at different tables are separated by a distance of at least two metres, or by plexiglass or some other impermeable barrier.

    - Provide sufficient alcohol-based hand rub (minimum alcohol concentration of 70 per cent) at every table, and at the entrance and exit of the establishment, with prompting to use it upon entry and exit.

    - To encourage honest and forthright reporting of COVID-19 symptoms and / or contact amongst employees, ensure that all employees are aware of any benefits and / or pay to which they may be entitled to if they must isolate due to symptoms of COVID-19, being tested for COVID-19, or being a contact of COVID-19.

    Sample food and drink premise patron logs

Failure to comply with these orders is an offence for which you may be liable, on conviction, to a fine of not more than $5,000 for every day or part of each day on which the offence occurs or continues.

Learn more about the Section 22 orders

Updates

Support for Businesses

Mental Health Resources

PPE Supplies

St. Catharines Rapid Response Team

Business Resources

Contacts

Updates

May 13

  • The Ontario government is providing one‐time payments of $10,000 to $20,000 to support eligible small tourism and travel businesses struggling to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic through the new $100-million Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant.

    This grant will support eligible small tourism and travel businesses that did not receive the Ontario Small Business Support Grant (OSBSG), such as travel agents, hotels, motels, resorts, and bed and breakfasts. To qualify, businesses must have fewer than 100 employees and demonstrate they have experienced a minimum 20 per cent revenue decline between 2019 and 2020.

    Read More   Apply Now

May 12

  • Ontario has administered first doses of the COVID-19 vaccines to over 50 per cent of Ontarians aged 18 and over. Over one million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Ontario since the start of May, and the province remains on track to have administered first doses to 65 per cent of Ontarians aged 18 and over by the end of May.

    Read More

  • The Ontario government has launched a new rapid testing portal to make it easier for all essential businesses to access free rapid testing to help keep employees and their families safe.

    Businesses are encouraged to participate in the program by registering at ontario.ca/testingonsite. It provides free rapid antigen screening kits to help screen for asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 that might otherwise be missed.

    Read More     Register

May 11

  • Effective today, Ontario will be pausing the rollout and administration of first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine at this time.

    This decision was made out of an abundance of caution due to an observed increase in the rare blood clotting condition, known as vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT), linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine. The decision to pause is also based on the increased and reliable supply of the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines and the downward trend in cases.

    Based on the much higher risks of COVID-19 infection recently observed in Ontario including hospitalization, serious illness and death, we maintain that those who received their first dose with the AstraZeneca vaccine did absolutely the right thing to prevent illness, and to protect their families, loved ones and communities.

    Read More


May 10

  • As of Tuesday, May 11, 2021 at 8:00 a.m., individuals with at-risk health conditions such as dementia, diabetes and sickle cell disease, as well as Group Two of people who cannot work from home including grocery store, restaurant and transportation workers will be eligible to book an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

    Group Two also includes workers in manufacturing industries directly involved in supporting the COVID-19covid 19 response, construction (including infrastructure) and other essential businesses and services where facilities are at heightened risk for COVID-19covid 19 outbreaks and spread. The full Group Two list is available here.

    In addition, effective Thursday, May 13, 2021, at 8:00 a.m., individuals turning 40 and over in 2021 in non-hot spot communities will also be eligible to book an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at a mass immunization clinic.

    Read More   Book your Vaccine

  • Premier Doug Ford is discussing extending the Stay-at-Home order another two weeks to June 2.

  • On Saturday (May 8), Niagara Health’s COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic at Seymour-Hannah Sports and Entertainment Centre in St. Catharines surpassed 100,000 vaccine doses administered since opening earlier this year.

    Read More

May 7

  • The Ontario government, in partnership with the federal government and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, has launched the COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative for small and medium-sized businesses across the province.

    The COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative will provide free rapid antigen tests for employees of small and medium-sized businesses through participating local chambers of commerce and other organizations. The program will screen for asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in the workplace that might otherwise be missed, helping to keep workers and their families safe and businesses open.

    Read More

May 6

  • Niagara Regional Polie have laid charges related to a weekend lockdown protest at the St. Catharines Cenotaph on St. Paul Street West.

    Read More

  • Health Canada has announced it has approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for people as young as 12 years old.

  • People aged 50 and up across Ontario are among a number of new groups who can book a vaccine appointment starting today.

    Read More Book your Vaccine

May 5

  • The Ontario government is further expanding its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan with the launch of mobile vaccine units for small to medium-sized businesses in hot spot communities. These mobile units will begin offering vaccinations in Toronto, York and Peel at select businesses that have employees who cannot work from home and have a history or risk of outbreaks.

    Read More

May 3

  • Ontario has expands COVID-19 vaccination booking to include individuals aged 18 and over in hotspots.

    As of 8 a.m. today, (May 3) individuals who are 18 and over in 2021 and live in one of the 114 hot spot communities, including the L2G postal code area in Niagara Falls) are eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment at a mass immunization clinic through the provincial online booking system or directly through public health units that use their own booking system.

    Read More

Support for Businesses

St. Catharines Rapid Response Team

Business Resources

Contacts


St. Catharines Rapid Response Team

Our Economic Development Team is working with Federal and Provincial government to find out more about how and when businesses will be able to access funding and advocating for a quick turnaround to get money to individuals and businesses. Businesses can reach our team at edceconomic@stcatharines.ca.

We continue to support our business community with the following initiatives:

  • Monitoring the situation and keeping you informed of any and all changes to the industry;
  • Observing and adjusting the marketing message in response to the changing situation;
  • Sustaining an active presence on social and digital platforms to share information with consumers about your state of business;
  • Collaborating with industry partners to design a strategy and ensure alignment of efforts; and
  • Continuing to provide exceptional service to ensure ongoing customer experience

We are also part of the the Niagara Economic Rapid Response Team, an effort by Niagara’s Mayors and Regional Chair to support local businesses impacted by COVID-19. More details on this as well as supports for businesses can be found here.


Business Resources


Here are more resources to help your business cope with COVID-19:

How businesses can cope with COVID-19

With public health officials warning people to avoid large crowds to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus and COVID-19 businesses can expect to face some challenges as we work our way through this evolving situation.

Here is some advice from the St. Catharines Enterprise Centre that businesses can use to help adapt to this challenging situation.

  • Look after your employees
    They are your biggest asset so it makes sense to support them in any way that you can and help them to navigate applications for employment insurance claims if required.

  • Review your health and safety protocols
    Enhance already careful sanitizing and cleaning measures and increase frequency. Instruct staff to stay home if they have even minor symptoms (cough, fever, sore throat, or generally feeling unwell).

  • Communicate with your customers
    Step up your communications with your customers. Keep them informed of any operational changes that you make, remind them of your hours of operation, and offer to help them. Be a trusted and helpful resource for your customers.

  • Check your financials
    Have conversations with landlords, creditors, suppliers and others about what options are available.

  • Adapt
    What adjustments can you make to adapt your services to the needs of your customers? Can you offer online shopping? Is free delivery or in-store / curbside pickup an option? Can you meet online instead of in person? Small changes can make a big difference and help keep your business going.

    Gift cards are a great way for you to keep generating revenue now when volume is down and gives the customer something to use when regular business practises resume.

  • Watch your marketing
    While it's important to adapt marketing campaigns to this ever-evolving situation, avoid unreasonable and unsustainable offers to attract immediate sales and customers for a short-term gain. It is still important to focus on the future and stay the course.

    Participate in shop local and shop small campaigns such as #ShopSTC. Make an effort to support other small businesses. Can you make purchases from your neighbouring businesses? Can you offer sensible joint promotions?

  • Revisit your business plan
    Use downtime to make your business better. Take a look at the things you've been putting off, such as improving your CRM system, updating your website and developing a far-reaching online ad campaign. Planning now means you'll be ready to go when things stabilize.

Contacts

City of St. Catharines
Citizens First, Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
www.stcatharines.ca
citizensfirst@stcatharines.ca
905.688.5600 

Alectra
Business Inquiries
1.833.253.2872
alectrautilities.com/AskUs

Province of Ontario
Stop the Spread Business Information Line
1.888.444.3659

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