As new information continues to be released about COVID-19, the Uptown Waterloo BIA has been working hard to gather and summarize the information to share with you, our members. We’ve posted a number of resources on our website and will continue to add more, in the coming days.
We have also been on calls and video conferences with several partners including other Ontario BIAs, City of Waterloo, Region of Waterloo, Chambers of Commerce, Public Health, Economic Development and other community leaders to share information and stay on top of things.
While our bars, restaurants (can provide takeout and delivery services) and theatres have been ordered to close, retailers can be open. To the many of you who have remained open: You are to be commended on the increased safety measures you’ve put into place to help protect your employees and customers. The BIA is being asked regularly which businesses are still open and we recently sent out a membership survey to find out, so we can post a list online. If you haven’t yet completed the survey, here is a LINK.
We are also monitoring things through your social media and website posts. The list will be available on our website today and we will continue to update it as things change.
If your business is closed, we highly recommend that you remain vigilant about your premises and check your doors, windows and cameras regularly. We have been in touch with Regional Police and they shared that they will do their best to watch for any suspicious behavior in Uptown and encourage you to reach out with concerns. They also have a great Business Security Audit document that could be of help.
Here is a helpful business safety checklist:
Keep the lights on
Remove ALL cash and receipts
Do not leave any valuables clearly visible or accessible
All safes and tills should be emptied and moved off-site for safe storage
Keep all cash drawers open to show that nothing is in the drawers
All ATM’s should be emptied and moved off-site for safe storage
All alcohol products removed from bar and put in secured storage areas (no alcohol left visible from outside)
Consider posting “NO CASH or Valuables on Premises” signage
Deactivate all scheduled door openings (e.g. cleaners, deliveries etc.)
Disconnect all kitchen gas lines from their gas source
Make regular site visits to monitor your shop/business and to manage inventory and storage conditions (consider scattering the times this is done to not establish a pattern)
We were also in touch with Uptown’s Donovan Insurance and here are a few things of note:
If you have closed your business, you can help limit water damage potential by shutting off the water.
Be aware that there may be warranties or certain limitations pertaining to your alarm systems and fire suppression systems. If these systems are disrupted or turned off, you should notify your insurance provider. If they are in normal working order, there should be no concern.
Business interruption insurance is a coverage that applies to insured peril (fire, water, wind are the three most common perils). The COVID-19 pandemic, or a closure of your business as a result, does not apply. Similarly, a street blocked for construction would not trigger this coverage.
Widespread use of technology allows document delivery by mail or electronic means and payments continue. Most insurance companies remain at work during these time to serve customers.
As you know, there have been several government announcements in the last few days about assistance that will be provided to businesses and individuals and you will find a summary below. In the coming days we will provide more information on how to apply for the assistance listed below.
The one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits will be waived for new claimants who are quarantined so they can be paid for the first week of their claim. Those who are eligible can apply online.
The Emergency Support Benefit has been introduced to support workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment. We will share details on how to apply once they are available.
A Temporary Wage Subsidy will be introduced to support businesses that are facing revenue losses and to help prevent lay-offs. The subsidy would be equal to 10% of remuneration paid during a period of time of up to three months, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer.
The Bank of Canada also took a series of actions to support the Canadian economy during this period of economic stress, enhance the resilience of the Canadian financial system, and help ensure that financial institutions can continue to extend credit to both households and businesses. This included cutting the interest rate to 0.75% as a proactive measure.
The Federal Government would like to hear from businesses who can supply products and services in support of Canada’s response to COVID-19
At present, all BIA-related events have been cancelled or postponed. As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, we will continue to monitor the situation and the advice of public health officials. We may have to make further decisions surrounding our services, events and activities in the future.
Please continue to visit our BLOG (we recently put out a message to the public on how they can support our Uptown businesses) as well as our COVID-19 Resources website page for up-to-date information.
If you have any ideas on ways we can help, please let us know.
The Uptown Waterloo BIA team