The Uptown Waterloo BIA is closely monitoring developments surrounding COVID-19 (Coronavirus) to ensure we’re doing our best to keep the health and safety of our members, organizers and community members at the forefront of any initiative.
Email communications will be sent out weekly. For the latest COVID information, please visit our website, which we continue to update regularly as soon as new information and resources become available.
Update: Wednesday, April 7, 2021
Provincial Government Update
Ontario Enacts Provincial Emergency and Stay-at-Home Order
The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is immediately declaring a third provincial emergency under section 7.0.1 (1) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMPCA). These measures are being taken in response to the rapid increase in COVID-19 transmission, the threat on the province's hospital system capacity, and the increasing risks posed to the public by COVID-19 variants.
Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, and Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health.
"The Covid-19 situation is at a critical stage and we must act quickly and decisively to stay ahead of these deadly new variants," said Premier Ford. "By imposing these strict new measures we will keep people safe while allowing our vaccination program to reach more people, starting with our high risk population and identified hot spots. Although this is difficult, I urge everyone to follow these public health measures and together we will defeat this deadly virus."
Case rates, hospitalizations, and ICU occupancy are increasing rapidly, threatening to overwhelm the health care system. The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the province have increased by 28.2 per cent between the period of March 28 and April 5, 2021. In addition, between March 28 and April 5, 2021, Ontario has seen the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care escalate by 25 per cent. While every action possible is being taken to increase capacity and continue daily surgeries and procedures, the province is reaching a tipping point.
Effective Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the government is issuing a province-wide Stay-at-Home order requiring everyone to remain at home except for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise, or for work that cannot be done remotely. As Ontario's health care capacity is threatened, the Stay-at-Home order, and other new and existing public health and workplace safety measures will work to preserve public health system capacity, safeguard vulnerable populations, allow for progress to be made with vaccinations and save lives.
In addition, the province is also strengthening public health and workplace safety measures for non-essential retail under the provincewide emergency brake. Measures include, but are not limited to:
Limiting the majority of non-essential retailers to only operate for curbside pick-up and delivery, via appointment, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., with delivery of goods to patrons permitted between 6:00 am and 9:00 pm, and other restrictions;
Restricting access to shopping malls to limited specified purposes, including access for curbside pick-up and delivery, via appointment, with one single designated location inside the shopping mall, and any number of designated locations outside the shopping mall, along with other restrictions;
Restricting discount and big box stores in-person retail sales to grocery items, pet care supplies, household cleaning supplies, pharmaceutical items, health care items, and personal care items only;
Permitting the following stores to operate for in-person retail by appointment only and subject to a 25 per cent capacity limit and restricting allowable hours of operation to between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. with the delivery of goods to patrons permitted between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.:
Safety supply stores;
Businesses that primarily sell, rent or repair assistive devices, aids or supplies, mobility devices, aids or supplies or medical devices, aids or supplies;
Rental and leasing services including automobile, commercial and light industrial machinery and equipment rental;
Optical stores that sell prescription eyewear to the public;
Businesses that sell motor vehicles, boats and other watercraft;
Vehicle and equipment repair and essential maintenance and vehicle and equipment rental services; and
Retail stores operated by a telecommunications provider or service, which may only permit members of the public to enter the premises to purchase a cellphone or for repairs or technical support.
Permitting outdoor garden centres and plant nurseries, and indoor greenhouses that engage in sales to the public, to operate with a 25 per cent capacity limit and a restriction on hours of operation to between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.
These additional and strengthened public health and workplace safety measures will be in effect as of Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 12:01 a.m.
Ontario Moving to Phase Two of COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan
The Ontario government is moving into Phase Two of its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, with a focus on reaching individuals in "hot spot" communities where COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted certain neighbourhoods. In addition, this phase will prioritize individuals with the highest-risk health conditions in April 2021. With a steady supply of the COVID-19 vaccine expected from the federal government, over nine million Ontarians will be offered their first vaccination between April and end of June 2021.
Regional Council approves $1.1M to support local economic recovery
Regional Council approved funding for two programs supporting the local business community: a COVID-Safe Ambassador Program for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and COVID-19 retrofit program for SMEs.
Both programs will be rolled out over the coming months alongside community partners, including the Greater Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce and Explore Waterloo Region. The programs are funded through the $3 million Strategic Investments for Business Supports approved by Regional Council over two years to enhance supports and services to businesses beyond COVID-19.
“Since the onset of COVID-related safety measures, businesses have been asking for increased clarity and information on how to operate safely in different stages of the Province’s framework,” said Helen Jowett, Regional Councillor and Regional Economic Development Committee Chair. “The COVID-Safe Ambassador Program is a direct response to this need and is the first of its kind in Canada. We are certain it will help increase customer confidence as our region moves into economic recovery.”
The program, which is free and voluntary for businesses, will hire and train students from local post-secondary health programs to act as ambassadors, tasked to help educate businesses. The ambassadors will be available for in-person consultations and to provide businesses with customized information and resources based on Ontario’s colour-coded stages. Businesses who work with the program’s ambassadors will receive a sticker to be displayed in the workplace’s window. The intention is to provide business owners, employees and patrons with additional confidence in the safety of the workplace.
The program has been designed by NSF International, a global public health and safety organization, in cooperation with local business organizations, and reviewed by Region of Waterloo Public Health. The first phase of the program, which is targeted to launch in early May, will support up to 5,000 SMEs across Waterloo Region.
The second program to receive funding is a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and COVID retrofit program for SMEs. Through a partnership with Explore Waterloo Region, $200,000 will go toward an existing funding program for local businesses. The funding provides businesses with compensation for the additional costs required to buy PPE and install other minor COVID-19 related retrofits.
The PPE program began earlier this year when the Federal government provided Waterloo Region with some initial funding, however the demand was higher than the funding provided.
“Local businesses requested 300 per cent more funding than was available,” said Regional Chair, Karen Redman. “As part of Regional Council’s Vision for Beyond COVID-19, the doubling of this program is part of our $3 million strategic investment through the 2021 budget to help alleviate financial pressures business owners have been forced to take on.”
More information on the COVID-Safe Ambassador Program and applications to apply for retrofit PPE funding will be available in the coming weeks.
Check our website for new resources added regularly.