Everyone is beginning to feel the impacts of COVID-19. We have been receiving several phone calls and e-mails from operators across the province who are looking for advice on how to best prepare their businesses during this pandemic. On this page, you will find links to inforgraphics NOTO has created to provide operators with information on COVID-19, prevention measures, and tips on how to prepare their businesses, links to our COVID-19 newsletters, and a Q&A section featuring questions we've been receiving from operators either by phone or via e-mail. We hope that you all find this page resourceful.
NOTO would like to hear from industry about any cancellations, concerns you or your clients may have surrounding COVID-19, or any other impacts you may be noticing. We would like to stay up-to-date on all developments to keep members and Government informed.
This page will be updated regularly as the situation unfolds. *Last updated March 27, 2020.
Provincial and Federal Government Information & Updates
The Ontario and Federal Governments are regularly updating COVID-19 information, travel information, Minister statements, Government initiatives and statistics on their websites. For additional information from the Ontario or Federal Government, please click on the links below.
Government News Updates:
Update From CBSA: "Temporary foreign workers, some international students and approved permanent residents who haven’t yet landed are now able to enter Canada."
- Increased the wage subsidy from 10% to 75% per employee back dated to March 15th.
- The new Canadian Emergency Business Account which will provide up to 40,000$ in loans to businesses who qualify (1st year interest free) with up to 10,000$ forgivable to qualifying businesses
- Defer GST, HST payments, and duties and taxes owed on imported goods until June.
Federal Health Minister has enacted the Quarantine Act which makes it mandatory for any international travellers to undergo quarantine. Anyone caught in violation of this act will face charges and potential imprisonment.
Hydro Price Freeze (March 24): Ontario's hydro prices to remain on off-peak rates for 45 days.
Ontario's Essential Services List (March 24): Accommodations of any kind have been deemed "essential".
Work Permits: Government is encouraging individuals to apply for work permits online. Due to service disruptions related to COVID-19, they are experiencing difficulties receiving and processing applications submitted by mail or in person at a VAC.
- workers who must stop working due to COVID19 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support.
- 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.
- workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work.
- wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance.
Other Resources Operators May Find Helpful
Businesses affected by the situation are asked to contact their local economic development officer. The Federal Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages team is also ready to assist if need be. Please note the following:
- The six Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) have been given more tools and flexibility to help local businesses deal with economic difficulties. They will help them deal with the immediate impact of COVID-19 on their operations by allowing, for example, deferred repayment, advance payments or reimbursement of legitimate claims.
- The RDAs will reallocate marketing efforts to support local and regional tourism, taking into account the latest advice from health agencies. Destination Canada is also closely monitoring the global situation and adjusting its marketing strategy accordingly, a central part of which is promoting domestic tourism.
Destination Canada put together a COVID-19 page where anyone in the tourism industry can find an update on their activities and initiatives, links to Federal Support Programs and other relevant information sources regarding COVID-19 that may impact various areas of your business.
FedNor is closely monitoring the COVID-19 global challenge and the potential impact it could have on your business and your workers, as well as the broader economy. They have compiled a list of key federal departments and business associations websites to help you take full advantage of available services.
1) What can I tell my guests if they have concerns?
- Share with them any additional precautions you are taking. This can include sharing information on COVID-19, prevention measures you have taken and enhanced cleaning protocols. You are welcome to use the infographic in the link above.
- Emphasize that your facilities are away from highly populated areas. You are located in a clean, natural environment with little to no contact with other individuals.
- Provide your guests with travel tips:
- Have liquid hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes in your vehicle.
- Use disposable gloves when pumping gas and dispose of gloves when finished.
- Wash your hands before and after each travel stop.
- Bring garbage bags to dispose of used wipes, tissues, gloves and food items inside your vehicle and deposit into garbage receptacles at each travel stop.
- Plan ahead and bring food to avoid eating in restaurants.
- Have liquid hand sanitzer and disinfectant wipes in your carry-on.
- Wipe down frequently touched surfaces in and around your seating area. Dispose of used wipes and wash/sanitize your hands once you are done.
- Use alternative flights that avoid major international airports.
- You can also direct guests to travel information from various websites: Government of Canada, World Health Organization, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Keep an eye on where the virus has been confirmed and avoid new marketing initiatives in high risk regions.
- Emphasize that your businesses are located in isolated outdoor environments, away from highly populated areas in Ontario if appropriate.
- You may wish to spend more dollars in marketing domestically to fill vacancies.
- Contact the destination marketing organization in your region for advice as well as potential new marketing initiatives and opportunities.
- Check with Destination Ontario to leverage their marketing campaigns.
- We advise against discounting your packages in any new marketing campaigns. You are providing a healthy and safe vacation destination option.
- Review and acknowledge your existing cancellation policies
- Propose the possibility of postponing cancellations until closer to their trip dates and suggest a time frame to check back with you
- Offer to carry over the deposit to 2021 season
- Some opertators have mentioned that they are currently moving reservations over by a month and extending their operating season into the fall. This may be something you may want to consider.
- Be open with potential staff during the interview process
- Let them know the start date will be determined at a later date.
- Discuss the "normal" procedures and start dates
- Encourage them to take the time to take any online training in advance of their start date so that they will be ready to get to work as soon as you are able to open
5) Should I continue my work permit application?
Yes. We encourage all operators to continue their work permit applications during this time. Please note: the Government is encouraging individuals to apply for work permits online. Due to service disruptions related to COVID-19, they are experiencing difficulties receiving and processing applications submitted by mail or in person at a VAC.