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COVID-19 Information for Businesses

Link to the Government of Canada Epidemiological summary of COVID-19

Direct link to the Ontario Newsroom 

Direct link to the Provincal Emergency Order

Direct link to Provincial COVID-19 Zone identification and health measures details.

Media Releases Province

Additional measures needed to protect health system capacity and save lives during third wave of COVID-19

exerpt April 7, 2021 The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is immediately declaring a third provincial emergency under s 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.

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. 


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. 


Keeping schools and child care open is critical to the mental health and well-being of Ontario children and youth. Schools and child care will remain open for in-person care and learning in public health regions where it is permitted, with strict safety measures in place.


As part of Phase Two of its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, people living in regions with the highest rates of transmission will be prioritized to receive a vaccine, starting with the most at-risk in the Peel and Toronto public health regions. 

The government will also extend booking for COVID-19 vaccination appointments to more age groups through its provincial booking system, for public health regions with highly impacted neighbourhoods, on Friday, April 9, 2021. Booking eligibility will be extended to include individuals aged 50 and over for COVID-19 vaccination appointments at mass immunization clinics in high-risk areas as identified by postal code, using the provincial booking system.

Workplace Inspections

Health and safety inspectors and provincial offenses officers will increase inspections and enforcement at essential businesses in regional hot zones to continue protecting essential workers while on the job. .

Rapid Testing

Rapid testing continues to be deployed in workplaces for asymptomatic staff in key sectors such as manufacturing, warehousing, supply chain, mining, construction and food processing. 

Ontario Implements Provincewide Emergency Brake 

April 1, 2021 The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is imposing a provincewide emergency brake as a result of an alarming surge  in case numbers and COVID-19 hospitalizations across the province. The provincewide emergency brake will be effective Saturday, April 3, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. and the government intends to keep this in place for at least four weeks.

The provincewide emergency brake would put in place time-limited public health and workplace safety measures to help to stop the rapid transmission of COVID-19 variants in communities, protect hospital capacity and save lives. Measures include, but are not limited to:

  • Prohibiting indoor organized public events and social gatherings and limiting the capacity for outdoor organized public events or social gatherings to a 5-person maximum, except for gatherings with members of the same household (the people you live with) or gatherings of members of one household and one other person from another household who lives alone.
  • Restricting in-person shopping in all retail settings, including a 50 per cent capacity limit for supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, indoor farmers' markets, other stores that primarily sell food and pharmacies, and 25 per cent for all other retail including big box stores, along with other public health and workplace safety measures;
  • Prohibiting personal care services;
  • Prohibiting indoor and outdoor dining. Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments will be permitted to operate by take-out, drive-through, and delivery only;
  • Prohibiting the use of facilities for indoor or outdoor sports and recreational fitness (e.g., gyms) with very limited exceptions;
  • Requiring day camps to close; and,
  • Limiting capacity at weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies to 15 per cent occupancy per room indoors, and to the number of individuals that can maintain two metres of physical distance outdoors. This does not include social gatherings associated with these services such as receptions, which are not permitted indoors and are limited to five people outdoors.

The current COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open, will be paused when the provincewide emergency brake comes into effect.

More details on the COVID-19 shutdown: enhanced public health and workplace safety measures |

Media Releases from RCDHU

Ontario Government Introduces Provincewide Shutdown Ahead of Easter Weekend

RDCHU shutdown infographicApril 1, 2021 Media Release from the RCDHUToday, the Ontario Government announced the implementation of a provincewide shutdown, effective Saturday, April 3, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., for at least four weeks.

“Although Easter is a time to celebrate with family and friends, it will not be possible this year. Travel restrictions and minimal groupings are essential to avoid disastrous results from what is usually a social weekend. We want to thank all residents, business operators and others in advance, for your support in keeping our communities safe,” states Dr. Robert Cushman, Acting Medical Officer of Health, RCDHU.

The current COVID-19 response framework will be paused when the provincewide shutdown comes into effect. This means that regional colour zones are not in effect currently. The impacts of these new measures will be evaluated over the next four weeks to determine if it is safe to lift any restrictions or if they need to be extended.

The provincewide shutdown measures include, but are not limited to:

All events and social gatherings

  • Indoors: not allowed, except with members of your household (or one other household if you live alone). It is illegal to gather indoors with anyone you do not live with.
  • Outdoors: 5 people.

In person shopping limits:

  • Supermarkets and other stores that primarily sell groceries, convenience stores and pharmacies: 50% capacity.
  •  All other retail (includes discount and big box retailers, liquor stores, cannabis stores, hardware stores and garden centres): 25% capacity.
  • Curbside pick-up and delivery permitted, including for cannabis stores.

Restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments

  • Open: take-out, drive-through, and delivery.
  • Closed: all indoor and outdoor service.

Religious, wedding and funeral services

  • Indoors: 15% capacity of the room.
  • Outside: the number of people that can keep two metres physical distance from each other.
  • This does not apply to receptions, which have different capacity limits.

Sports and recreational fitness facilities such as sports and recreational fitness, locker rooms, change rooms, showers and clubhouses) are closed.

Personal care services, bingo halls, casinos, gaming establishments, cinemas, and performing arts facilities are closed.

Quick Reference Materials for Businesses from RCDHU

Develop your Workplace COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan (website page with template)
Ontario COVID-19 Signage Questions for Businesses and Organizations (Feb 26, 2021)
Ontario COVID-19 Worker and Employee Screening Tool (Feb 27, 2021 website redirect)
Ontario COVID-19 Customer Screening Tool (Feb 27, 2021 website redirect)
RCDHU COVID-19: Infection Prevention and Control Checklist for Reopening of Workplaces

General Business Support Information

Federal Business Support

Government of Canada COVID-19 Financial Assistance (website)
Business Benefits Finder (website)

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)
Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

UPDATE:   As of December 4, 2020, CEBA loans for eligible businesses will increase from $40,000 to $60,000.
Applicants who have received the $40,000 CEBA loan may apply for the $20,000 expansion, which provides eligible businesses with an additional $20,000 in financing.  All applicants have until March 31, 2021, to apply for $60,000 CEBA loan or the $20,000 expansion.

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)
Regional Relief and Recovery Fund 
Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) Fact Sheet

Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) 
Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)
Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)

Canada United Small Business Fund 
Business Credit Availability Program 

Provincial Business Support 

COVID-19 in Ontario (website)

Ontario Small Business Recovery Resources (website)

NEW Ontario Small Business Support Grant
Starting at $10,000 for all eligible businesses, the grant provides businesses with funding to a maximum of $20,000 to help cover decreased revenue expected as a result of the Provincewide Shutdown. Media Release

Main Street Relief Grant for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) $1000 available for businesses 1 - 9 employees.
Property Tax and Energy Cost Rebate Grants (for business based on control group status)

Local Business Support Agencies and Resources

Invest Renfrew County (website)
Renfrew County Community Futures Development Corporation (website)

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) 
Nov. 23, 2020 Renfrew County Community Futures Development Corporation has an additional $1,500,000 available in RRRF funding to distribute to eligible local businesses. In order to provide targeted assistance to the small towns and communities we serve, Renfrew County Community Futures Development Corporation is focusing on assisting a range of businesses in our region with loans up to $40,000. Please visit their website for more information on eligibility and the application process.
Should you be interested in a loan of $40,000 or more and meet the eligibility criteria outlined on FedDev Ontario’s website, you may wish to apply to FedDev Ontario.

Enterprise Renfrew County (website) 

Business Support Information and Resources

Canadian Business Chamber of Commerce COVID-19 Business Resilience (website)
Ontario Chamber of Commerce (website)  Upper Ottawa Valley Chamber of Commerce
Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) (website)
Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters COVID-19 Resources (website)
Retail Council of Canada COVID-19 (website)
Ontario Highlands Tourism Organization (OHTO)

Tourism Recovery and Innovation Program (TRIP)  New money announced 
Developed in partnership with Ottawa Tourism, TRIP – Capital Projects program is geared specifically to tourism-dependent small to medium businesses and provides non-repayable funding up to 80% of eligible expenses incurred to modify operations to a maximum of $20,000. This program was created to offset costs related to one-time modifications and/or re-opening costs, implementation of health and safety protocols, and digitization measures.

Applications to this new funding stream will be accepted beginning Jan. 15, 2021 and will continue on an ongoing basis until Dec. 31, 2021, or until funds are depleted. Priority status will be given to eligible businesses who apply by Thursday, Jan. 31, 2021.

Ottawa Valley Tourist Association (OVTA)