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Business Resources: COVID-19

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Last Updated: Tuesday October 20, 2020  8:30 am

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As new announcements are made by municipal, provincial, and federal governments that affect businesses, we share them on our Economic Development Twitter Account and Facebook Page. Follow us to stay up to date as programs evolve.

Timeline of Municipal, Provincial, and Federal Announcements related to Businesses

Use the timeline to find the latest announcements and direct links to information that affects you and your business.


Mandatory Closures and What Can Reopen

Access information on what is allowed to reopen under each Stage of the Provincial Reopening Framework, as well as the Provincial List of Essential Businesses and information on the Emergency Declaration, and subsequent Reopening Ontario Act, that pertains to your business. 

Ontario State of Emergency Ended July 29, 2020. Legislation remains in place to fight against COVID-19 under the Reopening Ontario Act, 2020. This will allow the government to continue to use every tool at its disposal to protect the health and safety of the people of Ontario during the COVID-19 pandemic, while allowing most normal operations to resume.

The legislation will give the provincial government flexibility to respond to crisis related to the coronavirus while allowing operations to resume outside of an emergency order.

Provincial List of Essential Workplaces - Updated April 3rd

Under the emergency order, businesses include any for-profit, non-profit, or other entity providing the goods and services described herein.

This does not preclude the provision of work and services by entities not on this list either online, by telephone or by mail/delivery. 

Note that teleworking and online commerce are permitted at all times for all businesses.

  • Supply chains
  • Food
  • Services
  • Services to the public that are restricted to alternative methods of sale
  • Financial Services
  • Telecommunications and IT infrastructure/service providers
  • Maintenance
  • Transportation services
  • Manufacturing
  • Agriculture and food production
  • Construction
  • Resources and energy
  • Community services
  • Research
  • Health care and social services

For more details, click here to visit the updated list of essential workplaces

Stage 3 Openings - July 17, 2020

Nearly All Businesses and Public Spaces to Reopen in Stage 3 (starting July 17, 2020 at 12:01 am) with public health and workplace safety measures and restrictions in place. Stage 3 will take a regional approach to opening most businesses, services, and all public spaces, with health and safety measures in place, and continuing to emphasize personal responsibility. 

As of Tuesday, July 7, 2020 face masks/coverings are required to be worn in all in all enclosed public spaces in Brockville and surrounding regions as mandated by our local health unit and in coordination with our neighbouring health units.

Additionally, if you are visiting a Retirement Home or Long Term Care Home, there is specific provincial guidance on visitor protocols. Please review the guidance by clicking here, and if you have questions or concerns, please contact our local Health Unit at 613-345-5685.

As part of the Stage 3 reopening, Ontario has increased gathering limits for those regions entering the next stage (which includes Leeds, Grenville and Lanark) to the following:

  • Indoor gathering limits increase to a maximum of 50 people (September 19: unsupervised, private gatherings have been reduced to 10);
  • Outdoor gathering limits increase to a maximum of 100 people (September 19: unsupervised, private gatherings have been reduced to 25);
  • Gathering limits are further subject to physical distancing requirements.
  • Public gathering limits apply to indoor and outdoor events, such as community events or gatherings, concerts, live shows, festivals, conferences, sports and recreational fitness activities, fundraisers, fairs, festivals or open houses. A two metre distance must still be maintained at such events.
  • Indoor and outdoor gathering limits may not be combined to increase the number of people allowed at an event.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health, public health experts and other officials have advised the following, high-risk places and activities are not yet safe to open, even if a region has entered Stage 3, due to the likelihood of large crowds congregating, difficulties with physical distancing, or challenges maintaining the proper cleaning and sanitation required to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Amusement parks and water parks;
  • Buffet-style food services;
  • Dancing at restaurants and bars, other than by performers hired by the establishment following specific requirements;
  • Overnight stays at camps for children;
  • Private karaoke rooms;
  • Prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports;
  • Saunas, steam rooms, bath houses and oxygen bars;
  • Table games at casinos and gaming establishments.

All other businesses and public spaces will be permitted to be open, subject to ensuring the appropriate health and safety measures are in place, as well as limits on gathering sizes (see below).

Stage 3 Gathering Limits:

  • Indoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 50 people (September 19: unsupervised, private gathering limit reduced to 10)
  • Outdoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 100 people (September 19: unsupervised, private gathering limit reduced to 25)
  • Social circles continue to be kept at 10 people province-wide.
  • In all cases, individuals are required to continue to maintain physical distancing of at least two metres with people from outside their households or social circles.
  • All businesses, services, and public spaces when hosting an event, are subject to indoor or outdoor gathering limits and ensuring physical distancing can be maintained.
  • Indoor and outdoor gathering limits cannot be combined to increase the allowable number of guests.

Stage 2 Openings - June 12, 2020


On June 8, 2020 Premier Ford announced that certain regions, including Leeds, Grenville, and Lanark will be permitted to advance to Stage 2 of the Provincial Framework for Reopening starting on June 12, 2020

Businesses and services permitted to reopen with proper health and safety measures in place in regions entering Stage 2 include:

  • Outdoor dine-in services at restaurants, bars and other establishments, including patios, curbside, parking lots and adjacent properties;
  • Select personal and personal care services with the proper health and safety measures in place, including tattoo parlours, barber shops, hair salons and beauty salons;
  • Shopping malls under existing restrictions, including food services reopening for take-out and outdoor dining only;
  • Tour and guide services, such as bike and walking, bus and boat tours, as well as tasting and tours for wineries, breweries and distilleries;
  • Water recreational facilities such as outdoor splash pads and wading pools, and all swimming pools;
  • Beach access and additional camping at Ontario Parks;
  • Camping at private campgrounds;
  • Outdoor-only recreational facilities and training for outdoor team sports, with limits to enable physical distancing;
  • Drive-in and drive-through venues for theatres, concerts, animal attractions and cultural appreciation, such as art installations;
  • Film and television production activities, with limits to enable physical distancing; and
  • Weddings and funerals, with limits on social gatherings to 10 people;
  • Day care and summer day camps (not overnight camps) may resume, with additional restrictions in place.

July 7, 2020 Update: our Local Health Unit mandates the use of face coverings/masks in all enclosed public spaces, which includes all businesses that are open to the public. Every Operator of an Enclosed Public Space shall adopt a policy to ensure that no member of the public is permitted to enter or remain in the public areas of an Enclosed Public Space unless they are wearing a Face Covering/Mask in a manner that securely covers their nose, mouth and chin. Instructions for Operators of enclosed spaces can be found here. The Face Coverings/Masks Instruction will continue as long as the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 is in effect.

Additionally, the Provincial Government has mandated the use of masks/face coverings in all indoor businesses and workplaces as of October 5, 2020, which are in addition to the local Health Unit's Instructions.

Refer to for detailed information on mandatory face covering/masks in Ontario. The following information aims to simplify the legislative document for guidance and does not take precedence over the actual legislation.

Stage 1 Openings - May 19, 2020


On May 14, 2020 Premier Ford announced additional workplaces that can reopen.

Additional seasonal services and activities will be permitted to open as early as Saturday May 16, 2020 at 12:01 am

  • Golf courses will be able to open, with clubhouses open only for washrooms and restaurants open only for take-out.
  • Marinas, boat clubs and public boat launches may open for recreational use.
  • Private parks and campgrounds may open to enable preparation for the season and to allow access for trailers and recreational vehicles whose owners have a full season contract.
  • Businesses that board animals, such as stables, may allow boarders to visit, care for or ride their animal.

The Ontario government announced the retailers, seasonal businesses and health & community service providers who will be permitted to open or expand their services as early as Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 12:01 am, provided the general trends on health indicators continues to improve as part of the first stage of the government's reopening framework.

  • Retail services that are not in shopping malls and have separate street-front entrances with measures in place that can enable physical distancing, such as limiting the number of customers in the store at any one time and booking appointments beforehand or on the spot. 
  • Seasonal businesses and recreational activities for individual or single competitors, including training and sport competitions conducted by a recognized national or provincial sport organization. This includes indoor and outdoor non-team sport competitions that can be played while maintaining physical distancing and without spectators, such as tennis, track and field and horse racing.
  • Animal services, specifically pet care services, such as grooming and training, and regular veterinary appointments.
  • Indoor and outdoor household services that can follow public health guidelines, such as housekeepers, cooks, cleaning and maintenance.
  • Lifting essential workplace limits on construction.
  • Allowing certain health and medical services to resume, such as in-person counselling and scheduled surgeries based on the ability to meet pre-specified conditions as outlined in A Measured Approach to Planning for Surgeries and Procedures During the COVID-19 Pandemic, as well as resuming professional services such as shifting Children's Treatment Centres from virtual to in-person.

Certain Businesses Permitted to Reopen Under Strict Guidelines - Starting May 4th

Ontario has announced that as of Monday, May 4, 2020 Certain businesses will be permitted to reopen under strict guidelines. The Ontario government is allowing certain businesses and workplaces to reopen as long as they comply with strict public health measures and operate safely during the COVID-19 outbreak. Those permitted to start up include seasonal businesses and some essential construction projects. The government, in partnership with Ontario's health and safety associations, has developed more than 100 guidelines in response to COVID-19. These sector-specific measures will help employers prepare their workplaces so they can be reopened safely and ensure workers, customers and the general public are protected. 

By following the proper health and safety guidelines these businesses will be permitted to begin operations on Monday, May 4 at 12:01 am:

  • Garden centres and nurseries with curbside pick-up and delivery only;
  • Lawn care and landscaping;
  • Additional essential construction projects that include:
    • shipping and logistics;
    • broadband, telecommunications, and digital infrastructure;
    • any other project that supports the improved delivery of goods and services;
    • municipal projects;
    • colleges and universities;
    • child care centres;
    • schools; and
    • site preparation, excavation, and servicing for institutional, commercial, industrial and residential development;
  • Automatic and self-serve car washes;
  • Auto dealerships, open by appointment only;
  • Golf courses may prepare their courses for the upcoming season, but not open to the public; and
  • Marinas may also begin preparations for the recreational boating season by servicing boats and other watercraft and placing boats in the water, but not open to the public. Boats and watercraft must be secured to a dock in the marina until public access is allowed.

Province Eases Restrictions on Retail Stores and Essential Construction - announced May 6

The Ontario government is allowing all retail stores with a street entrance to provide curbside pickup and delivery starting Monday May 11th in accordance with the Ministry of Health's Guidance Document for Essential Workplaces and occupational health and safety requirements. Workplace Safety and Prevention Services has developed a guidance document on offering curb-side pick up and delivery services. as well as a Return-to-Business Checklist.

Additionally, in-store payment and purchases at garden centres & nurseries (starting Friday May 8th), and at hardware stores and safety supply stores (starting Saturday May 9th) will be allowed. Touchless payments are still preferred and advised.

Businesses must follow public health measures and should review the workplace safety guidelines, such as promoting physical distancing and frequent handwashing, sanitizing surfaces, installing physical barriers, staggering shifts, and using contactless payment options to stop the spread of COVID-19.

In addition to easing restrictions on retail, the government is also expanding essential construction to allow below-grade multi-unit residential construction projects like apartments and condominiums to begin and existing above-grade projects to continue. This will help clear the way for the housing and jobs our economy will need to support economic recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Click here to read the full press release from May 6, 2020

Toll Free Business Information Line: 1-888-444-3659

The province has launched a toll-free line 1-888-444-3659 to provide support to Ontario businesses who have questions about the province's recent emergency order to close at-risk workplaces following recommendations by Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Businesses who have questions about closures of at-risk workplaces or how emergency measures impact their business or employment can call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.

Help is available Monday-Friday from 8:30am-9:00pm and Saturday & Sunday from 8:30am-5:00pm

Click for more information on their website.

Tackling the Barriers online portal

Province launches COVID-19: Tackling the Barriers online portal.To support your ongoing work during COVID-19, you can request a temporary regulation or policy to change to help:

  • Assist the health care system meet the needs of needs of the emergency
  • Assist businesses in retooling or producing essential or health-related products and supplies
  • Make it easier for businesses trying to operate remotely or in a non-traditional fashion and are facing unexpected challenges

Visit the portal to submit your request.

Framework for Reopening the Province

The Provincial Government released the Framework for Reopening the Province on April 27, 2020. No timelines were attached to the framework, however the plan shows the anticipated stages to begin to reopen the economy as conditions of the pandemic improve. Officials will use recommendations from the health minister on when to reopen certain segments, and will require that the presence of new confirmed cases of coronavirus show a significant reduction over a sustained period of time.

Listening to people and businesses

To assess the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and develop an action plan to move forward, the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee, as well as MPPs, will be meeting with people and businesses across all sectors impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. They want you to tell them about the economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on your business. Your input will be shared with the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee and used to help make decisions about reopening our province and recovering following COVID-19. (This consultation closed on June 12, 2020.)

Survey: Economic impacts of COVID-19

The Provincial Government wants to hear from local businesses about the economic impacts that the coronavirus outbreak is having on your business and your community. Your feedback will help to develop a plan for economic recovery.

Click here to take the survey - closes August 31, 2020

Guidance Documents for Workplaces

In partnership with the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, the health and safety associations have released a series of more than 100 technical sector guidance documents to further support employers and employees in remaining safe in the workplace during the COVID-19 outbreak. They have also produced a general "return to business check list" that is applicable to most businesses, indicating the areas that should be considered before reopening. 

Local Resources to Assist with your Business Reopening

City Staff have compiled a resource guide to assist you as you prepare to reopen that includes relevant government links and resources such as sector guidance documents, best practices, government approved disinfectants and hand sanitizers, workplace posters, and a list of suppliers to help you outfit your workplace with the necessary signage, personal protective equipment, and cleaning agents you will need to reopen safely. Please click here to visit our Preparing your Business to Reopen Safely page to find the resource guide and additional information pertaining to reopening safely.

Shop Local

It is now more important than ever to support local businesses who are trying to stay afloat during the pandemic. While many retailers have had to close their doors due to the provincial emergency proclamation, many are making a shift, where possible, to change the way that they do business by offering online or phone orders with delivery.

We have put together a small guide of how some of our local businesses are adapting to the pandemic and how they are supporting our community through this public heath crisis. If you know of any other businesses that are offering something new or different, please let us know. Use #Here4Brockville on social media to tag your good news stories on how you or other businesses are adapting and supporting each other through this.

Please join us in supporting our local businesses by continuing to shop from them during these times, or by purchasing a gift card from them to use after things return to normal to help them with their immediate cash flow. You can also support your favourite local businesses by purchasing gift certificates to use after the pandemic from one central site: (businesses are joining daily, so if you don't see the business you are looking for on here, please check back, or let that business know that you were trying to find them!)

Downtown Brockville (DBIA) has a list of downtown businesses that have moved to online shopping or phone ordering, as well as other businesses that are able to remain open at this time. You can find their list (updated regularly) on the Downtown Brockville website at

Local Restaurants offering take out/delivery

Restaurants throughout the pandemic have been permitted to continue to operate provided that they move to take out and delivery only. The Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit requires that food establishments offering takeout and delivery practice “social distancing” of six feet, or 2.5 metres, between customers. Please click here to read the new precautionary measures in place for food premises by the Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit.

Restaurants may now also open for outdoor dining, with extra safety precautions and increased distance between tables and customers. Most restaurants with patios appreciate customers making reservations in order to make the best use of space and limit the numbers of people waiting for tables.

Grocery and Pharmacy options while in isolation

If you are in isolation or are concerned about your susceptibility to the virus, we have put together a list of grocery stores, pharmacies, and a few services for seniors offering pick-up, delivery, or dedicated shopping times. If you know of any other options that we should include, please let us know. 

Navigating Government Business Support Programs

Find out more about the programs, services, and funding opportunities you business may be eligible for during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additional Resources for Small Businesses

Find out more about programs specifically for small businesses beyond the government supports found in the section above, including resources and assistance from the private sector.

Provincial Supports for Small Businesses

The Province of Ontario has set up a dedicated page for Ontario small businesses with business recovery resources. Click here to access these supports.

Read more about the Province's plan on Rebuilding Main Street and the newly announced fund for PPE for main street small businesses and proposed Main Street Recovery Act

The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB) has compiled a resource and detailed answers to the most common questions related to Provincial and Federal program supports. Click here to access the CFIB information

Private Sector Resources and Supports

The private sector has been stepping up to provide assistance and resources to small businesses who are impacted by COVID-19. Many are waiving fees for their services or are helping business owners adapt to the new circumstances. We have put together alist of small business resources here that includes both government supports and programs, discounts, and grants from the private sector (updated regularly). If you find anything that our local businesses may benefit from, please share them with us.

FanSaves Helps Gift Certificate Program "Brockville Shop Local"

Brockville & District Chamber of Commerce & Downtown Brockville have partnered with FanSaves Helps and invite your business to be a part of the "Brockville Shop Local" Gift Certificate Program (open to all Brockville businesses, you do not need to be a Chamber or DBIA member to participate).

This platform allows people to buy gift certificates from businesses that are currently closed or offering limited services, which they can use in the future once things get back to normal. There is no cost to your business to participate (other than any applicable credit card processing fees) and is open to any business, whether you already sell online or not.

How it works: Once a gift certificate is purchased through the FanSaves Helps website, the buyer will receive a digital gift certificate with a unique code that will be tracked for you in a spreadsheet (which you will have access to). Any money received on your behalf will then be transferred to you via Direct Deposit or e-transfer within 14 days (minus any credit card transaction fees that may come off the top). 

Lastly, once you re-open your doors, the buyer can then print off their gift certificate and bring it to you. You can then keep track of the balance however it works best for you (some businesses are transferring it to their own gift card program, or you can track the balance right on the printout).

All you have to do to sign up is fill out this online form:
(be sure to select "Brockville Shop Local" when selecting the organization or community will your business be featured under).

Community members, once businesses have signed up, will be able to purchase Brockville gift cards at

Leeds Grenville Small Business Enterprise Centre

Their office is currently closed to the public, but staff are available to take phone or zoom calls with clients. Call 613-342-8772 ext. 4470 for Wendy or 4471 for Jeanette.

Business Continuity Plans

Planning how you will sustain your business as we advance through the pandemic is an important consideration for the days ahead. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, and the Business Development Bank of Canada have great resources on what you need to consider and how you can protect and maintain your staffing levels.

Template: COVID-19 Safety Plan (Word Document)- use this template from the Provincial Government to document how your organization will keep workers and other people safe at your workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Supply Request

The Government of Canada

The Canadian Government has issued a call to suppliers for products and services necessary to combat COVID-19. If you are a business that can supply products and services, please visit their website for more information and to complete their submission form.

The Provincial Government

The help from businesses and organizations who can supply emergency products and innovative solutions to support the response to COVID-19. 

  • Supplies: If your business or organization can provide medical products such as ventilators, swabs, masks and eye protection: Tell us what you have
  • Innovation: If your business or organization can help communities withstand the pandemic and you have a solution for:
    • virtual mental health services for people who are vulnerable or living in remote communities
    • supply chain resiliency monitoring
    • financial planning and advising for small businesses that can be delivered online at low-cost including advice about relief programs and how to apply
    • Tell us your solution
  • Ideas: If your business or organization has ideas, other products or services that could help Ontarians: Tell us your idea

Please visit the Ontario supply request website for more information and to apply.

Ontario Newsroom

News releases and information related to the COVID-19 outbreak from the Government of Ontario can be found on the official Ontario Newsroom website. Checking their page regularly is a good way to stay up to date on decisions and new regulations that may apply to your business.

Please click here to access relevant staff in our City Departments: