Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill knew a thing or two about getting through a crisis. His advice certainly rings true when you are in business in the middle of a pandemic.
It’s been hell…
Let’s face it, a lot of small business owners are barely hanging on. Depending on the sector, business has either stopped dead, pivoted to another line of business, or adapted to meet safety standards for their
employees and the public. While there is a significant portion of the economy still operating, no one is
This week the Federal Government and the provinces unveiled pan-Canadian principles to restart the economy. Ontario also released a framework for re-opening the province. The emphasis is on safety, and rightly so. Getting the recovery wrong would likely mean plunging back into lockdown, so let’s be smart about it. While the Provinces are all talking about a phase-in approach, with benchmarks, Ontario’s plan is as follows:
Rather than establishing a timeline, the Ontario Government will wisely use a range of criteria, including:
Every business should be studying these guidelines, not only for which “Stage” they likely fit into, but for clues as to what they will need to do in order to fit the criteria. Think about how your business will “meet current public health guidelines”, or open with “significant mitigation plans” and “continued protections”.
Every business should be studying how the “essential services” are doing it. How can you mimic the grocery stores, the construction sites, the manufacturing facilities, the alternative methods of product or service delivery – everything from curbside pick-ups to Zoom meetings.
Ask yourself if your current physical space will be safe. How can you train staff in safe practices, and enforce them? Will you have to limit the number of people in your store? Can you deal with lineups? What if
someone tries on a pair of jeans?
Obviously, everyone wants to know “When?”, but until we can answer that question, “How?” is a great way to be spending your time.
The Retail Council of Canada provides lots of tips and tricks here: retailcouncil.org/coronavirus-info-for-retailers/covid-19-health-and-safety-resources/
You may belong to an industry association that has developed specific
guidelines. The Chamber is polling our members looking for guidance, tips and tricks.
We will continue to share information from you, and with you. Meanwhile, we continue to focus on our three key deliverables:
Influence – From the earliest days we have been lobbying all three levels of Government to provide meaningful and effective programs to help the business community through the pandemic. We have also
lobbied successfully for modifications. Here is a look at what we have asked for, and what has been
Profile – For businesses who have remained open, modified how they provide service, pivoted to a new line of business, or transitioned to an online offering, we have promoted everyone through our social media channels, emails, our newsletter, Zoom interviews and more. If we’ve missed you, please let us know, and be sure to tag us in your own social media posts. Our new Gift Card program, launched last week, has over 80 businesses listed already, and is generating revenue. Be sure to register your business, not-for-profit, farm products etc., and feel free to do some shopping to support your local business community at the same time: www.peterboroughchamber.ca/gift-cards.html
Knowledge – Our dedicated web page is updated daily. It includes a comprehensive list of links to every
Government relief program, information from local experts, FAQ’s, health and safety information and increasingly – information on recovery. Here is the link: peterboroughchamber.ca/covid-19-pandemic-preparedness.html
Peterborough City and County have proven again and again through the COVID-19 crisis that we are a community that cares about the people and the institutions, businesses, and not-for-profits that call this place home.
We know it hasn’t been an easy five weeks and it’s going to be a while before we return to anything that’s close to what normal was. But we heard this week from the province that the physical distancing
measures in place are working and we have to keep going. We know that the province has an
emergency order in place until May 12th and that if that’s going to signal the start of a phasing-back we have to keep going.
There is a lot of planning going on, with businesses finding new ways to interact with their clients and each other.
Here are a few tips we have picked up through various sources:
Stay in Contact
The amount of information on government programs is overwhelming but the Chamber is here to help and pass on your concerns to municipal, provincial, and federal governments. So keep those ideas flowing.
Since COVID-19 was deemed a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11th some days have felt like years, and some days have felt like minutes, and left disaster in their wake.
All at once it is a health crisis, a people crisis, and an economic crisis. In the context of COVID-19 governments have been pushed to speeds unlike those that have been seen in recent times and what was normal, while desired and yearned for, has a
feeling of less significance than the focus on seeing this pandemic run out of steam.
In a matter of days and weeks, Canada’s governments at all levels have enacted measures that would normally take 18-24 months to be designed and actioned. It has required a massive mindset shift to a laser focus on what needs to be done and how to get it done.
People have been called upon to stay at home, change the way they live, and to rely on the virtual rather than the human for most communications. It’s brought about changes in how we work, what we work at and how to move forward. This pandemic has revealed the variations in our economic make-up and how one-size-fits-all plans, while perhaps more simple to administer, don’t often cast the net wide enough to capture all who need to be caught. There will be questions and discussions
about how this could change once our service to country is complete.
For the business community, this has been a time that has challenged and led to light speed changes both negative and positive. In this vein, there are businesses who have retooled their operations to help front line and essential workers do their jobs
effectively, but there have also been entrepreneurs whose life’s purpose and business have fallen away from them through no control of their own. There will be questions and discussions after about what it means to prepare for the unimaginable and what measures can help pivot and support more quickly.
Recovery can be viewed in many ways. For Peterborough City and County, I know we will recover. I know we will thrive even. I know this because the entire community continually demonstrates that all aspects of this community are important.
“We are in this together” started here, is lived here and will be the legacy of here.
The following definition of recovery from Merriam & Webster’s Dictionary struck a chord:
I see us, collectively, in each of those statements.
Over the coming weeks you are going to hear about a recovery plan from Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development (PKED). This plan offers short, medium, and long-term actions that can be undertaken to ensure that the business community is supported. The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce is playing a role in the development of this plan and will play a role on the recovery team, as will other members of the #TeamPtbo taskforce. The plan must receive approval from City and County councils and be endorsed by the PKED Board of Directors to move forward. This is expected to happen in the coming weeks. It will be important work and it won’t be easy, but rest assured the team pushing the plan forward will be committed to
On April 9th, 2020, the Ontario government launched a new Ontario Jobs and Recovery
Committee which will focus on getting businesses up and running and people back to work after the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
The mandate of the committee is to develop a plan to stimulate economic growth and job creation in the weeks and months ahead. The Committee will be consulting with a wide variety of people to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the provincial economy and develop an action plan to move forward, including business associations,
chambers of commerce, municipal leaders, corporate leaders, small business
owners, and entrepreneurs.
As such, for both of these plans moving forward it means an understanding of
the needs of our businesses, from solo to small to medium and to large is required. The plans must apply to those with unique circumstances, those with or without employees, those that have ideas for improving on the foundation of what was once normal.
As was the case with the collapse, recovery will be individual, will require a different mindset, and may even solidify a new path forward that has opened up during this pandemic. And yes, it may very well be just as traumatic as the slowing of the economy on our businesses as those same businesses try and re-start the engine.
Around the world and around the country we are starting to see different ways to recover. Quebec has re-opened a few industry sectors, Saskatchewan is looking to
do the same, and in Asia and Europe the roots of recovery are slowly starting to form. There will be set backs, undoubtedly there often always are, but our community, our business community will persist and support.
There is no solid time frame for coming out the other side and that’s frustrating and really hard, but we can think, we can plan, and we can be ready.
Grady's Feet Essentials
“Kelli and Tony went completely out of their way to help me out today. I work a mostly desk job at the hospital and Covid19 will have me thrown into a new role my footwear wasn’t prepared for, my dress shoes aren’t going to cut it and my runners are worn out. I have issues with my feet and ordering online has not worked for me in the past. With pretty much everything closed or closing I asked for assistance online and Kelli answered my call with a great suggestion and plan to get me shoes while keeping both of us safe. I have so much gratitude and respect for the Grady’s
helping me out in these difficult and different times!” – Sabrina
Many thanks to Sabrina for the wonderful recommendation. It is our pleasure to help front line workers and anyone else requiring comfortable footwear, insoles or accessories while our Lansdowne Place Mall location is closed due to COVID-19.
We provide Free home delivery to the Peterborough area. Please reach out to us at email@example.com for assistance or gradys.ca
- Kelli & Tony Grady
We have been honoured and humbled by the response from local businesses and members of our community who have rallied alongside us to help raise funds to support PRHC's COVID-19 response efforts. We have loved seeing the creativity and
thoughtfulness behind each fundraiser! We could not be more grateful for our community's generosity during these challenging times.
If you are planning a fundraiser or business promotion in support of PRHC Foundation, please let us know – It’s easy:
Thank you for standing behind PRHC's frontline healthcare professionals. Together, we will get through this.
Harco Enterprises & Merit Precision
A collaboration between Peterborough companies being led by Harco Enterprises Limited with support from Merit Precision is working to build Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Harco Enterprises is using its skills to retool and make plastic and rubber components that can hold and attach face shields, worn by medical professionals and first responders. Many other local manufacturers such as AVIT Manufacturing are also offering up their expertise to help.
We knew we were saving 30 years of scrap material for something important! Time to give back to our amazing community #peterboroughontario
Within the past two days we have made 70+ masks to donate to Peterborough Regional Health Center and Fairhaven LTC.
Fighting #covid19 together!
Chemong Family Dental
Dropped off our PPE donation to @prhc1 ! Between our offices we were able to donate 6000 gloves, 500 masks, 86 gowns, hand sanitizer and face shields.
We encourage you to donate certified PPE if you can, or if you can sew, they’re also looking for mask donations in order to preserve certified PPE for health care providers and support staff.
To our healthcare heroes, we thank you for your courageous work
La Mesita Restaurante
UPDATE: As of April 4, 2020. Thank you to everyone who has stepped up to make the surgical caps. Our friend is overwhelmed by your response! She is only asking for surgical caps, not the masks as they cannot use them. Any items made can be dropped off at our restaurant. We will deliver them to her and she will take care of
making them safe for use and then distribute them at PRHC. We knew we had amazing customers who would jump at the opportunity to help! You have proven it!!
Comfort Keepers Peterborough
Corey, 2 of our team members and I have delivered approx 30+ orders of groceries in 2 weeks! Well done team and here’s hoping we can stay healthy to continue supporting our seniors.
Thank you to each household for staying home and keeping everyone safe.
Thank you to Sobeys for maintaining the cleanliness of your store, your staff smiling and happy, and the other customers for keeping their distance!
Thank you to Fully Promoted Canada (Peterborough) for the donation of reusable bags!
Find all your business resources here:
There are a number of programs being built and implemented with lightning speed in order to help residents and business during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thanks to our member Cody & James CPAs for pulling together a chart that breaks down each program. This resource is posted on our website:
This will be a high-level overview of the programs and we encourage you to check out the above website as all programs for the federal, provincial, and municipal governments can be found through the COVID-19 Business Resource Portal.
Expense Reduction Items:
Replacement Income Items:
Tax-Free Benefit Items:
A resource created by Chamber member Matthew Savino and his team at Savino Human Resources Partners is also extremely helpful.
The flowchart is designed to help people navigate Employment Insurance and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
Business Information Line
Business Continuity Survey
Leaders from PKED, DBIA, Chamber of Commerce, Community Futures Peterborough and Innovation Cluster (TeamPTBO) are working together to identify how the impact of COVID-19 will be hardest felt by our local business community.