The Ontario government launched an online portal to help businesses overcome challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Tuesday, Premier Doug Ford announced that the COVID-19: Tackling the Barriers will help businesses working to retool their operations to produce health-related products, or those that want to continue their operations in the new environment of physical distancing, can submit any potential roadblocks to the website.
According to the province, Ontario will allow temporary changes to provincial rules and regulations in order to remove any barriers that are “hindering business” and “negatively impacting Ontario’s supply chain.”
“With COVID-19, we are facing unchartered territory. As government, we must be prepared to work with businesses and show some flexibility in helping them to overcome challenges they may have never faced before,” Ford said.
“This website will allow us to listen to and support businesses as they adapt to this new environment. At the same time, it should also make it easier for businesses to retool to produce the health-related supplies and equipment that our frontline workers need.”
The website builds on steps the government has already taken to help businesses respond to the pandemic, some of which include: providing $10 billion in provincial tax deferrals; $900 million in urgent relief to small businesses and their landlords; $50 million to help manufacturers and distilleries retool so they can produce health-related products; permitting 24-hour construction for critical infrastructure; and allowing restaurants and bars to sell alcohol with food takeout or delivery orders.
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On Monday, Ford unveiled the economic plan’s three stages.
The first stage will be for businesses that were ordered to close or restrict operations, opening select workplaces that can immediately modify operations to meet public health guidance. Opening some outdoor spaces like parks and allowing for a greater number of individuals to attend some events.
The second stage will be opening more workplaces, based on risk assessments, which may include some service industries and additional office and retail workplaces. Some larger public gatherings would be allowed, and more outdoor spaces would open.
And the third stage, will open of all workplaces responsibly and further relaxing of restrictions on public gatherings.
There is no set date on when the economy can reopen, as Ontario coronavirus cases are in the peak but are not yet declining day-to-day.