Quick Links / F.A.Q.
For information from the Government of Ontario, please visit: https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus
The City of Guelph is in Stage 3 of Phase 2: Restart as of July 17th, 2020.
For information from the Government of Canada, please visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/canadas-reponse.html
For information from the City of Guelph, please visit: https://guelph.ca/2020/03/city-of-guelph-responding-to-coronavirus/
Help keep Ontarians safe by downloading the free COVID Alert App to your phone.
What to do if you‘re experiencing symptoms
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 go to the Guelph Assessment Clinic at 400 Southgate Dr (opening on September 11th after moving from 151 Victoria Rd N).
Learn what the symptoms are and what to expect at the Assessment Clinic.
Do not call 911 unless it is an emergency.
State of Emergency
As per Government Order, Ontario has declared no unregulated (i.e. social) gatherings of over 10 people indoors, or 25 outdoors.
Places of Worship have been allowed to reopen at 30% capacity, as of 12:01am Friday June 12th. Businesses are able to open to the public with no more than 50 people inside the establishment.
Ontario is in Stage 3 of reopening.
The Guelph Wellington Dufferin Public Health Unit has mandated the use of face masks or shields in commercial establishments, under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act. (replace the link with this one: https://www.wdgpublichealth.ca/your-health/covid-19-information-public/face-coverings-faqs-and-section-22-order)
What does Social Distancing mean?
Together, we can slow the spread of COVID-19 by making a conscious effort to keep a physical distance between each other. Social distancing is proven to be one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of illness during an outbreak. With patience and cooperation, we can all do our part.
This means making changes in your everyday routines in order to minimize close contact with others, including:
- avoiding crowded places and non-essential gatherings
- avoiding common greetings, such as handshakes
- limiting contact with people at higher risk (e.g. older adults and those in poor health)
- keeping a distance of at least 2 arms lengths (approximately 2 metres) from others, as much as possible
Here’s how you can practice social distancing:
- greet with a wave instead of a handshake, a kiss or a hug
- stay home as much as possible, including for meals and entertainment
- shop or take public transportation during off-peak hours
- conduct virtual meetings
- host virtual playdates for your kids
- use technology to keep in touch with friends and family
- If possible, use food delivery services or online shopping
- exercise at home or in your yard
- work from home
We encourage constituents to stay home (get fresh air, but keep physical distance), avoid crowds, and practice social distancing where possible. Here are are some best practices from the World Health Organization:
- Stay home as much as reasonably possible;
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water;
- Maintain social distance by staying at least six feet away from those you are speaking with;
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
- Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing, either with a bent elbow or a tissue;
- Seek medical attention if you have a fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing;
- If you have travelled recently, you must remain self-isolated for 14 days upon returning to Canada.
Important travel advisories and restrictions related to COVID-19, from the Government of Canada here.
Canadians outside the country who are directly impacted by COVID-19 will be able to apply for an emergency repayable loan to facilitate their return to Canada and to cover basic essential needs while they work towards their return. Each application will be assessed according to their specific situation and needs. Find out more here: Financial help for Canadians outside Canada
Guidelines for Reopening:
We are currently in Stage 3 of Ontario’s 3 Stage plan for reopening the province. You can learn more about the plan here. (hyperlink to: https://www.ontario.ca/page/framework-reopening-our-province-stage-3)
Guelph specific guidelines from Guelph Wellington Dufferin Public Health can be found here (hyperlink to: https://www.wdgpublichealth.ca/your-health/covid-19-information-workplaces-and-living-spaces/workplaces-and-businesses)
The Guelph Wellington Dufferin Public Health Unit has mandated the use of face masks or shields in commercial establishments, under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Ac (replace hyperlink with: https://www.wdgpublichealth.ca/your-health/covid-19-information-public/face-coverings-faqs-and-section-22-order/section-22-class)
Guidance and resources from the Ontario government to prevent Covid-19 in the workplace (hyperlink to https://www.ontario.ca/page/resources-prevent-covid-19-workplace)
Who Can I contact if I have Personal Protective Equipment to donate?
Donations of PPE are being collected at Guelph Community Health Centre Mon – Fri 9-5, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange pick up.
Is there any financial help available if I cannot work or have lost my job?
The new Canada Emergency Response Benefit will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months.
What are my rights as an employee during Covid-19?
For information regarding your employment rights, you can contact the Employment Standards Info Centre at 1-800-531-5551.
If you have concerns about the health and safety of your workplace, you can contact your health and safety rep and/or call the Ontario Health and Safety hotline at 1-877-202-0008.
Do I need to provide a doctor’s note to my employer to get my sick-leave benefits?
While a medical certificate signed by your doctor is usually required to get sick-leave benefits, this will not be the case during the COVID-19 crisis. During this time, the government is waiving the need for a sick note for patients who are required to miss work due to self-isolation or quarantine.
What can I do to protect myself if I am unable to work from home?
If your place or work has not been closed as a result of the closure of all non-essential businesses, public health guidance is to work from home wherever possible. However working remotely is not feasible in many workplaces. If you are in this situation, it is important that you follow all health and safety protocols related to your workplace. Under the Occupational Health & Safety Act, most of Ontario’s workers have the right to refuse unsafe work. If you are in a unionized workplace, consult your staff rep before refusing any work.
Will my time off during self-isolation or quarantine be paid by my employer?
If your work can be done remotely for the period of self-isolation or quarantine where you are not sick, your employer should allow remote work paid at your usual rate of compensation. If you become sick, your sick day entitlements will vary depending on the language in your contract or collective agreement. If you have zero sick leave benefits—the Employment Standards Act applies, which is currently three unpaid days.
The provincial government has passed emergency legislation to provide infectious disease emergency leave for anyone unable to work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes unpaid leave and job protection for individuals under quarantine or in isolation, or providing care to a child as a result of school and day care closures.
Childcare for people reentering the workforce
The County of Wellington is working in partnership with the Ministry of Education to provide free licensed child care for healthcare and other frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 Screening Guidance for Schools and Child Care October 1, 2020 Update: https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/58629/ontario-revises-covid-19-screening-guidance-for-schools-and-child-care
Financial support for food, rent, childcare
Ontario Emergency Assistance Program can help you with the cost of food, rent, childcare, disability support, medicine transportation and housing.
Every family is eligible for a one-time child payment. Apply for your support.
Support for seniors, mortgage payments, income taxes and more
Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan includes updated employment insurance benefits, mortgage support, income tax flexibility, and the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
Limited additional support is being offered by the Provincial government for seniors and people with disabilities. Additional income support for those on OW and ODSP has ended.
Support for homeless, food insecure
Several local agencies are working together to support people who may need food and shelter during this crisis. Learn more about Guelph’s plan to help the homeless during COVID-19.
Additional support is being offered by the provincial government for seniors and people on OW and ODSP.
What are the supports for small and medium sized businesses?
Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 provides for a variety of supports including:
· time-of-use pricing – 12.8 ¢/kWh no matter what time of day the electricity is consumed – ending on October 31, 2020.
· other energy affordability measures
· temporary increase to the Employer Health Tax exemption
· Businesses will get an extended interest and penalty relief period to file and make payments for the majority of provincially administered taxes.
· 6 month deferral of Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) payments
Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan Offers Temporary Business Wage Subsidy, work sharing options, tax deferrals, loans, and mortgage deferrals.
In partnership between the Province and Federal government, commercial landlords can now apply for CECRA (Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program), which provides relief for small businesses experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19.
It offers unsecured, forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners to:
· reduce the rent owed by their impacted small business tenants
· meet operating expenses on commercial properties
Property owners must offer a minimum of a 75% rent reduction for the months of April-September. Applications are now open.
The deadline to submit a new application is September 30, 2020 but the program will be extended.
Ontario has instituted a ban on commercial evictions for any businesses eligible for the CECRA program, whether or not the commercial landlord has applied. The pause on evictions does not apply to those participating in CECRA for small businesses. It has been announced that the ban will be extended beyond August 31, 2020.
For more information on Federal support programs you can contact Guelph’s Member of Parliament, Lloyd Longfield.
The Guelph Chamber of Commerce in partnership with many local businesses, has created a PPE directory so your business can easily purchase what you need.
Suspension on evictions
The temporary suspension on residential evictions has now ended.
Neither the federal nor the provincial government have suspended rent payments.
Support for students
The government has announced a 6-month, interest-free moratorium on student loan payments.
Learn more here, https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-support-students-and-parents
I’m feeling stressed, anxious, depressed or isolated
There are many mental health supports available for you.
If you are a healthcare worker, go to Here4HealthCare.ca to find support.
If you are a senior, try signing up through Chatting To Wellness for regular phone calls.
If you are a student, you can sign up to be a volunteer with Chatting To Wellness as well.
For general help, see Here4Help.ca
If you are in immediate need, call Here 24/7 at 1-844-HERE247 (437-3247)
Many therapists accepting new patients are now resuming in-person sessions. Note that these services are not free if not covered by insurance. See listing at PsychologyToday.com
The province of Ontario has extended the validity of expiring health cards during the State of Emergency. Your ID will remain valid if expired after March 1, 2020, and will remain valid until further notice. Expiring and expired health cards will continue to grant you access to health services during this period.
If you have a simple renewal you may do it online at https://www.ontario.ca/page/health-card-renewal.
The 3 month waiting period for OHIP eligibility has also been waived.
The province of Ontario is extending the validity period of driver licences, licence plate validation, Ontario Photo Cards, and Commercial Vehicle Operator Registration certificates during the State of Emergency. Your ID will remain valid if expired after March 1, 2020, and will remain valid until further notice.
The Ministry of Transportation is also automatically extending the due dates for medical or vision reports, which both reduces the need for in-person visits, but also ensures that patients do not need to visit their doctors, helping the health system to focus on containing COVID-19.
Is COVID-19 information available in other languages?
It’s essential that we all continue to get our information from reliable and informed sources as we respond to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Below are links to COVID-19 fact sheets in some of the most commonly spoken languages in our local community. Please share these with people in your networks who may need them:
Français (French): https://files.ontario.ca/moh-coronavirus-info-sheet-french-2020-02-18.pdf
中文 (简体) (Simplified Chinese): https://files.ontario.ca/moh-coronavirus-info-sheet-simplified-chinese-2020-02-18.pdf
中文 (繁體) (Traditional Chinese): https://files.ontario.ca/moh-coronavirus-info-sheet-traditional-chinese-2020-02-18.pdf
Ελληνικά (Greek): https://files.ontario.ca/moh-coronavirus-info-sheet-greek-2020-02-18.pdf
Español (Spanish): https://files.ontario.ca/moh-coronavirus-info-sheet-spanish-2020-02-18.pdf
Full list of available languages here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus#section-11