December 21, 2020

Dear Downtown Yonge BIA members,
The staff and board of the Downtown Yonge BIA are engaged and actively working to support the membership during this time, working closely with the City of Toronto, relevant agencies and other BIAs throughout the city to ensure the health and safety of all our community stakeholders.

We believe our primary role during this second lockdown is to ensure the Downtown Yonge community can access accurate, up-to-the-minute information from the appropriate, expert sources. As stewards of the Downtown Yonge neighbourhood, we are focused on making sure our members and stakeholders can navigate the current situation as quickly and effectively as possible.
Below is a round-up of critical links and resources:
New Updates
Ontario Announces Provincewide Shutdown to begin on December 26, 2020 at 12:01am
In response to these exceptional circumstances, the Provincewide Shutdown would put in place time-limited public health and workplace safety measures similar to those in other jurisdictions. Measures include, but are not limited to:

  • Restricting indoor organized public events and social gatherings, except with members of the same household (the people you live with). Individuals who live alone may consider having exclusive close contact with one other household.
  • Prohibiting in-person shopping in most retail settings - curbside pickup and delivery can continue. Discount and big box retailers selling groceries will be limited to 25 per cent capacity for in-store shopping. Supermarkets, grocery stores and similar stores that primarily sell food, as well as pharmacies, will continue to operate at 50 per cent capacity for in-store shopping.
  • Restricting indoor access to shopping malls - patrons may only go to a designated indoor pickup area (by appointment only), essential retail stores that are permitted to be open (e.g. pharmacy, grocery store), or, subject to physical distancing and face covering requirements, to the food court for takeout purchases. Shopping malls may also establish outdoor designated pickup areas.
  • 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.

New School Protocols
While transmission in schools remains low, all publicly funded and private elementary and secondary schools are to move to teacher-led remote learning when students return from the winter break on January 4, 2021. This action is being taken in support of the Government's broader efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19. For schools in Toronto, elementary school students are planned to be able to return to in-person learning on January 11, 2021, and secondary school students will continue learning remotely until January 25, 2021, at which point they may resume in-person learning. During this period, child care centres, authorized recreational and skill building programs and home-based child care services will remain open.

The New Ontario Small Business Support Grant
The government is announcing the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant, which will provide a minimum of $10,000 and up to $20,000 to help small business owners during this challenging period.

Small businesses required to close or restrict services under the Provincewide Shutdown will be able to apply for this one-time grant. Each small business will be able to use the support in whatever way makes the most sense for their individual business. For example, some businesses will need support paying employee wages or rent, while others will need support maintaining their inventory.

Eligible small businesses include those that:
  • Are required to close or significantly restrict services due to the Provincewide Shutdown being imposed across the province effective 12:01 a.m. on December 26
  • Have fewer than 100 employees at the enterprise level
  • Have experienced a minimum of 20 per cent revenue decline in April 2020 compared to April 2019.

Starting at $10,000 for all eligible businesses, the grant will provide businesses with dollar for dollar funding to a maximum of $20,000 to help cover decreased revenue expected as a result of the Provincewide Shutdown. The business must demonstrate they experienced a revenue decline of at least 20 per cent when comparing monthly revenue in April 2019 and April 2020. This time period was selected because it reflects the impact of the public health measures in spring 2020, and as such provides a representation of the possible impact of these latest measures on small businesses.

For small businesses not in operation in April 2019 or April 2020, eligibility criteria will be announced in January 2021.

Businesses that are not eligible include those that were already required to close prior to the introduction of modified Stage 2 measures, and essential businesses permitted to operate with capacity restrictions (e.g., discount and big box stores selling groceries, supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, and beer, wine and liquor stores).

Further details, including how to apply for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant, will be announced in January 2021.

Other Updates
Downtown Toronto Drop-In Resource- Updated Changes due to COVID-19- December 1, 2020
To keep up with constant changes in the social services sector, we have created a simplified version of the Drop-In Resource that lists the changes in drop-ins around Downtown Yonge during this pandemic. This update includes warming centers, public washrooms and more. We will be updating this list regularly as changes arise. Please click here for the list.
City of Toronto extends partnership with Ritual to launch Open For Business to support local businesses
Ritual ONE is typically accessed by restaurants, bars and food services, such as cafes, bakeries, butchers and grocers. However, this program is available to any Toronto business that wants to access commission-free pickup and delivery.

During the first phase of the partnership with Ritual, announced this past spring, 1,211 Toronto businesses signed up for the Ritual ONE platform. With COVID-19 remaining a threat to Toronto’s economy and communities, this program will continue to help local businesses keep their doors open while helping to keep their employees and customers safer through commission-free online ordering.

Through this partnership extension, Ritual will provide its commission-free digital ordering platform Ritual ONE to Toronto businesses at no cost through the end of this year. This includes waiving set-up ($99) and monthly subscription fees ($49/month).

All local businesses that enroll in Ritual ONE will receive delivery capabilities powered by DoorDash Drive, its fulfillment platform that powers direct delivery for any business. Toronto businesses will receive two weeks of free delivery from October 26 to November 8. All flat fee delivery fees will be waived for customers and local businesses to encourage customers to order directly from local businesses.

Additionally, any business that completes one delivery order on Ritual ONE powered by DoorDash Drive by December 31 will receive Ritual ONE free through 2021.

City of Toronto helps small businesses by re-opening CurbTO registration for temporary pick-up zones
The City of Toronto will re-open registration for CurbTO temporary parking pick-up zones to help support main street businesses while Toronto is in the Grey – Lockdown category of the Province of Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework.

Blue signs are put in place to identify the temporary parking locations and City staff are working with Toronto Police Service Parking Enforcement to plan enforcement and help ensure that the designated parking locations are used appropriately.

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy portal is now live
Canadian businesses, non-profit organizations, or charities who have seen a drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of their commercial rent or property expenses, starting on September 27, 2020, until June 2021.

This subsidy will provide payments directly to qualifying renters and property owners, without requiring the participation of landlords.

If you are eligible for the base subsidy, you may also be eligible for lockdown support if your business location is significantly affected by a public health order for a week or more.

Property tax and energy cost Grants for Businesses
The Ontario government is providing property tax and energy cost grants for businesses affected by COVID-19 public health measures. Applications are now being accepted online.

Other Links
Downtown Yonge Resources
Contact details for Yonge Street Neighbourhood Community Police Officers
The contact details for the Yonge Street Neighbourhood Community Officers have changed.

Bring Back Main Street
DYBIA is one of the nationwide members of the Main Street Action Network in the "Bring Back Main Street" campaign that was announced today by the Canadian Urban Institute. The research and advocacy campaign will look at support for businesses as we recover and emerge from the COVID crisis.

How to Report a Crime Infographic
A reminder that community safety is a shared responsibility for all. Without your reporting, the Toronto Police Service do not know what is going on in the community. If you see something, report it. To see the different ways to report a crime, click here for our How to Report a Crime infographic.
Crime Prevention Tips for Businesses
Toronto Police Service 52 Division has offered some tips for businesses that are having to close their physical stores due to COVID-19.

  1. Ensure locks, alarms and CCTV are operational 
  2. Track inventory and update insurance coverage 
  3. When checking your business, do so during the day. 
  4. Display empty cash drawer in window view 
  5. Leave lights on inside and out 
  6. Tell your business neighbours your plan 
  7. Post emergency contact keyholder information inside the store 
  8. Remove high-value items from window view 
  9. Back up all business documentation 
  10. Report suspicious activity by calling non-emergency line (416) 808-2222 

Downtown Yonge BIA Updates
A reminder to Downtown Yonge BIA members that the Community Engagement Team and the Clean Streets Team are off the street until further notice due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

For any issues or concerns in the public realm, or if you see someone who you believe needs assistance, call 311.

In case of an emergency, call 911.

For the most up-to-date information on the Downtown Yonge BIA, please follow us on social media @DowntownYonge on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
We encourage members to reach out if they have any questions or concerns.
Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area
T: 416-597-0255