The word “pandemic” carries some serious implications. 3 months ago, as we were celebrating the holidays with our family and friends, we had no idea we would be ‘social distancing’ in March. These are strange times we live in, and different people have different responses. You may feel scared, stressed out, exhausted, stretched thin, confused, or if you happen to be a little one who just found out their March Break got extended by 2 additional weeks, you may be pretty happy. All these emotions are entirely normal.
We at WEB ROI are experiencing similar feelings. We are fortunate enough to work in an industry that allows all of us to work remotely without changing the quality or speed of our work. To help you navigate this difficult and tumultuous time, we have put together a list of important resources. Keep checking back frequently as we will update this blog as we learn more.
Updated March 18th, 2020
The town of Milton has a dedicated web page for COVID-19 updates. Here are some important updates:
- As of March 17, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Milton. The risk of contracting COVID-19 remains low in Milton and Halton Region.
- Effective March 14, all Town of Milton recreation, culture and library facilities are closed, and programs are cancelled, until April 5.
- Town Hall and the Milton Education Village Innovation Centre remain open and Milton Transit will continue to provide service at this time.
- Some important tips to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses:
- Stay home when ill
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve
- Wash your hands with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand rub
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces
- Contact Halton Region Public Health by calling 311, 905-825-6000 or toll free at 1-866-442-5866 if you have a fever or cough or breathing difficulty
Halton Region Resources
Halton Region also has resources available to keep track of the virus in the region, and other community updates that are important to be aware of. Here are some important notices:
- Halton Region has only 4 cases of COVID-19 as of March 18.
- The Halton District School Board has suspended all classes and schools from March 14 to April 5.
- The Halton Catholic District School Board has suspended all classes and schools from March 14 to April 5.
- Halton Region Public Health is focusing on those most at risk of COVID-19. Our current priority is to hear from:
- Health care providers who are seeking or reporting information
- Residents who have traveled to Hubei province (China), Iran or Italy
- Residents who have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.
- Halton Region is asking anyone who has traveled outside of Canada to self-isolate for 14 days upon return.
The town of Oakville has similar resources to help citizens know about their updates on CORVID-19. Here are some of the most important updates:
- Effective March 16, all town facilities, including Town Hall, are closed to the public.
- All recreation and culture registered programs, drop-in programs, services, events and rentals are cancelled effective March 13 at 6 p.m. until April 5.
- Oakville Transit services have not been impacted and continue to run as scheduled.
The city of Burlington has a web page dedicated to Corona Virus updates. Here are some of the highlights of their most important information:
- To protect the public and City staff and to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 virus, all City facilities including City Hall will be closed to public access effective Monday, March 16 to Sunday, April 5.
- A rapid response team has been created at the City that includes staff from across the organization. The Team’s purpose is to review the latest information received from provincial, regional and public health sources and advise on appropriate actions needed related to City activities.
- The City continues to investigate technology and best practices for cleaning and disinfecting.
If the city of Hamilton is your home, you also have a dedicated page where you can find updates on CORVID-19. Here are some of the stand-out updates:
- Hamilton has two COVID-19 Assessment Centres that are now open.
- These clinics will assess whether people need more medical care and/or testing for COVID-19 based on symptoms (cough or fever), travel history and/or exposure to known cases.
- There are 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hamilton as of March 18.
- All schools in Hamilton are closed until April 5.
- Most University and College courses have been cancelled or moved to an online setting.
The city of Mississauga has put together a list of the ways in which it is dealing with COVID-19. See updates from the city of Mississauga here:
- Starting Saturday, March 14 through to April 5, all of the following facilities are closed to the public, and the programs and activities at these locations are cancelled.
- Active living centres, Arenas (including Vic Johnston Arena), Community centres, Fitness centres, Indoor pools, Libraries, Living Arts Centre, Meadowvale Theatre, Mississauga Provincial Offences Court, Mississauga Seniors’ Centre, Museums (Benares and Bradley), Outdoor rinks (Burnhamthorpe, Celebration Square, Woodhurst), Paramount Fine Foods Centre, Riverwood Convervancy, and the Small Arms Inspection Building.
- Peel Public Health has recommended that bars, restaurants and food establishments stop in-person service, and move exclusively to take-out.
- Peel Public health also recommends the closure of nightclubs, movie theaters and concert venues as soon as possible.
Major Canadian telecoms are doing their part to help their customers get through this difficult time. Whether you have home internet or wireless services, there may be some help available for you and your family:
- Until the end of April the following changes will apply:
- Waiving home internet overage charges for customers who are not on unlimited data plans
- Waiving all Easy Roam® and pay-per-use roaming charges for postpaid Mobility customers that are stranded anywhere outside of North America, the Caribbean, and Central America and who are unable to return to Canada.
- Additionally, we’ll support our customers facing financial challenges because of COVID-19 by providing them with flexible payment options. We don’t want anyone to worry about not being able to pay their bill on time if they have been financially affected by the crisis.
- Updates for Bell customers are as follows:
- Canadians working from home because of COVID-19, we will be waiving extra usage fees for all residential Internet customers until April 30th. This will be applied automatically. No action is required by our customers.
- Updates for Rogers Customers:
- Wireless Services
- Waiving long distance charges for wireless and wireless home phone consumers and small businesses for calls to anywhere in Canada until April 30.
- Waiving Roam Like Home and all pay-per-use roaming fees in all countries where we offer roaming for all postpaid consumers and small businesses travelling outside of Canada between March 16th and April 30th 2020.
- We will also be ensuring that services will not be suspended or disconnected for any customers experiencing financial difficulties over the next 90 days. In addition, we will support our customers facing financial uncertainty because of COVID-19 with more flexible payment options.
- Residential services
- Waiving data overage fees for home internet usage until May 31, 2020.
- All Rogers digital TV and Ignite TV customers will automatically have free access to some of our popular channels from March 16 to April 30
What We are Doing for Our Clients:
As a business owner you may be wondering what you can do for your clients. This is when marketing comes in. You want to keep your clients informed of the situation at hand, and what you as a business are doing during this challenging time. First and foremost, you want to keep your clients updated on all information related to your business.
Here are a few things that you can do to keep your clients informed and at ease.
- Change your business hours accordingly
- Update your business hours as necessary.
- Manage information
- Share information on what you will be doing during this time. Inform clients of any precautions you will be implementing, services you will be providing, or simply changes to hours and locations.
- Create a post
- Share more detailed information in a post. Will you be working from home, but still have access to phones and computers? Let your clients know, that you can still be reached for any of your client’s needs. If you can help in any way, do so.
- If your showroom is still open, we can create a pop up on your website to let your clients know about the steps you are taking to ensure their safety. We can also write a longer blog about what you are doing, and create a notice banner that links to the blog. If you are in constant contact with your clients, sending out an email blast is another option.
- Update Contact Information
- Update all your contact information including your phone numbers and emails, ensuring that clients can reach you.
Constantly communicate with your clients, use all resources available to you to inform your clients of your products and services, hour changes, precautions, you name it. All updated information will show up on your Business Profile when potential clients search for. Doing so will put your business in a better position when we emerge on the other end of this difficult time.
In addition to the resources available for your local city or town, there are governmental resources available. These resources are constantly being updated and can provide you with direction and insight into what is going in Ontario, Canada and the rest of the World.
The three governmental resources that are available are:
- The World Health Organization (WHO)
- Updates are available about the status of COVID-19 around the world through a daily press conference
- The Government of Canada
- Information on preparedness, travel restrictions and more.
- The Government of Ontario
- Insights into Ontario’s response to COVID-19
If we can impart any wisdom, we encourage you to remain calm, stay safe, and be kind. It is easy to forget that everyone is going through this together, and we are all experiencing it in different ways. We will, however, get through this together.