On this page you will find updates and resources about the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) for Ontario’s Lake Country (Orillia, Oro-Medonte, Rama First Nation, Ramara, and Severn) businesses and the public.

Statement from Ontario’s Lake Country

Tourism Marketing Organization for Orillia, Oro-Medonte, Rama First Nation, Ramara, and Severn

March 16

Concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic affect us all. With increased distancing measures being recommended by health and government officials to minimize the impact of Covid-19, it is clear that the tourism industry is being impacted on a local, national and international level.

Ontario’s Lake Country Tourism remains open, and our staff and board members are vigilantly monitoring the evolving situation. Though our staff are taking precautions by working primarily from home, we are here to assist the public by phone, messaging or email if you have any questions.

To curb the spread of the virus, health officials recommend social distancing and other measures to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Please stay tuned for updates, and in these trying times, please support your local business when and where you can.

Updates & Announcements

April 23

Tourism Industry Association of Ontarios  Survey 4.0

RTO7 Stakeholders – Take some time to fill out Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO)‘s Industry Survey 4.0, https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/3WGJS82

Your information is critical in ensuring that the tourism industry receives assistance to combat the effects of COVID-19 on your business. Survey closes Monday, April 27, 2020 at 8 am.

April 8


For any Ontarians contemplating a trip to the cottage or other dwellings for family gatherings over the Easter Long Weekend, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is reminding people to practice physical distancing and stay home.

“The OPP acknowledges that this is a very difficult time for people. While our officers typically expect large volumes of traffic ahead of the Easter Long Weekend, in light of the current situation, the OPP thanks in advance all Ontarians who do their part to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by staying home.” — OPP Chief Superintendent Rohan Thompson, Provincial Commander, Highway Safety Division.
With roads now bare and warmer temperatures in store, drivers who do need to travel are being cautioned to not let the nicer weather negatively influence their driving behaviour and to obey all traffic laws.


April 3

TIAO Impact on Tourism Operations Survey Phase 3

Purpose of Data Collection: to monitor the progression of COVID 19 on the Ontario’s tourism industry the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) and Regional Tourism Organizations are working together to help provide up to date information to the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism & Culture Industries. We seek your assistance in providing this high level reporting on an ongoing basis so that we can advocate on your behalf with all levels of government.

The survey closes on April 6 at 8 am. For Question #2 Choose Region 7.
Take the survey 

March 30

A message from Destination Ontario

Dear Colleagues,
We know these are difficult times and there is no doubt that the next while will be challenging for all.  As we continue to navigate this rapidly-evolving global situation, Destination Ontario is taking a thoughtful approach to our communications efforts. At this time, our regular marketing activities are paused. A priority, however, remains maintaining engagement with our significant social community.
Together we can bring this province into the homes of our community. We are reaching out today for inspirational and/or entertaining consumer-facing tourism virtual experiences that we might share with our community to enjoy from the safety of home.
Guidelines include:

  • An Ontario-based experience
  • Available for Destination Ontario use, includes third-party talent and creative rights
  • Good for children, families and/or adults to enjoy

Please send information to DO.info@ontario.ca, for editorial consideration, with details including the URL, social page, videos, photos, etc., and do let us know if you have any questions.
Remember to tag us at #DiscoverON with this kind of content as well as other content you are using to keep your communities engaged.
Rest assured that we here at Destination Ontario are all working and are accessible and available, so do not hesitate to reach out. We will do our very best to work through this together.
Health and safety are our top priorities as we continue to navigate this crisis, but we are committed to keeping connected to industry as well as actively planning for the future. As your provincial tourism marketing organization, we are working hard to be ready for a quick and dynamic, market-by-market response, when the timing is right.
Thank you for your collaboration. Be well,
The Team at Destination Ontario
A note from Ginny and Allison, Communication Team at RTO7:
For added sharing and promotion of your social media posts, be sure to tag us, too, @BruceGreySimcoe, and use the hashtag #BruceGreySimcoe also.

March 26
A Message from Tourism Simcoe County

Good Afternoon Simcoe County Food & Beverage Partners,

We understand this is a difficult time for all of you, and we would like to help in any way that we can.  We are looking to populate and promote this webpage: http://simcoerestaurants.lndpg.ca/. If you are still open for business (delivery, take-out, etc.), please upload your information by clicking the green button (bottom right) on the webpage. If there is anything specific you would like to add – please reply to this email (with full descriptions of options, availability, even a photo or two, etc.), as we are looking to support each and every one of your efforts through our social media channels.

Wishing everyone and their families good luck and health during these trying times.

Brittany Black
Experience Development Coordinator
Tourism Simcoe County

March 25
RTO7’s Coronavirus Update & Resources 
March 24

Due to the evolving COVID-19 situation, the Ontario government will be ordering at-risk workplaces to close down, while encouraging businesses to explore opportunities to continue operations through work-from-home and innovative business models. At the same time, the government reminds businesses to put in place protocols for physical distancing and regular hand-washing in order to protect the health and safety of employees and the general public.

List of Essential Workplaces
The list includes 74 types of businesses that are listed as essential, please click here for a comprehensive list.

The government is continuing to encourage working from home.  RTO7 along with Collingwood’s Centre For Business and Economic Development and H Visual Media are developing a series of video tutorials of business practices that you can engage from home.  The first tutorial is how to conduct meetings using ZOOM, a video meeting app that allows you to conduct meetings with groups at no cost for the first 40 minutes.  Click here to view the video tutorial on how to use ‘Zoom’.  The second video tutorial is how to communicate personally and what you should say to your customers by using your cell phone, click here.  The third video is how one Collingwood business is doing business and the joy it can bring.  Click here for something a little lighter.

We will keep you informed of further major happenings as they become known.  Staying informed, applying and monitoring continuous sanitary practices in both the workplace and at home are important steps to weathering this difficult period of time.

RTO7, with support from the Provincial Government and their agencies and our many partners across the region, are committed to providing you, the stakeholders, with as much support as we can.

March 23
Support Your Local Businesses During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Many restaurants across the region are now offering take-out options to continue to serve while keeping at a distance. Please consider ordering take-out to support many of the region’s restaurants! The following restaurants are offering some sort of take-out option:
In Orillia
– The Cheesy Pickup
– The Common Stove
– Rustica Pizza Vino
– 125 Breakfast Club
– Hill’s Maple Leaf Restaurant
– Apple Annies Cafe and Shop
– Theos Eatery
– Wilkie’s Bakery & Pizza
In Severn
– Em’s Cafe
– R Cottage Washago
– The 270 Bistro
– Log Cabin in Washago
In Oro-Medonte
– Amiche Restaurant and Social House Inc.

Know of any other restaurants in the region who offer a take-out or delivery option? Please let us know!
Please check about delivery services and continue to support local businesses! Stay clean and health


March 20

The sap has been flowing steady and fresh maple syrup and other maple products are available at the following local businesses:

The FarmGate (maple syrup sales, production viewing)
Shaws Catering (maple syrup sales, viewing of production, trails in sugarbush)
Copperpot Nuts (maple syrup sales, maple roasted almonds)
Hewitts Farm-Market (maple syrup sales, curbside delivery available)
Backwoods Maple Syrup  (Call 705-790-6509.to arrange pick-up or delivery)

If there are any other producers open please let us know.

In these unprecedented times we encourage supporting our local businesses, while maintaining best practices of social distancing, hand washing and other steps to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

March 19

Important Update – Federal COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

Yesterday, the government of Canada announced support for workers and businesses. Please see the statement from the Prime Minister here and the details from Department of Finance Canada here. The announcement included:

Temporary Income Support for Workers and Parents

For Canadians without paid sick leave (or similar workplace accommodation) who are sick, quarantined or forced to stay home to care for children, the Government is:

  • Waiving the one-week waiting period for those individuals in imposed quarantine that claim Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits. This temporary measure is in effect as of March 15, 2020.
  • Waiving the requirement to provide a medical certificate to access EI sickness benefits.
  • Introducing the Emergency Care Benefit providing up to $900 bi-weekly, for up to 15 weeks. This flat-payment Benefit would be administered through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and provide income support to:
    • Workers, including the self-employed, who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.
    • Workers, including the self-employed, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent, but do not quality for EI sickness benefits.
    • Parents with children who require care or supervision due to school closures, and are unable to earn employment income, irrespective of whether they qualify for EI or not.

Application for the Benefit will be available in April 2020, and require Canadians to attest that they meet the eligibility requirements. They will need to re-attest every two weeks to reconfirm their eligibility. Canadians will select one of three channels to apply for the Benefit:

  1. by accessing it on their CRA MyAccount secure portal;
  2. by accessing it from their secure My Service Canada Account; or
  3. by calling a toll free number equipped with an automated application process.

March 19

The federal government has announced a series of economic measures aimed at assisting Canadians and small businesses that are facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Support for Canadians

Support for Businesses

If you have any questions, please contact:

Bruce Stanton, M.P.
Simcoe North

March 19

Destination Canada Covid-19 Update

We know the tourism sector is facing uncertain times. We know that you are concerned about your business and day-to-day operations. We are too and we are here to help where we can. We also know that our tourism sector has the ability to pull together as a team and face challenges with heart. Now more than ever, we must leverage the power of Team Canada to face this truly unprecedented challenge. So, we are inviting you to a Visitor Economy webinar to share what Destination Canada knows, our approach moving forward and will provide information on federal support initiatives.
When: Friday March 20, 2020 at 2:00-3:30 p.m. ET
Speakers: David Robinson, Interim President & CEO and other members of Destination Canada’s senior team; Business Development Bank of Canada; Parks Canada; Tourism Industry Association of Canada; and Tourism HR Canada.
Conference info: https://zoom.us/j/161625424
Meeting ID: 161 625 424
Canada:  +1 647 374 4685
We will hold a short Q&A at the end of the webinar. As we expect a large number of participants on this webinar, please submit your questions via email to webinar@destinationcanada.com before Friday March 20 at 10:00 a.m. ET.
Until then, we have compiled information on Destination Canada’s COVID-19 response and government services relevant for businesses here.

March 18

Second phase of Covid-19 Industry Survey now open

In cooperation with partners, members, stakeholders, and the office of Minister Lisa MacLeod, the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) has released an updated COVID-19 industry survey.

The updated survey marks a shift in focus from measuring the broad impact of COVID-19 on the industry to measuring the specific economic impact of the disruption on the ground, to help shape an economic recovery package. The survey asks about cancellations, lay-offs and temporary or permanent closures caused by COVID-19. Please take a moment to complete the survey and get the word out any way that you can – email it to your members, share it on your social media channels, with other business owners, and any other ways that think will help drive traffic to the survey.
A larger sample size means we will paint a much more reflective picture of the economic impact that COVID-19 is having on the front-line and, in turn, a recovery plan that meets those challenges.
The survey will close on Monday, March 23rd. When sharing, please display this deadline prominently.
Please use this link when sharing: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HXXC9Y6
Thank you for your collaboration during this difficult time.

Multi-Sectoral Tele-Townhall with Minister MacLeod Thursday March 19 2020, 10:30 AM

Ontario’s Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries represent a combined economic impact of $74 billion, hundreds of thousands of jobs, and are critical to our province’s diverse culture and social fabric. Minister Lisa MacLeod invites you to participate in a multi-sectoral telephone town hall to discuss the challenges you face as a result of COVID-19, as well the government’s response to protect and preserve these critical industries across the province.

This call will take place on Thursday March 19, 2020 at 10:30 AM approximately 45 minutes. Please forward this information to any relevant stakeholder within your organization. To RSVP for this call please email kayla.fernet@ontario.ca. Please RSVP ASAP so we can ensure we send you the appropriate information.  The dial-in information will be circulated at 9:00 AM tomorrow morning. Please send any questions or concerns you have for the Minister in advance to kayla.fernet@ontario.ca.


Please find two links below to surveys on how COVID-19 has impacted your business.One is by the Community Development Corporation (CDC) the other is by TIAO (Tourism Industry Association of Ontario).

Please take a moment to fill out both surveys and give your feedback. Your feedback will be important to understand how businesses are impacted and how to move forward.




March 17

Support Your Local Businesses During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Many restaurants across the region are now offering take-out options to continue to serve while keeping at a distance. Please consider ordering take-out to support many of the region’s restaurants! The following restaurants are offering some sort of take-out option:
In Orillia
– The Cheesy Pickup
– The Common Stove
– Rustica Pizza Vino
– 125 Breakfast Club
– Hill’s Maple Leaf Restaurant
– Apple Annies Cafe and Shop
– Theos Eatery
– Wilkie’s Bakery & Pizza
In Severn
– Em’s Cafe
– R Cottage Washago
– The 270 Bistro
– Log Cabin in Washago
In Oro-Medonte
– Amiche Restaurant and Social House Inc.

Know of any other restaurants in the region who offer a take-out or delivery option? Please let us know!
Please check about delivery services and continue to support local businesses! Stay clean and healthy

March 17

Message From The Orillia Economic Development Department

The Economic Development Division at the City of Orillia has received a number of questions and comments from local business leaders in response the COVID-19 pandemic.

We’re encouraging local businesses to use this (Facebook) thread to share your general thoughts, ideas and questions. We’re hoping you find value in using this as a forum to stimulate potential further discussions.

Please feel free to contact the Economic Development Office with any direct questions, comments and/or concerns you may have.

See Thread