Bruce County’s tourism industry is recognized as a major contributor to the local economy and continues to be impacted significantly by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 Tourism Response Fund has been provided by the Federal Economic Development Agency (FedDev Ontario) to Bruce County tourism-related businesses in the form of a one-time, non-repayable grant of $2,500-$10,000 with applicants needing to provide a matching contribution of 20 per cent.
Bruce County and the Government of Canada are supporting the recovery of this important industry with $245,000 in funding, provided with FedDev Ontario.
The funding, administered through the Bruce Community Development Futures Corporation and Saugeen Economic Development Corporation, will provide non-repayable contributions to local tourism-oriented businesses to cover costs associated with recovery and reopening of their operations, such as acquiring personal protective equipment (PPE), renovations to accommodate social distancing and implementing new safety protocols.
According to Tourism HR Canada, tourism operators includes:
- Accommodation (hotels, motels, resorts, campgrounds, and recreational vehicle facilities)
- Recreation and Entertainment (zoos, museums, theatres, sports facilities, amusement parks, government parks, heritage sites, hunting, fishing or outdoor adventure outfitters, and casinos)
- Food and beverage services (restaurants from fast service to fine dining, as well as pubs, nightclubs, cruise ships, and convention centres)
- Travel services (retail travel agencies, wholesale tour companies, or corporate offices with their own booking divisions)
- Transportation (companies that provide transport by air, land or water, and include airlines, bus companies, taxi companies, ferry services, and cruise ships)
- Retail stores heavily dependent on tourism may also be considered.
Among the eligible costs are items such as alterations to accommodate social distancing including expansion of patio spaces for restaurants, acquisition of equipment like outdoor heaters to extend season, the purchase of large-scale PPE or sanitizing equipment, cleaning supplies for workers and/or customers and acquiring digital tools such as virtual queue or timed-entry ticketing or contactless check-ins.
As part of the eligibility criteria, businesses has to complete an application, be located and operating in Bruce County prior to January 31, 2020 serving the tourism industry and have less than 25 employees. In addition, the businesses had to provide a business license, income statements and estimates or invoice for the requested changes.
Bruce County has 37 businesses that were approved for the one-time grants in various amounts.
- Tobermory: Tobermory Cruise Line; Cedar Grove Family Resort; Coconut Joe’s; Blue Bay Motel; The Sweet Shop / The Coffee Shop; Ancient Coast B&B
- Stokes Bay: Tamarac Island Inn and Motel
- Neyaashiinigmiing: Cape Croker Park
- Sauble Beach: The June Motel; Putterama; Mars Cosmic Fries;The Patch / Grit & Grace;
- South Bruce Peninsula: Hepworth Hostel;
- Wiarton: Elite Camps; Wiarton Inn Asian Restaurant & Bar;
- Southampton: Highview Food & Drink
- Port Elgin: The Wismer House; Ristorante ROSINA; Chester’s Bar & Grill; Lord Elgin Fish and Chips; The Queen’s Bar & Grill; Pizza Delight; Edelweiss Motel;
- Kincardine: SurfSup Eco Shop; Grey Matter Beer Company; The Local; Fisherman’s Cove Tent & Trailer Park; Ainsdale Golf Course; Bar Down–Gilley’s; West Coast Catering;
- Ripley: Conscious Creations Art
- Elmwood: County Line Diner
- Chepstow: The Chepstow Inn
- Walkerton: Old Joes Cabin; Folmer Landscaping, Garden Centre and Botanical Garden;
- Mildmay: Green Bean Pantry Harleys Pub & Perk
“This is a tremendous opportunity to support our tourism businesses across the county and on behalf of Bruce County Council, we want to congratulate all of the successful applicants.” said Bruce County Warden, Mitch Twolan.