New Covid online services in Orillia
New Orillia Online initiative launches this week
Program supports Orillia businesses adapt to provide online sales and services
For immediate release (May 14, 2020) – The City of Orillia’s Economic Recovery Task Force (ERTF) is helping Orillia businesses go digital through a new Orillia Online program.
The ERTF heard clearly that local businesses need to pivot to an online sales model during the COVID-19 pandemic and are looking for help to do so.
“The City’s Economic Recovery Task Force continues to work closely with local businesses to help them through this very challenging time,” said Mayor Steve Clarke. “Businesses have seen an increase in the need for online sales and services during the COVID-19 pandemic and that trend is likely to continue over the coming months and years. The Orillia Online initiative will help local businesses adapt to that demand.”
The Orillia Online initiative includes several different components to help local businesses move online, including expanding access to grant funding, providing additional educational webinars to teach businesses how to get into e-commerce, and the development of new digital “how-to” guides for online shopping. Through this initiative the ERTF will also be exploring the potential to deliver loans and grants to assist businesses with costs related to e-commerce, such as website fees, photography and consultation.
“While provincial regulations have recently eased slightly to allow some businesses to open their doors for delivery and curbside pickup, we anticipate that the demand for online sales will continue to grow regardless of the pandemic,” said Coun. Ted Emond, Chair of the ERTF. “This initiative will not only help our businesses survive now, but will allow businesses to service a larger online audience beyond their “bricks and mortar” storefront. Collectively this adaption to online sales will strengthen Orillia’s economy on a year-round basis.”
In many cases, businesses that are still open but have transitioned to online sales or alternate methods of pick-up and delivery are continuing to sustain between 30 to 70 per cent of their pre-COVID income. The ERTF expects to see these numbers improve over the coming weeks.
The Orillia Online initiative is one of many City of Orillia initiatives to assist local businesses and City residents during this time. On May 11, Orillia Council approved up to one-million dollars for COVID-19 related social and economic recovery efforts. Council authorized the Emergency Management Committee to approve up to $60,000 from this fund for immediate initiatives launched by the ERTF.
The ERTF was formed in early April to work with local businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic and to plan and develop measures to help the local economy recover moving forward. For more information about the ERTF and initiatives such as Orillia Online, visit orillia.ca/businesssupport.