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COVID-19 Updates

Without a doubt, this is a very challenging time for our Downtown businesses and the community. Our staff is working hard to support you during this time of uneasiness and social distancing. Please continue to check back on this page for more information as it becomes available.

Government/Financial Assistance

Business Sustainability Grant Program

Small businesses worldwide will forever be changed by the COVID-19. In response, the Downtown Kitchener BIA is proud to announce the COVID-19 Business Sustainability Grant Program.

Today, consumers are enabled by technology to make decisions, driving change in purchasing behaviours. This Crisis has created a drastic rise in ecommerce shopping. This change is the driver behind large and small retailers developing online platforms to engage with their target audience. This grant was established with the intent to make your business more competitive in today’s economy.

APPLICATIONS OPEN FRIDAY MARCH 22 AT 10:00AM: Business Sustainability Grant 2020

Digital Transformation Grant Program

will provide Digital Transformation training and guidance, and provide the opportunity for main street businesses to apply for a grant of up to $2,500.

Read our recent newsletter with information and be sure to visit the Digital Main Street website to apply


COVID-19 Return to the Workplace Guide

April 21, 2020: Important Update on CEWS

COVID-19 Government Initiatives Update

TaxNews Flash Canada - Canada's 75% Wage Subsidy Now Enacted

City of Kitchener

Ecomonic support and recovery

Information and resources for local businesses

Business Development Bank (BDB) of Canada

Support for entrepreneurs impacted by COVID-19

Businesses continuity plan and templates for enrepreneurs

Government of Canada

Employment & Social Development - employment, insurance, work-sharing and labour programs

Resouces for Canadian businesses

Emergency Wage Subsidy

Province of Ontario

Essential Workplaces Electricity Relief Economic Response Plan

Business Resources

Waterloo Region Small Business Centre


The Digital Service Squad is now offering social media & website support. This program is supported by companies like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook and currently funded by the government to main street businesses with digital marketing and e-commerce free of charge.

Click here to learn more:

Every Thursday from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. (on Zoom) WRSBC will host "Ask an Expert Series". An opportunity to learn marketing tips, eCommerce insights and other topics to help drive success. Experts will take questions over a live Q&A. Free. Registration required.

In addition to the series above, WRSBC is hosting a number of other webinars and free training sessions at the link attached here.

Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber of Commerce is hosting a series of webinars as a chance to learn from industry experts on important topics. From technology and marketing, to professional and teamp development sessions. Click here for upcoming webinars.

Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Pandemic preparedness for businesses

International Economic Development Council

Preparedness survey

Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction

Small business support guide(s) and downloadable documents

Ontario Ministry of Health

Stats and self assessment tool

Health alert sign

Region of Waterloo Public Health

October 14, 2020 - Restaurant update:

Public Health Ontario

Cleaning and disinfection for public settings

Help for my Restaurant

Phase-1 COVID-19 Survival Kit

Safety & Security

Waterloo Region Police Service

Statement from WRPS - April, 2020:

The Waterloo Regional Police Service continues to provide essential service in the Kitchener Downtown. Increased presence by our Community Engagement Officers, Central CORE Team, Community Resource Officers and Zone Officers is ongoing and we are responding to concerns throughout the downtown. I would encourage business to include messages about closures to be temporary and check your business regularly. It is important to report any activity, property damage or other issues promptly so we can respond.

Please reach out to us via Slack, email or by phone if you have any questions or comments.

Statement from WRPS - March, 2020:

"The Waterloo Regional Police Service continues to offer essential service to the community.

We understand business owners may be feeling anxious at this time of uncertainty. We want to reassure you that it is business as usual for us and officers will remain on patrol throughout Waterloo Region responding to calls for service.

This is a time when our community needs to come together, to help each other, and to watch out for one another. We remind business owners and residents of this community to report any suspicious activity or individuals to police."

Business self security audit

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

As COVID-19 continues to spread globally, watch out for associated scams. Fraudsters want to profit from consumers' fears, uncertainties and misinformation. Fraudsters are exploiting the crisis to facilitate fraud and cyber crime. Here are ways to protect your business.

Keeping Downtown Clean

July 2020: Clean Team 1 and 2, in addition to the Downtown Discovery Team have returned to service with modified hours. The Downtown Organic Waste Diversion Pilot will remain on hold until further notice.

March 2020: Due to Public Health concerns, Clean Team 1, 2 and the Downtown Organic Waste Diversion Pilot Program have been placed on a temporary hold. If you have any questions please reach out.

Social Distancing Stickers

As businesses receive the go-ahead to reopen, it is important that they are prepared to service patrons and continue to encourage social distancing.

Our team has developed some fun social distancing stickers to be place on sidewalks throughout the core, and inside businesses.

If you would like some stickers to place throughout your business, please reach out to Curtis Grimba ([email protected]).

Hand Sanitizer

Many businesses have found it increasingly difficult to source sanitizer for their staff during these difficult times.

The BIA has purchased a limited supply of sanitizer to gift main street focused businesses. If your retail, food, or health & wellness business is in need of sanitizer, please reach out to Stefanie Golling ([email protected]).


King Street Parking update October 23, 2020:

We are pleased to inform you that the City of Kitchener has completed an assessment of parking on King Street. The bollards that were in place this year have been removed wherever possible. Consideration had to be made for fire hydrants and other emergencies.

The City has advised the BIA that signs are up indicating 15 minutes and 2 hour free parking. This was in response to membership feedback/concern regarding colder weather and more curb-side pick up business. As patios are dismantled there will be potential to remove more bollards, again where possible.

Online/Social Media Opportunities

Waterloo Region Eats, powered by Sociavore

During COVID-19, food delivery has become increasingly popular, and is often a large percentage of your profits. Together in a joint initiative we are pleased to offer member businesses the opportunity to participate in a pilot project. In the document attached, you will find information about the exciting Waterloo Region Eats platform, powered by Sociavore.

The Waterloo Region Eats platform costs significantly less to participate, offers features to lower your delivery costs, acquires your guest data, and takes no commission.

On Monday November 2, Sociavore will be hosting a Zoom information session. This session is an opportunity to hear from the people who developed the platform, ask questions and hear stories from existing platform users. As part of this partnership, each BIA has been provided with ten (10) participant spaces. To secure your space, and join the upcoming information session, please email [email protected]

Newsletter update:

Hey Local

HeyLocal is a Canadian marketplace that helps small and medium-sized businesses by allowing consumers to shop consciously and locally on one single online platform with the same ease and convenience as notable retail giants.

Established in May 2020 by Waterloo Region business leaders as a direct response to the challenges faced by small businesses brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, HeyLocal is bringing commerce back to local cities, neighbourhoods, and people.

Media Kit News Release

While You're at Home Video Series

The DTKBIA Team launched a video series highlighting businesses in our core. Click the link below to watch:

Facebook Small Business Grant Program

Facebook is offering $100M in financial support (cash grants and ad credits) to help small businesses during COVID-19.

Follow the link attached to learn more, and find out if your business is eligible.

Google & Website Optimization

Our community can help support your business online by leaving reviews and providing a star rating. Keeping up with these reviews and relevant information on your accounts is important.

Follow the link attached to learn a few tips on how to keep your online presence relevant.

DTK Social Media Guide

Looking for a few more ways to engage with your audience? Click the link attached to view our social media guide.

E-commerce is an excellent way to ensure your business continues to bring in profits during COVID-19. Below are two platforms that can help with your restaurant and online storefront.


Sociavore is an online platform that allows businesses the opportunity to sell digital gift cards, accept curb-side & takeout orders, and also sell merchandise with shipping or pickup options.

Click the link attached for more information.


Shopify is offering a 90-day trial for businesses during COVID-19. Build your online platform and storefronts, provide customers with a way to support you now through gift cards, and local pickup & delivery options.

Click the link attached to learn more.


COVID-19 Impact to BIA Communities Survey

Letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Doug Ford from OBIAA


Region of Waterloo

Open spaces and public washrooms

Community Services

Government of Canada

Outbreak updates

Support the local business community!

Click here for a list of open neighbouring businesses.

Looking for our Downtown shopping & dining guide? Click here.