I had planned to theme this month’s introduction around support – mainly the supports that are available to your businesses. And I will get to that, I promise. However, I want to talk a little bit about personal supports because of something I heard less than five minutes ago.
I am part of a working group with Attractions Ontario that has bi-monthly meetings to update the state of the industry across the province, share best practices and assist the organization continue to effectively lobby for their members and help them with their recovery efforts. I appreciate hearing what is happening and often do a little R&D (robbing and duplicating) for the benefit of stakeholders across Central Counties.
Today’s call ended on a bit more of a sombre note, with one of the participants urging us all to stay connected with our peers and friends in the industry. It was sparked by the deaths of several people within the industry, at least one of which was suicide. Another committee member let us know that during the meeting, one of his staff members had emailed letting him know her uncle had just died from COVID-19.
It was a stark reminder that the pandemic is taking its toll on both those infected and those affected. Our industry is taking a beating and the stresses that come with it – from being out of a job to worrying about how to pay all of the businesses expenses to figuring out how to successfully apply for assistance measures – can be overwhelming. Knowing that we are in another 28-day lockdown that includes stay-at-home orders isn’t helping matters. The perceived sense of isolation many have been feeling because of their circumstances are now compounded by real forced isolation for another 28 days.
I have had my share of moments over the last nine months. GlowZone 360 was closed for eight months in 2020 and hasn’t been allowed to reopen in 2021. There have been many sleepless nights worrying about if we were going to have to close the facilities permanently and what would that mean for our family. Adding to that weight was learning about the experiences CCT stakeholders were going through and feeling personally responsible for helping them survive.
I am an extrovert. I know that I am and I know that I get energy from being with other people. And even when I can’t see people in person (boy, do I ever miss lunches with people), I have made a concerted effort to stay in touch with my peers and friends through Zoom meetings, calls and emails. And in doing so, I was able to work through the stress, take a deep breath and realize that at the end of the day, regardless of what happened, I could manage.
But not everyone is like me. They aren’t open books when it comes to talking about the good, the bad and the ugly. They don’t make the effort to reach out when things get tough, choosing instead to try to work through the stressors of life on their own. In these crazy times, these burdens can become too much for some people. I am urging you to reach out to your friends and peers in our industry to just “check-in”. Best-case scenario, the two of you have a great chat and leave the conversation feeling more optimistic than you went into it. And at the very least, the people you reach out to are reminded that they are not alone in the world and people are thinking of them.
This industry has lost a lot this year. It can’t afford to permanently lose people…
Okay, on to brighter topics. As we say each month, CCT is here to help and support you. I had a great hour-long call this week with a stakeholder who had an idea for a new product. We spent the time noodling around different ideas and trying to figure out who else could/should be part of the program. I had another call this week from a stakeholder wanting to figure out if some plans she had for her property had successfully been done in other areas. I was able to call another successful stakeholder in our region who was doing something similar and learned all about the process and pitfalls of her journey. I loved that one stakeholder was willing to support another and that we were able to facilitate it. These are just two examples of what picking up the phone or sending us an email can do and I encourage you all to reach out.
Some other supports that are out there for us in the industry include the following, with more information in the February e-newsletter.
1. The CCT PPE Reimbursement Program: There are still funds available. CCT reimburses 50% of your costs up to a maximum of $1,000. It is easy to apply for and has a quick turnaround. Every little bit helps.
2. Digital Main Street: Easy ways to diversify your business. Get your business online! See the intro webinars available in January and early February in this newsletter.
3. New Ontario Small Business Grant: I am sure you have heard about it. If you haven’t already, take the time to fill out all of the online forms.
4. CEBA increase: Went from $40K to $60K in December. Once again, make the time to follow up to make sure you aren’t leaving anything on the table.
That is it for this month. Keep an eye on your and your loved ones’ health – both physical and mental – and please reach out to us to see how we can continue to support you.