COVID-19 Tourism Response Fund now available for local organizations struggling to adjust to changing landscape

Some restaurants, accommodations, recreation organizations, and others eligible

The region’s tourism operators are getting a bit of a boost out of a joint effort between local governments.

The City of Barrie, in collaboration with Regional Tourism Organization 7 (RTO7), The County of Simcoe, City of Orillia, and Grey County, is introducing the COVID-19 Tourism Response Fund. Eligible restaurants, accommodations, and select retailers could be eligible for non-repayable funding of $2,500 to $20,000.

The fund is designed to help offset the high cost for these operators to adjust to various health and safety requirements, such as expanding patios at restaurants, plexiglass barriers at counters, touchless payment systems, or sanitizer.

According to Barrie City Hall, to be eligible for this funding, businesses must be small- to medium-sized (1-99 employees), a not-for-profit enterprise, or an Indigenous organization or community. They must qualify as one of the following types of tourism operators:

  • 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, casinos)
  • Food and beverage services (restaurants from fast service to fine dining, as well as pubs, nightclubs, cruise ships and convention centres)
  • Travel service (retail travel agencies, wholesale tour companies, 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)
  • Not-for-profit enterprises and Indigenous organizations/communities that support tourists
  • Retail stores heavily dependent on tourism may also be considered

Applications can be made online and will be accepted until January 31, 2021.