Looking for the latest news, updates and commentary regarding how COVID-19 is impacting the Huntsville area? You’ll find it below.
This information was last updated at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, June 1, and will be updated as further details become available. If you are aware of other information not listed here, please comment below or email us at email@example.com.
Click the links in this section to jump to contents below or scroll down to just below this section to see a summary of updates from the past three days:
News and community stories
Mental health supports (opens in a new page)
Open for business: support local during COVID-19 (opens in a new page)
Local cancellations, closures, and notices
New content added in the last three days:
- Update to cases in Simcoe Muskoka below. There is one new case in Muskoka—a community-acquired case in Gravenhurst. To date there have been 476 laboratory-confirmed cases in Simcoe Muskoka—19 in Muskoka and 457 in Simcoe County.
News and community:
Open for Business updates:
- Deerhurst Resort will open for hotel stays starting June 12.
- Huntsville’s Copy Shop is open with safety measures in place. There is a limit of one person in the store at a time and customers are encouraged to email or drop off requested printing for a later pick up.
- Leon’s Furniture showrooms are open to the public – proper social distancing is in place.
- Oxtongue Craft Cabin & Gallery is open Saturday and Sunday from 11-4. Curbside pickup also available.
- Pet Valu Huntsville is open Monday-Wednesday 9-6, Thursday-Friday 9-7, Saturday 9-6 and Sunday 10-5. A limited number of customers are allowed into the store at any one time. Online shopping and curb side pick-up are still available. Order online at petvalu-huntsville.com, by email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 705-789-0031 for curbside pick-up.
- Sustain Eco Store is open Monday – Friday 10 – 5 and Saturday 10-4. Curbside pickup also available.
- The Fourth Pig Green & Natural Construction: Jobsites have re-opened with new safety protocols in place. Offices are closed to the public, and meetings are held by phone or video conference where possible. Please contact them by phone or email for your green and natural new home or renovations.
- Update to cases in Simcoe Muskoka below. As of noon today, there are no new cases in Muskoka. There have been 468 laboratory-confirmed cases in Simcoe Muskoka—18 in Muskoka and 450 in Simcoe County.
There have been seven laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Huntsville. Six contracted the virus either while travelling or as close contacts of cases and are reported as recovered. One is a retirement home resident who had been hospitalized and is now recovered. If you think you have the virus, call ahead before going to the hospital, clinic, or doctors’ office, or call Telehealth (1-866-797-0000) to be screened via phone.
As of June 1, 2020, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) has reported 476 laboratory-confirmed cases—457 in Simcoe County and 19 in Muskoka—including 389 recovered cases, seven current hospitalizations, and 36 deaths. Of the 19 in Muskoka, seven are in Huntsville (all recovered), seven in Gravenhurst (six recovered), three in Muskoka Lakes (two recovered, one deceased), one in Lake of Bays (recovered), and one in Bracebridge (recovered). The outbreak at Chartwell Muskoka Traditions, which consisted of just one resident, was declared over on May 17.
Due to the growing number of cases in Simcoe Muskoka, we will no longer include SMDHU’s full table of cases here. You can see a summary by municipality on the SMDHU COVID-19 Case Explorer website.
The epidemic curve below shows the symptom onset dates for all of the cases reported in Simcoe County up to June 1, 2020.
SMDHU reminds people that they can protect themselves in a number of ways:
- Stay home
- Avoid all non-essential trips into your community.
- Practise physical distancing
- Physical distancing means keeping two (2) meters or 6 feet between you and another person.
- Everyone should practise physical distancing to reduce their exposure to other people.
- Everyone should do their best to avoid close contact with people outside of their immediate families.
- Practise proper hygiene
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Sneeze and cough into your sleeve.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
If you believe you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 symptoms, you should begin to self-monitor for a period of 14 days. This means that, in addition to physical distancing, you should track how you feel. You should take your temperature daily and log any other symptoms that develop (for example, sore throat, new cough or difficulty breathing). You can share these records with your primary care provider over the phone if you seek assessment
SMDHU has more coronavirus information here.
The health unit encourages everyone to take five minutes to participate in Statistics Canada data collection on the Impacts of COVID-19 on Canadians.
News and community stories:
June 1 – Fall fair cancelled for 2020
April 26 – Mental health supports in Muskoka
April 25 – Community gardens now deemed essential
April 10, 2020 – Province significantly expanding COVID-19 testing
April 9, 2020 – Refusing to open cottages the right thing to do: Peter Briggs
April 9, 2020 – $10,000 granted to Muskoka’s food banks
April 7, 2020 – Local restaurants provide meals for frontline workers
April 6, 2020 – A waste collection update from the District of Muskoka
April 2, 2020 – “We cannot be complacent”: SMDHU medical officer of health
March 31, 2020 – COVID-19 assessment centres now open in Muskoka
March 31, 2020 – Province extends school closures until at least May 4
March 28, 2020 – Ontario prohibits gatherings of more than five people
March 26, 2020 – MAHC working to increase capacity for critical cases: CEO
March 26, 2020 – Faith Baptist offering community support
March 24, 2020 – Town of Huntsville adjusts transit service for COVID-19
March 23, 2020 – Province orders mandatory closure of all non-essential businesses
March 23, 2020 – MAHC limits most outpatient services and programs
March 23, 2020 – Muskoka awaits approval for two coronavirus assessment centres
March 22, 2020 – Local couple spreads joy for their community’s kids
March 22, 2020 – Coping with COVID-19: Revel in the commonplace
March 21, 2020 – No break on Huntsville property tax deadline, at least not yet
March 20, 2020 – Town issues parks and open spaces warning related to COVID-19
March 19, 2020 – Open for business: support local during COVID-19
March 19, 2020 – Questions and answers about testing for COVID-19 in Muskoka
March 19, 2020 – What is social distancing? | Infographic
March 18, 2020 – Coping with COVID-19: What will you choose? (image)
March 17, 2020 – Ontario declares state of emergency
March 17, 2020 – Town Hall, District office and community hubs to close until April 6
March 17, 2020 – Coping with COVID-19: Remember the beauty that surrounds us
March 15, 2020 – Town of Huntsville to close most facilities until April 5, 2020
March 12, 2020 – Province orders schools closed for two weeks following March break
May 24 – Listen Up! Let’s not blow it now ~ Hugh Mackenzie
May 19 – Top ten learnings (thus far) from the COVID-19 pandemic ~ Dave Wilkin and Ross Maund
May 17 – Listen Up! Reflections on COVID-19 ~ Hugh Mackenzie
May 14 – Let’s not forget our children ~ Mary Spring
May 13 – Letter: ‘Premier Ford, please make mask use mandatory’ ~ Dale Peacock
May 10 – Listen Up! A Conservative’s view on basic guaranteed income ~ Hugh Mackenzie
May 7 – She Speaks: Universal basic awakening ~ Kathleen May
May 6 – Factors affecting the impact of COVID-19 ~ Hugh Holland
May 3 – Listen Up! Caution, courtesy and common sense ~ Hugh Mackenzie
April 30 – Education in unprecedented times ~ Mary Spring
April 29 – What will be the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic? ~ Ross Maund and Dave Wilkin
April 26 – Listen Up! Strong political leadership is important ~ Hugh Mackenzie
April 25 – The COVID-19 response: Canada vs. the United States ~ Don McCormick
April 22 – My first 100 days as Mayor—typical or unusual? ~ Mayor Karin Terziano
April 19 – Listen Up! Democracy must not be a victim of COVID-19 ~ Hugh Mackenzie
April 13 – COVID-19 and climate change: a good time to reflect ~ Hugh Holland
April 7 – It is essential that businesses in small towns survive COVID-19 ~ Mary Spring
April 6 – A lesson from the pandemic ~ Don McCormick
March 29 – Listen Up! We can disagree and still work together ~ Hugh Mackenzie
March 15 – Listen Up! Stay calm and carry on ~ Hugh Mackenzie
March 13 – She Speaks: We can only do this one way—together ~ Kathleen May
Ontario Ministry of Health – updated daily at 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m
Huntsville Community Help Out Group on Facebook – if you need support or supplies or have them to offer
Huntsville & Area Strong – Together we Stand Community COVID-19 Help Group on Facebook – if you need support or supplies or have them to offer
Lake of Bays COVID-19 Help Group on Facebook
Stop the Spread business line – The province has launched a toll-free line 1-888-444-3659 to provide support to Ontario businesses who have questions about the province’s recent emergency order to close at-risk workplaces following recommendations by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.
Local cancellations and notices:
Active Living Centre: Closed until further notice.
Algonquin Theatre: The theatre, box office, and Partners Hall are closed until further notice and shows are being cancelled, postponed or rescheduled. Visit algonquintheatre.ca for details.
Arrowhead Provincial Park: Open for day use. Most facilities are closed. No overnight camping.
Band on the Run: The road race planned for June 13 has been postponed until Sept. 12, 2020. There will be a free virtual race on June 13.
Businesses: Effective Tuesday, March 24 at 11:59 p.m., the Province of Ontario has ordered the mandatory closure of all non-essential workplaces. We will continue to regularly update this list of open businesses.
Canada Summit Centre: Closed until further notice.
Canadian Cancer Society: Annual daffodil campaign activities have been postponed to June or later.
Churches: All gatherings, including services, have been cancelled.
Climate strikes: Climate Action Muskoka (CAM) is encouraging everyone to be creative for its weekly Fridays For Future Climate Strikes (#FFF) on Fridays, 11:30 am to 12:30 pm – until further notice. Post a picture of yourself with a climate action message on their Facebook Page or hold a pop-up climate strike at your home. Go for a walk with a climate sign. Put a climate action message in your car window. Go to the regular strike location, being sure to maintain social distancing.
Daycares: On March 17, 2020, the Ontario Government declared a state of emergency which requires all licensed child care centres to close. It has since established limited daycare options for children of frontline workers.
Dentists: Based on a recommendation from the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, most offices are offering only emergency services. Check with your dentist’s office for details.
District of Muskoka: Effective March 17, all District facilities will be closed to public access including the District office at 70 Pine St. in Bracebridge and the Community Services Hubs in Gravenhurst, Bracebridge and Huntsville. Essential services including paramedic services, long-term care, water and wastewater, waste management and road operations will continue to operate as usual. Social housing facilities will continue to be maintained and other housing supports, social assistance and emergency assistance programs will also continue to be provided by phone, online or by email. You can access information and services by calling 705-645-2100 or by email. For the latest updates on all District program and service impacts, and to learn more about the actions taken in response to COVID-19, visit www.muskoka.on.ca/
Doctors’ offices and nurse practitioner clinics:
- The Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Clinic at the Wellness Hub will remain open from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. during the Canada Summit Centre closure. Patients must call 705-789-5986 for access to the building and to make an appointment. Access will be via the Canada Summit Centre entrance closest to Oliver’s Café. Anyone who is COVID-19 symptomatic must call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000.
- The Cottage Country Family Health Team will continue to operate at the Port Sydney Fire Hall.
- Huntsville Professional Building physicians shared the following statement: “In order to keep our patients and staff as safe as we can, we are asking that all persons with a fever, with or without travel, phone their doctor’s office for screening prior to arriving at the building. This includes anyone coming for the pharmacy, lab, dentist or any of our specialists. If you arrive at the building with a fever without prior physician screening you will be asked to contact your physician for further instructions. Those arriving with fever and prior screening will be asked to use hand sanitizer and put on a mask upon entering the building. As we learn more this criteria may expand to involve other symptoms such as cough. We thank you in advance for your cooperation in keeping our community healthy.”
- Lakeview Physicians: visit their COVID-19 page for information about appointments
Enliven Centre for Self-Care in Cancer: office is closed and programs are suspended until further notice. They are responding to all calls, emails and social media outreach and will attempt to assist in any way they can.
Hospice Huntsville: The Purple Tea Party and Hike for Hospice have been postponed. The annual Purple Boot Campaign has gone virtual.
Hospital: Huntsville District Memorial Hospital is restricting non-essential visits effective March 18, 2020. Exceptions for visiting include special situations (obstetrical patients) and compassionate circumstances (palliative, critical patients). Elective surgeries have been postponed. All visitors are being screened at the door for COVID-19, and hospital staff ask anyone who thinks they have the virus to—before going to the hospital—call Telehealth to be screened by phone (1-866-797-0000).
Huntsville Fall Fair: Cancelled for 2020. Next year’s event is planned for Sept. 24-26, 2021.
Huntsville Festival of the Arts: Programs and events are being cancelled or postponed based on provincial guidelines. Some shows are available online.
Huntsville Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony: has been postponed from May 9 to October 3 at the Active Living Centre.
Huntsville/Lake of Bays Chamber of Commerce: Tourism office is closed. The Muskoka Maple Festival, which was scheduled for April 25, has been postponed.
Huntsville Suzuki School: Indian dinner fundraiser scheduled for Apr. 4 has been postponed to Sept. 26, 2020.
Huntsville Transit: Effective March 24, 2020, regular and specialized riding hours are 8-4. Only six riders will be permitted per bus at any time. Riders will not be required to pay fares or swipe their transit pass until end of April.
Lakeland Power: The company said in a media release that it “understands wages and business revenues may be negatively affected so for financial assistance customers are asked to visit the company website to learn more about the Ontario Electricity Support Program, the Low-Income Emergency Assistance Program, the Home Assistance Program, the Affordability Fund, budget billing, and installment plans. “No customer experiencing financial hardship during this difficult time will be disconnected so they can concentrate on the safety of their family and business,” said CEO Chris Litschko. Lakeland has closed their offices to the public for customer and staff protection. Anyone experiencing hardship can call 705-789-5442 or 1-888-282-7711, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- All Huntsville Public Library programs have been suspended until further notice.
- All programs at the Lake of Bays Libraries in Dwight and Baysville have been cancelled until further notice and both branches are closed to the public, but curbside pick-up is available.
Lions Lookout: Closed until further notice.
Long-term care homes: All non-essential visits to long-term care homes have been suspended by the chief medical officer of Ontario.
Midnight Madness: Cancelled for 2020
MP Scott Aitchison: MP Aitchison is back in Parry Sound-Muskoka for five weeks after the Parliamentary session was suspended on Friday to prevent further spread of COVID-19. “The safety of all Canadians is of the upmost importance,” he said via a media release. “While the risk to Canadians according to the Public Health Agency of Canada is still low, it is critical that we follow all recommendations for hand washing, avoiding crowded spaces, and self-isolation for 14 days if unwell or returning from international travel.” Constituents can contact his Parry Sound or Huntsville offices for assistance with casework or to speak to him. The offices will continue to assist with all Federal issues virtually or over the phone. “There is still much to do, we are open for service but cannot accommodate walk-ins at this time.” As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve precautions will be assessed daily for the safety of constituents and staff.
Muskoka Aquatic Club: Programming is suspended for the timebeing. All Swim Ontario and Swim Canada competitions have been cancelled or postponed.
Muskoka Seniors: Effective March 19, the office is closed and all programs are suspended until further notice.
Parks, playgrounds, sports fields, and outdoor equipment:
- The following municipal outdoor recreational amenities will be reopened:
- Tennis, pickleball, basketball, and volleyball courts (Huntsville and Port Sydney);
- Skateboard parks (McCulley Robertson Recreation Park);
- Frisbee golf (McCulley Robertson Recreation Park);
- Off-leash dog areas and parks (McCulley Robertson Recreation Park)’;
- Benches, picnic tables and chairs will be re-installed as outdoor spaces are reopened (Huntsville and Port Sydney);
- Municipal beaches; and
- Walking track at Conroy Park (team sports are still restricted).
- The following areas will remain closed until further notice:
- Sports fields (soccer and baseball diamonds) at McCulley Robertson Recreation Park;
- All Town outdoor playgrounds, play structures and equipment; and
- Use of facilities for organized sporting activities.
Provincial court: All Provincial Offences Act matters will be adjourned and rescheduled to a later date in accordance with provincial restrictions. Further details here.
Schools: All publicly funded schools in Ontario are closed. Trillium Lakelands District School Board has information on how it is addressing COVID-19 here. On March 17, 2020, the Ontario Government declared a state of emergency which requires all private schools as defined in the Education Act to close as well.
Summer Sidewalk Sale: Cancelled for 2020.
Town of Huntsville:
- Town programs and events have been postponed or cancelled until further notice.
- Town Hall is closed. Town services will continue to be offered online through municipal email addresses or at huntsville.ca and over the phone where possible.
- Municipal facilities are closed including all community halls, Canada Summit Centre, Active Living Centre, Algonquin Theatre box office, Huntsville Public Library, Club 55, and Muskoka Heritage Place.
- Madill Yard and fire halls will continue to operate with no access to the public.
- Council meetings are taking place electronically.
- The Town is posting COVID-19 updates at huntsville.ca/covid19.
Township of Lake of Bays: The Lake of Bays Community Centre in Baysville, the Dwight Community Centre, Baysville Arena, and Senior Centres will be closed to the public effective Monday, March 16 and all programs and services are cancelled until further notice. Public Works facilities and fire halls will be restricted access only. The municipal office is open during regular office hours.
TriMuskokan triathlon postponed until 2021. Organizers may host a virtual event on June 28.
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