The City of Orillia has formed an Economic Recovery Task Force to work with local businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic and to plan and develop measures to help the local economy recover moving forward.
“The health and safety of our residents and their families remains the City’s top priority,” said Mayor Steve Clarke. “But we cannot lose sight of the need to assist local business right now through these uncertain times and plan ahead on how business and our economy can and will function as part of the new realities that lie ahead.”
The mandate of the Economic Recovery Task Force is to begin planning now on how Orillia businesses, not-for-profit organizations, consumers and the City can help ensure the most robust recovery of our local economy once the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided and a degree of normality returns to Orillia.
The task force chaired by Coun. Ted Emond includes local business experts Ted Markle and Ron Shulman, as well as Laura Thompson and Dan Landry from the City’s Business Development and Communications Department. The task force also includes representatives from a number of community business organizations, which include the Orillia District Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Orillia Management Board, the Orillia & Area Community Development Corp. (CDC), and Orillia & Lake Country Tourism.
“We recognize that it is the businesses themselves that are acutely aware of their challenges and the potential solutions,” said Coun. Emond, Chair of the Economic Recovery Task Force. “The real benefits of our work will come from mobilizing the various business segments to identify specific areas of need and potential solutions.”
The task force is approaching its work from the premise that there are two key elements to a rapid and full economic recovery. The first is to ensure that as many businesses as possible survive the COVID-19 crisis. Second, as the City and the world emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be a need for a special focus on the local economy, to build confidence in business and consumers that they can return to more normal commerce and employment. The group will build upon extensive consultation, which has already seen more than 130 responses to recent online surveys from the local business community, in additional to numerous one-on-one discussions with local business leaders.
The task force has already begun to delve into different segments of the local economy to assess situations and needs, and to come up with strategic initiatives to assist business moving forward.
The Economic Recovery Task Force will report regularly to the City’s Emergency Management Committee, which currently meets on a daily basis.