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Tourism Saskatoon COVID-19 Advisory – 16 March 2020

As Saskatoon’s destination management organization representing approximately 400 members from many industries, Tourism Saskatoon is committed to providing our partners with reliable, accurate and timely information related to the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). We are equally committed to providing information and resources that support business and community members during this time. We are obtaining the latest details from provincial, Canadian and global health authorities while staying in close contact with Destination Canada and the Tourism Industry Association of Canada. We are committed to participating in bi-weekly updates with Destination Canada and a range of additional tourism-related organizations.

An update from Todd Brandt, CEO, Tourism Saskatoon

Tourism Saskatoon is taking a proactive role in supporting our members through this unforeseen time. As the global COVID-19 public health emergency continues to spread and create challenges for families and businesses worldwide, we want to share with you how Tourism Saskatoon is addressing many of the same challenges that our members may be facing and to offer our assistance to you, should it be helpful.  
We have taken the following actions to ensure the humanitarian nature of the pandemic be addressed:

  • As of Tuesday March 16th, 2020 Tourism Saskatoon’s office will be closed. We will remain available to serve our members and stakeholders while maintaining work on projects that will return visitation to our city as soon as this situation becomes resolved.
  • Our Senior Leadership Team is meeting daily to share information from our members, partners, health authorities and governments to ensure our standards and resources are reflective of the excellence that we value, ensuring our ability to protect our people and serve our members during this time.
  • Saskatoon is a leader in the world for being a safe and trustworthy destination. The role we take in personal care is critical to maintaining this reputation. As such, we will stay in regular and close communication with key clients around the world to ensure that any postponed business will return to Saskatoon.
  • Tourism Saskatoon team member travel has been suspended until May 1st, assessment of this will continue to take place throughout the coming weeks
  • Any team members who have travelled outside of Canada in the past weeks will be self-quarantining and monitoring their wellbeing.

 Request to our partners: For our team to effectively advocate on behalf of the tourism industry, it is critically important for you, our members, to provide us with data on the way COVID-19 is affecting your business. As this situation rapidly changes and remains very fluid, we ask for you to share information as it arises. The feedback you provide will inform our team’s foundational work and our recommendations to government and tourism organizations on your behalf.

Saskatchewan – COVID-19 Update and Government Response.

Canada – COVID-19 Update and Government Response

Today, Prime Minister Trudeau addressed the nation with the following points:

  • Canada is taking “increasingly aggressive steps” and will be closing its borders to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada. Restrictions will come into effect on Wednesday and exceptions will be made for aircrews, diplomats, immediate family members and US Citizens.
  • Air operators will now ban anyone who is showing symptoms of the virus from getting on a plane.
  • Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said enhanced screening measures have been instigated at airports, marine ports and land-based ports of entry, including rail.
  • Only four Canadian airports will now receive international flights; Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Vancouver International Airport, Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport and Calgary International Airport.
  • Domestic flights and flights from the US, Mexico and Caribbean will not be affected and that the measures taken do not apply to commerce or trade to “ensure the supply of important goods to Canada”
  • Transport Minister Marc Garneau said certain kinds of workers who need to cross the Canada-US border will be exempted from requirements to self-isolate.
  • Trudeau reiterated the government's recommendation that Canadians abroad return home via commercial means while they remain available.
  • Trudeau's final statement was a request for Canadians to stay at home; “All Canadians, as much as possible, should stay at home. By staying at home, you can not only protect your health and that of those around you but ensure that our health-care professionals and our health care systems can focus on those who need their help.”

Last week, Minister Morneau announced $10 billion in loans is being made available to Canadian businesses through Business Development Canada and Export Development Canada. The Business Development Bank of Canada is offering flexible and tailored support during this difficult and unpredictable time. BDC stands ready to support companies through to a more stable period with the following programs:

You can learn more here.

Tourism Saskatoon will engage with government at both the provincial and federal levels, in order to better understand how these directives can best be implemented, and impress on government the impact these measures will have on our members and industry.

Additional Resources

  • The six regional Development Agencies (RDAs) have been given more tools and flexibility to help local businesses deal with economic difficulties. They will help them deal with the immediate impact of COVID-19 on their operations by allowing, for example, deferred repayment, advance payments or reimbursement of legitimate claims.
  • The RDAs will reallocate marketing efforts to support local and regional tourism, considering the latest advice from health agencies. Destination Canada is also closely monitoring the global situation and adjusting its marketing strategy accordingly, a central part of which is promoting domestic tourism.
  • In collaboration with the Minister of Canadian Heritage, the government is ensuring that grants and contributions awarded to local events, festivals or other initiatives are maintained and consider the possibility of cancellations due to COVID-19.

Businesses affected by the situation are asked to contact their local economic development office. The Minister’s team at Economic Development and Official Languages are also ready to assist if need be.

Tourism Saskatoon Contacts

If you have questions specific to lines of business, please reach out to the following contacts:

LEISURE TRAVEL - Trevor Broughton tbroughton@tourismsaskatoon.com

MEETINGS AND CONVENTIONS – Candace Schierling (National) cschierling@tourismsaskatoon.com & Brad Peters (International) bpeters@tourismsaskatoon.com

MEDIA – Sarah Berger sberger@tourismsaskatoon.com

To protect yourself against COVID-10

  • Practice proper cough and sneezing etiquette (into the bend of your elbow)
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, if soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Maintain safe food practices
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid any unnecessary travel
  • Practice social distancing

 

Information and Planning Sources

John Hopkins University dashboard, specific country updates: Global Cases by the CSSE

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