Curbside pick up, selling online & is commercial rent assistance working?

May 11, 2020

Curbside Pick Up

The Ontario government has announced that all retail stores with a street entrance may provide curbside pickup and delivery services effective Monday May 11, 2020. While a number of different strategies (i.e. scheduled pick-up appointments, pre-payment) may be used to mitigate against line-ups, if your business or organization is still experiencing high volume line ups that may be making it difficult to maintain physical distancing requirements for retail patrons and for pedestrians walking by – please contact the BIA as we can explore applying for Curb Lane Pedestrian Zones or Temporary Parking Pick-Up Zones that will support your active businesses with achieving physical distancing requirements. Please click below for signage you may find helpful as you explore Curbside Pick up;

General Information

  • Curbside pick-up does not include sidewalk sales or displays of goods on the sidewalk at this time (outdoor marketing displays by grocers with existing City permits are still allowed)
  • Customers are not permitted to enter your store to select goods, try on or sample goods, or return or exchange goods
  • Post signage encouraging at-risk customers (ie: symptoms, recent travel, exposure to someone with COVID-19) to return home and self-isolate
  • Encourage employees and customers to wear face coverings (non-medical masks or cloth masks)
  • Restrict public access to your location as much as possible
  • If pre-payment is not possible, have a wireless card reader available outside and disinfect frequently
  • Encourage no-contact payment (credit, debit) instead of cash
  • Workers should wash or sanitize their hands each time they handle cash
Encourage Remote Interactions
– Customers should order online or by phone if possible
Have customers pre-pay online or over the phone
– Establish a process to minimize the time required to complete the curbside transaction
– Schedule pick-up times
– Have customers notify you when they arrive by phone or textLoad the product into the car if possible – ask the customer to remain in the vehicle to limit contact
– Ensure employees sanitize hands and surfaces after each interaction
Advise customers not to use their own containers, reusable bags or boxes
Physical Distancing
Place multiple signs near entrances about the physical distancing methods being used and what customers should do
– Have someone in place to direct customers
– Set up queue lines at entrances – cones or ropes work well – be sure pedestrians are able to safely use the sidewalk as well
– Place markers (tape or cones) every two metres to act as distancing cues
– For in-person payments, have cashiers step back from customers if the card reader cannot be relocated two metres away from cashier
– If the queue outside your store gets too long to manage, consider ways to have customers queue up digitally and leave their contact information

Speak to a City Business Advisor

The BusinessTO Support Centre provides one-on-one virtual support to help businesses, including not-for-profit and creative/culture organizations, complete applications for Government of Canada COVID-19 funding programs and get general business advice. An advisor will contact you within 24-48 hours to assist.  Speak to a Business Advisor, click here

Keep sharing your feedback – SURVEY

To help continue Advocacy work, please help circulate this latest survey. This survey follows up from the one you completed a couple of weeks ago, and is focused on getting feedback on the Commercial Rent Relief Program.  Once again there are 2 surveys: one for commercial tenants; and, one for commercial landlords (please circulate the survey to your landlords.  This survey will close on Monday, May 11 at noon
The information that we gathered from the first survey was invaluable in directing our efforts with all levels of government.  The information that we get from this second survey will do the same.


A Message from MPP for Parkdale-High Park Bhutila Karpoche:
Dear small business owners,

It has now been two weeks since the federal government announced its partnership with the provinces to deliver support to small businesses affected by COVID-19 through the Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (OCECRA) program. Since then, there has been an overwhelming response from small business owners expressing their concerns about this program.
Here is what small businesses have shared with us so far:

  • “Commercial landlords don’t see OCECRA to be in line with their interests at all.”
  • “The rent relief program is not working because it’s voluntary for landlords.”
  • “As a new business having opened this month after months of preparations and renovations, we cannot prove a significant income loss so we are not eligible for OCECRA but we still need to cover rent and other operating costs on little to no revenue coming in.”
  • “The rent relief program is not feasible. As a micro business owner, I don’t qualify for wage subsidy and I cannot afford a $40K loan.”
  • “We need an immediate moratorium on commercial rental eviction, akin to the existing moratorium on residential rental evictions.”
  • “If the rent relief applies only to base rent and not TMI, the equivalent savings to tenants is closer to 50% than 75%. This is significant.”
  • “This program is only available for landlords who have a mortgage. What about landlords, with no mortgage, but with fixed costs?”

 As it has been clearly pointed out, there are massive gaps in the commercial rent relief program. The program leaves many businesses falling through the cracks. For some, the requirements are simply too big a barrier to be eligible and for others who are eligible, their commercial landlords have no interest in applying for the program. A new survey shows that just 1 in 5 businesses expect to get rent relief. It has become apparent that this program is of no help to most small businesses. This puts the continued existence of our local restaurants, shops and cultural spaces at risk. We must pursue a solution that provides direct relief to small businesses in order to support them and preserve the fabric of our neighbourhoods.

The Ontario NDP and I have called on the Ford government to step up to fill rent support gaps by creating an Ontario-based solution. We also continue to push our proposal Save Main Street plan, which has received widespread support from small businesses and commercial landlords alike.
The most urgent piece of action is the need to extend the eviction moratorium to commercial tenants as well. As May 16 approaches, it is possible that small businesses who were unable to pay May’s rent will get locked out. We’ve already seen this happen across Toronto including several here in Parkdale—High Park.
 Small businesses are vital to our economy. As I fight for real commercial rent relief from the province for small businesses, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if there is anything else that I can be of support to you.
Finally, please join me on Wednesday, May 13 at 4 p.m. on Facebook Live as I sit down virtually with John Kiru, Executive Director of TABIA, and representatives of our local BIAs for a focused discussion on supporting small businesses during this crisis.

Get your store Online!

The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the importance of having an online presence to sell goods and services. This tool is amplified that much more with the curbside pick up approach many of you are navigating.
Leveraging Toronto’s technology community, the City of Toronto and Digital Main Street have brought together a range of partners to build and optimize online stores for Toronto’s independent businesses and artists at no-cost.
Thanks to volunteer developers, marketing and business students, and the support of corporate partners, Toronto’s independent businesses and artists – whether they are along a main street, in an industrial park, or a studio – can access ShopHERE to get their online store built and launched with hands-on support throughout the entire process in just a matter of days.
What do businesses and artists get as part of ShopHERE?

  • Their choice of a template online Shopify store customized with their information, branding, logo, etc.
  • Hands-on assistance setting up and launching their online store.
  • Training and support covering digital marketing, shipping and operating their online store.
  • Access to free tools and various credits (from over 10 partners) to help support the launch of their online stores.

Participant Requirements:
The ShopHERE program is open to any businesses or artist that meets the following requirements:

  • Pays commercial property taxes in the City of Toronto
  • Have fewer than 10 employees, or fewer than 25 if they are a café, restaurant, or bar
  • Not be a corporate chain or franchise
  • OR must be an artist located within the City of Toronto.

 To sign up for this exciting program and receive a free online store you can fill out the application form here:
 If you have any questions, reach out to Digital Main Street at

Plexiglass barriers

  1. BESI is an Ontario based company who is producing COVID-19 Plexiglas protective barriers. Visit their website to see samples of their sneeze shields and barriers for custom order. BESI contact is Evelina (647) 272-1323 from 8am until 10pm.
  2. GERAGHTY & ASSOCIATES is a design firm creating Covid2020shields and is an Ontario based company who is producing COVID-19 Plexiglas protective barriers. Visit their website to see samples or call/email: 416.524.3534

Need access to other PPE such as face sheids, masks, gowns – please email us.

SOS – Calls for Help

More Useful Resources


Employment Insurance and Labour and Occupational Health and Safety

Export Development Canada


Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation & Trade

Ontario Ministry of Health – Stats and Self Assessment Tool

Canadian Chamber of Commerce  – Pandemic Preparedness for Business

Hamilton Chamber of Commerce – COVID-19 Resources

Ontario Chamber of Commerce

Access Now – – 

Access From HomeCovid-19 Canadian Aid and Benefits Information

Grant Thorton – Guiding Businesses Through Coronavirus

Corktown Residents & Business Association – Survey Results

Destination Development Association – Dealing With the Coronavirus Slide Deck

Help For My RestaurantWebsite Link

Heritage Canada

Hogg, Shain & Scheck – COVID-19 Tax Update

Imagine Canada

Medium – 9 things Canadian Governments Can Do to Avoid a “Social Distancing” Economic Tragedy

Rick Hansen Foundation – Useful Resources for Persons with Disabilities – Petition for non-debt solutions for small businesses

TechSoupWorking From Home

Toronto Region Board of Trade – Support & Resources for Businesses

Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO)

Retail Council of Canada

World Health Organization COVID-19 – Business and Employees


International Economic Development Council
Economic Development Preparedness as it Relates to COIVD-19 – IEDC Survey
COVID-19 Webinar Notes

Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction – Small Business Support 


blogTO Creative Ways of Supporting Local Businesses

CTVIncrease in Support for Small Business

Facebook for Business – Facebook Small Business Grants Program

Google for BusinessAd Credits for small- and medium-sized businesses

Municipal World – Municipal World Coronavirus News Update

Ottawa Citizen

Toronto Sun – Small business in desperate need of financial relief

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre – List of Known COVID-19 Scams

Toronto Police – Crime Prevention Tips for Businesses