Coronavirus Community Update

Updated April 3, 5pm 

Coronavirus Community Update

FREE TRANSIT until May 31st
Region of Waterloo's new dashboard for COVID19 data tracking; and
a weekly Coordinated COVID-19 Response Newsletter page you can subscribe to - read the April 3rd newsletter.

Leave home only for essential reasons: to access health care services; shop for groceries; pick-up medication at the pharmacy; walk pets when required; and support vulnerable community members with meeting the above needs. 

Make sure to review the Public Health Self-Assessment steps and the interactive provincial self-assessment tool. Self-isolate if needed and plan for the help and assistance you may need. Read about the difference between distancing, isolation, quarantine and lockdown from

Media updates, government and essential services updates, local businesses, mental health in times of physical distancing... what do you need to know or want to share? Write to us at

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Media Coverage

Local Government Updates

All area municipalities closing outdoor spaces, including community gardens and condo yards. Look at the information specific to your municipality. 

Community Initiatives

  • CareMongering KW Facebook Group - direct supports in the community
  • CareMongeting Cambridge Facebook Group - direct supports in the community
  • Homeless in Waterloo - direct support and an opportunity for our community to connect with people who are experiencing homelessness
  • Food Not Bombs making and sharing food to go in place of our usual serving. They will be making brown bag lunches and containers of the usual stews. Food to go will be distributed at 1:30 in front of city hall this Saturday. 
  • Nutrition for Learning Pop Up Snacks: the website lists pop up locations daily for mobile food delivery in different neighbourhoods. Donations for school children food security during pandemic can be given at this website

Food Programs

  • House of Friendship Emergency Food Hamper Program 807 Guelph St. Kitchener 519-742-0662
    • regular service, with our Emergency Food Hamper program open Monday to Friday, from 9:30am to 4:30pm. Note – if you are ill or have been asked to self-isolate, please call ahead to 519-742-8327 x600.



In addition to the 7 emergency shelters serving people in Waterloo Region, an 8th temporary shelter will open tonight at A.R. Kaufman YMCA. This overnight shelter replaces the overflow space at St. Mark’s from 9pm until 8am. House of Friendship Charles Street men’s shelter was moved to Radisson Hotel. 


If you know someone in need of emergency shelter, please connect them to a housing helpline below:

  • Single adults across the region can call 519-624-9133 between 8:00 a.m. and midnight, seven days a week
  • Youth in Kitchener-Waterloo can call 519-742-6547 between 8:30 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. On weekends, please call the single adult helpline.
  • Youth in Cambridge can call 519-998-7292 between 8:00 a.m. and midnight, seven days a week
  • Families across the region can call 519-749-2450 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday

Warming centres and public washrooms

Space(s) available for warming


Adult Recreation Centre (ARC), 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

185 King St. S., Waterloo 


Charles Street Bus Terminal, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

15 Charles St. W., Kitchener


Region of Waterloo building

150 Main Street in Cambridge, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Monday to Friday)


Public Washrooms 


Charles Street Bus Terminal, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

15 Charles St. W., Kitchener 

Kitchener City Hall, 24 hours

200 King St. W., Kitchener


Cambridge Churchill Park, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

200 Christopher Drive, Cambridge

Cambridge Riverbluffs Park, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

211 George St. N., Cambridge 

Region of Waterloo building

150 Main Street in Cambridge, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Monday to Friday)


Adult Recreation Centre (ARC), 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

185 King St. S., Waterloo 


The Government of Ontario announced on March 31 an Emergency Order to provide flexibility for nonprofits and charities. It will enable organizations to:

  • Hold meetings of directors, shareholders and members electronically or over the phone even if legislation (like Ontario’s Corporations Act) or your bylaws say you can’t. The electronic or phone system has to allow people to communicate with each other simultaneously and instantaneously. So, for example, an email chain over a few days likely would not qualify as a meeting.
  • Extend the timeframe by which corporations under the Corporations Act and Business Corporations Act must hold Annual General Meetings (AGMs). The deadline would be 90 days after the state of emergency, or if the state of emergency ends 30 before your current deadline then you have 120 days.

  Read more about the measures for the charitable organizations from Imagine Canada. 

[March 29] United Way Canada will receive $9 million to distribute to local organizations that can help seniors by delivering items to them and connecting them to other organizations, while Kids Help Phone will receive $7.5 million to bring on additional counsellors. A more comprehensive program for Canadian charities, which have warned that the pandemic could threaten their survival, is expected to be announced in the near future.

·  The Canada Emergency Business Account will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits to help cover operating costs. Organizations should contact their financial institutions to apply for these loans. To qualify, organizations must demonstrate they paid between $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019. Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000).

·  A wage subsidy of 75% of eligible salary for all employers, including charities and nonprofits, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. Previously, the Government announced a 10% wage subsidy for small employers, including nonprofits and charities. Organizations must show that revenues are down 30% or more in order to qualify. The subsidy is worth up to $847 per week per employee, with no limit on how much an organization can receive.


 Social Development Centre Waterloo Region

    • All programs and activities, including Civic Hub, are closed. Staff works online and you can reach us on email.  We check phone messages two times per day. 519-579-3800 /
    • Tax Clinic is postponed until April 5th.
    • Working on the Civic Hub Online initiative to support grassroots initiatives during the spread of the coronavirus



  • Ray of Hope
    • Youth Addiction staff by calling 519-743-2311 or emailing
    • Morning Glory at @HeffnerToyota serving Take Out Only. 
    • We have suspended all Drop-in hours, laundry, showers and extra programming
    • Only regular scheduled meals will be served (Mon-Fri 7:00-8:30 / Sat 12:00-1:30 / Sun 4:30-6:00) A max of 30 people served at a time for 30 minutes.
    • Marketplace will distribute prepackaged hampers to people at their scheduled appointment times; No new Marketplace appointments will be scheduled at this time.


  • House of Friendship 
    • Charles Street Men’s Shelter – we are continuing to provide service seven days a week, now from Radisson Hotel.
    • Addiction Treatment Services:
      • Residential Addiction Treatment – will continue;
      • Day Treatment Programs – in-person sessions are suspended; we are investigating ways to continue sessions remotely;
      • Rapid Access Addiction Clinic/Community Withdrawal Support – Clinics are closed, staff are available remotely;
      • Concurrent Supportive Housing – Residents will be supported remotely;
      • Community Counselling – counselling appointments will continue by phone;
    • Emergency Food Hampers – We are providing regular service, with our Emergency Food Hamper program open Monday to Friday, from 9:30am to 4:30pm. Note – if you are ill or have been asked to self-isolate, please call ahead to 519-742-8327 x 600.
    • Family Outreach Workers – are continuing to work, and can be reached by phone. To find a Family Outreach Worker in your community, visit
    • Community Centres-  (Sunnydale,  Centreville-Chicopee, Courtland Shelley, Kingsdale, Chandler Mowat) programs are closed. Modified community food distribution will still be happening;
    • Our Main Office at 51 Charles St. E. – will be closed to the public, but we are still receiving deliveries, and staff are available to answer phone inquiries at 519-742-8327.
  • Direct Services to Newcomers/Immigrants - update from Immigration Partnership about:
    • YMCA Immigrant Services (remote service provision) 
    • KW Multicultural Centre (remote service provision). KWMC interpreters are available via phone or videoconferencing.
    • Reception House (modified service delivery by appointment); closing its residence on David Street to the public while core services for clients will continue but be modified. The administrative office on Queen Street will continue operations, but clients and guests are asked to call or email ahead for appointments. Volunteer programs, internships and student placements at both locations are postponed, along with New Canadian Youth Connections.
    • Sanctuary Refugee Health Centre (reduction of visits, ‘phone call visits’ encouraged, emailing or sending direct messages on Facebook)
    • Mennonite Coalition for Refugee Supports (urgent meetings re Basis of Claim and work permit renewals & plans for virtual meetings)
  • Community Support Connections - safe and responsible service delivery: Meals on Wheels (Monday to Friday to the client’s doors); Grocery shopping (picked up and delivered to the door); Transportation to medical-related appointments.
  • AIDS Committee (ACCKWA) “essential activities will continue”
  • Food4Kids is extending its March Break program
  • YWCA Cambridge closures and cancellations
  • YWKWResponse and Challenges
    • Emergency Shelter– we are continuing to provide 24/7 service to women and children in our community who are experiencing homelessness
    • Supportive and Affordable housing: Request non-essential guests to refrain from visiting.
    • Early Learning and Child Care: all childcare, school age, and childminding programs closed until April 6.
    • Entrepreneur and Training Program: In Her Shoes Retail Store closed
    • Administrative office at 153 Frederick St: non-essential visits suspended until further notice. For urgent assistance, please contact 519-576-8856 ext.
  • Carizon Family and Community Services
    • While our sites are currently open at 400 Queen Street and Front Door, we are encouraging people who need mental health supports to call us to make a telephone or video appointment. Please call (519) 743-6333 to book a counselling appointment. For our Front Door intake department, please call (519) 749-2932 and press 1 when prompted.
  • KW Counselling not providing any face to face service. 
    • Walk In Counselling clinic is closed until further notice. If you are currently a client and need to speak with a counsellor, please call us at 519.884.0000 and leave a message. 
  • Kitchener Downtown Community Health Centre open from 9am to 5pm. 
    • For virtual appointments call 519-745-4404
  • Immigration Waterloo Region COVID-19 Information and Resources page
  • Lutherwood 
    • Housing Resource Centre is serving clients remotely. 519-749-2450, virtual or email
    • In-home visits (Paths2home & Families in Transition clients) continue after pre-screen for COVID-19 symptoms)
    • Community Mental health, Front Door Quick Access Service continue by appointment 519-749-2932
    • Employment Services available online
    • Safe Haven Youth Service remains open. 


Provincial and Federal Service Updates

Plain language update on benefits and emergency supports during COVID-19 pandemic from Jennifer Robson, Associate Professor of Political Management, Carleton University, who compiled it and published it at

Provincial and Federal Updates from


Government of Ontario




Government Canada


  • Additional Support for Canadian Businesses from the Economic Impact of COVID-19
  • Employment Insurance benefits and supports 1-833-381-2725
    • Applying for sickness benefits when you self-isolate for 14 days
    • Applying for regular benefits if laid off because of the pandemic
  • Federal Wage and Income supports, as of April 2020:
    • Emergency Care Benefit up to $900 biweekly for 15 weeks, workers and self employed, quarantined and sick
    • Workers and self employed taking care of family members who are sick
    • Parents with children who require care or supervision due to school closures, unable to earn employment income
  • The federal wage subsidy for small and medium-sized businesses hit by the new coronavirus pandemic is jumping up to 75 per cent, the prime minister announced on Friday.
  • Canada Revenue Agency is postponing the tax filing deadline until June 1st, and if you have to pay, the deadline is now the end of August.
  • Banks support for Mortgage payments and credit card payments, 6 months deferral. Do speak to your bank directly to verify specific supports for your situation.
  • Increased one time GST payments by early May 2020 - the average boost will be close to $400 individuals and $600 for a couple per month. Regular payments would probably double compared to 2019-2020, but tax returns have to be submitted. 
  • Boost maximum annual Canada Child Benefit payments by $300 per child for 2019-20. The increase will be about $550 on average for eligible families. Families will receive an extra $300 per child in their May payment.
  • Reduce minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25% for 2020 immediately, recognizing the impact of market volatility on retirement savings.



  • Greater KW Chamber of Commerce is seeking input from business owners re assistance they would need during distancing. 
  • Online Grocery Shopping - extra fees may be charged from each provider:
    • Walmart Grocery - orders over $50.00 with $9.97 fee for delivery
    • No Frills - orders over $30.00, no delivery, pick-up only
    • Zehrs - online or phone orders over $30.00, no delivery, pick up fees $3-$5
    • Real Canadian Superstore - online or phone orders over $30.00, no delivery, pick up fees $3-$5 (for PC members only)
  • Special Shopping Hours for Senior and Adults with Disabilities
    • Walmart Grocery, 7am-8am, Monday - Friday
    • No Frills - 7:30am-8:30am, Tuesday - Friday
    • Zehrs - 7am-8am, Monday - Friday
    • Shoppers Drug Mart is dedicating the first opening hour of shopping at our stores to our customers who need assistance or consideration, including seniors and people living with disabilities, 8am-9am with 20% discount for seniors. 
    • Real Canadian Superstore - 7am-8am, Tuesday - Friday
    • Sobeys - 1st hour after opening
    • Freshco - 1st hour after opening
    • Food Basic - check local store; 7am-8am
    • Metro - check local store; 7am-8am
  • Support Local Businesses affected by the social distancing, from Greater KW Chamber of Commerce
  • Communitech COVID-19 Info Centre - resources, tips and links.
  • No Frills in New Hamburg are only allowing 50 shoppers in at a time. One person in, one person out. Zehrs at Erb and Fischer-Hallman has portable sinks set up and hand sanitizer in a few spots around the store.
  • Tim Hortons and Starbucks restaurants have closed all dining room seating, moving to a takeout or drive-thru model at most locations. Some Starbucks locations are also closing temporarily.
  • Waterloo Taxi will offer free rides to seniors and those with disabilities in Kitchener-Waterloo. This is to coincide with the extra hour of shopping that grocery and drug stores are offering. To book your ride please call 519-888-7777 or 519-886-1200
  • Ontario Together: Government website allows Ontario businesses to join fight against COVID-19
  • Stop the Spread Business Information Line 1-888-444-3659
  • Bank of Canada lowers interest rate to 0.25%
  • COVID19 Greater KW Chamber of Commerce Updates and free webinars on how to cope with the impact of COVID-19.


Mental Health and Social Distancing 

Do we know enough about grief, or many faces of grief? “That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grier” by Scott Berinato, Harward Business Review.


  • Stay active by biking, going for walks or exercising at home