Stratford receives funding to aid in tourism recovery efforts

Blackburn News file photo.

The City of Stratford is receiving funding to help with tourism recovery efforts.

The city confirmed on Friday that it will receive $750,000 in funding from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario to help with the recovery project, which the city has dubbed the Stratford Tourism Alteration Transformation Project (STAT). The program will be administered by investStratford for the Economic Response and Recovery Task Force and aid Stratford businesses who have been impacted by the decline in tourism in the City of Stratford due to COVID-19.

“I’m tremendously grateful to the Government of Canada and the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario for this crucial support during these difficult economic times,” said Stratford Mayor Dan Mathieson. “Stratford’s businesses have been hit hard by the decline of tourism and this grant will provide much-needed support for those struggling to re-open and/or remain open. Our community is working hard to adapt so that we can come out of this stronger than ever before.”

The new funding will be handed out in non-repayable contributions of $7,500 and up to $20,000 to support one-time adaptation and re-opening costs projects, which could include:

-implementation of health and safety protocols

-alterations to accommodate social distancing (e.g. expansion of patio space for restaurants, acquisition of outdoor heaters, etc.)

-purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for workers and cleaning supplies for businesses;

-digital tools and transformations for tourism operators (virtual queuing, timed-entry ticketing, etc.)

Applications will be assessed based on eligible expenditures & project scope, tourism-related job creation & jobs maintained, how the project strengthens the business in COVID-19 realities and how the project ensures long-term sustainability. Priority will be given to businesses located within the City of Stratford. For more information visit http://investstratford.com/STAT.

“Stratford’s business community is comprised of some of the most creative and resilient individuals you can imagine,” said Joani Gerber, CEO of investStratford. “This financial boost will provide them an essential leg-up in these difficult times. I’m very pleased FedDev has recognized our need and know that our businesses will benefit greatly from the funds both short and long-term.”