COVID-19 Updates for Pros: How HomeStars is Preparing and Responding
At HomeStars, the safety of our community is our main priority. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and update this page as information becomes available. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate this situation with as much care and caution as possible.
April 19, 2021
The lockdown in Ontario has been extended until May 20th, 2021. HomeStars is closely monitoring how these changes will impact our home service professionals.
According to the most recent update released by the Government of Ontario, as of April 17, residential construction activities or projects and related services are deemed Essential Construction and therefore are allowed to continue.
While residential construction projects are permitted, Canadians are urged to continue following local public health advice and to consistently maintain individual practices that keep us all safe. Home service professionals across Canada should continue to take all necessary precautions when carrying out home improvement projects.
March 18, 2021
Early in March, the Government of Ontario decided to move all regions back into the COVID-19 response framework. Under this current framework, all construction activities are permitted to take place in Ontario. To help you better understand which zone of public health measure you’re in, use this COVID-19 Public Health Unit Zone Map.
According to the Government of Ontario, businesses that may open in all zones include:
- Lawn care services, snow clearing and landscaping services.
- Domestic services that support the operation of households, including housekeeping, cooking, indoor and outdoor cleaning and maintenance services.
- Maintenance, repair and property management services that manage and maintain the safety, security, sanitation and operation of institutional, commercial, industrial and residential properties and buildings.
- Construction activities or projects and related services that support construction activities or projects, including demolition services.
- Land surveyors.
While home improvement and construction projects can now take place, Canadians are urged to continue following local public health advice and to consistently maintain individual practices that keep us all safe. We are confident that home service professionals across Canada will continue to take all necessary precautions when carrying out home improvement projects.
January 14, 2021: Ontario's latest COVID-19 restrictions
On January 12th, the Ontario government released its latest legal conditions around the stay-at-home order in place for the next 28 days to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
While the HomeStars network remains up and running connecting homeowners with reputable pros, it’s important to note that non-essential construction is restricted at this time.
Residential construction projects that are exempt and can continue:
- Essential construction and emergency constructions projects.
- Maintenance, repair and property management services that manage and maintain the safety, security sanitation, and operation of residential property and builds.
- Residential construction projects where a footing permit has been granted for a single-family, semi-detached and townhomes.
- The project is a condominium, mixed-use, or other residential building.
- The project involves renovation to residential properties and construction work was started before Jan 12, 2021.
- Construction surveying.
- Snow clearing and landscaping services.
Work that cannot take place:
- Non essential home renovations.
For more info and the latest Ontario COVID-19 updates click here and learn how to protect yourself and others.
December 21, 2020
On December 21, 2020 the Ontario government issued updated guidelines for a province-wide lockdown. Please note that these restrictions enable home services and construction to proceed with COVID-19 restrictions in place. This means that home renovations and repairs can proceed as long as they abide by the restrictions set forth. Click here for full details about the province-wide shutdown.
We encourage everyone to continue to follow the guidelines as outlined by the health authorities.
November 16, 2020: HomeStars Launches Special Edition COVID-19 Reno Report
HomeStars continues to stay close to the 2020 pandemic and monitor its impact on the home improvement industry, and our customers. In 2019, we released the first-ever Reno Report that looked at Canadian attitudes, intentions and spending when it comes to home improvement. This year, amidst a global pandemic, many home service pros and homeowners alike wondered what this would mean for the home improvement industry.
We surveyed homeowners across Canada this year and the results point in a positive direction for pros in the home improvement industry. The majority of respondents were still planning to take on home projects despite COVID-19. Read on to learn more about our most interesting findings in this year's Reno Report.
May 14, 2020
We continue to stay close to updates affecting our pros during the COVID-19 outbreak, and have some great news for Ontario pros:
The latest from the Ontario government states that phase 1 of its reopening plan involves a full resumption of all construction projects, starting on May 19.
Physical distancing measures will still be required. Click to learn more.
May 1, 2020
We continue to stay close to updates affecting our pros during the COVID-19 outbreak. The latest from the Ontario government states that certain businesses can re-open as May 4th, as long as they comply with strict public health measures.
Those permitted to start up include seasonal businesses like landscapers. The news comes one day after the release of this list of sector-specific guidelines industries must follow in order to reopen.
In relation to the construction industry, precautions to follow are:
- Plan for enough tools to be on-site, so workers don't have to share.
- Place work clothes into a bag before taking home to wash.
- An appropriate number of toilets and clean-up facilities for staff.
To learn more: https://bit.ly/3d7l7u6.
Stay up to date with construction site health and safety updates from the government of Ontario, here: https://bit.ly/2VSnPxO.
April 3, 2020
With the safety and support of our pros in mind, we’ve been closely following the list of Ontario’s essential businesses that can remain open at this time. Here’s the latest update for Ontario's construction sector, following advice from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.
In summary, new construction projects will not be able to commence at present, however, any project that starts before April 4 can be completed. Repairs, sanitization, and functional projects can also occur if essential for both commercial and residential businesses. Get the full details, here.
Apr 2, 2020
We reached out to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in search of more support & guidance for our pros, and they shared with us these helpful government resources for small businesses - check them out below:
- Small Business Services
- Resources for Canadian Businesses (COVID-19)
- Federal Support for Businesses
- Ontario Together: Help fight coronavirus disease
- Ontario: Stop the Spread
- Webinar on How to cope with the impact of COVID-19 on your business hosted by the BCD.
If you have any questions about the above, you can contact the Canadian Chamber of Commerce by email or phone at 1-888-576-4444.
March 27, 2020
Great news in support of small businesses like our network of pros across Canada: Trudeau promises 75% wage subsidy for businesses hit by coronavirus pandemic. Read more.
March 26, 2020
HomeStars supports our pro community, and small businesses are the core of our economy. Your business may be eligible for the Small Business Wage Subsidy that the Canadian Government is offering. The subsidy is equal to 10% of the remuneration you pay between March 18, 2020, and June 20, 2020, up to $1,375 per employee and to a maximum of $25,000 total per employer. Find out more here.
March 25, 2020
Dear HomeStars Pros,
Now more than ever, Canadians have united to keep our communities safe. While the current COVID-19 pandemic has changed life as we know it for the time being, we Canadians remain strong in our efforts to persevere through these uncertain times. We all play a part in keeping each other safe and healthy, and we know that we will only come out of this stronger. With so much news and information being shared daily, we would like to offer an update to our community.
Earlier this week, Ontario and other provinces announced states of emergency. Premier Ford declared the temporary closure of non-essential businesses and released the Ontario Government’s List of Essential Businesses. HomeStars is deemed a company that provides service to essential businesses so we will continue to support our homeowner and home service pro community online. With respect to home services, our team has interpreted Ford’s release, with the understanding that homeowners still need repair work done to keep an operational, safe and sanitary home, and those providers will still be in operation.
We understand and that your business has likely felt the effects of COVID-19. Even in these times of uncertainty, HomeStars will continue to invest in the growth of your business. We will do this by continuing with our robust marketing plan aimed at maximizing visibility to homeowners and ensuring that they know HomeStars is the place to research and hire service pros.
Our Account Managers and Business Development Associates remain available should you want to discuss further. We urge our network of pros to take the necessary safety precautions recommended by the health authorities to ensure the safety of your customers, staff, and our community.
Let’s all work together to do our part in helping keep our community safe and healthy.
March 18, 2020
With the current COVID-19 pandemic, we want to send you a brief note to assure you that the HomeStars network remains up and running to help Canadian homeowners connect with our network of pros.
Inevitably, repair needs still arise that demand attention and many homeowners are using this time at home to kick off planning for their Spring projects. Our team is still working hard (while practicing social distancing) to make these connections between project-ready homeowners and our pros.
Adjusting to new homeowner behaviours
Homeowners will be taking extra safety precautions for upcoming projects. Here are some practices to consider:
- Collect job details via email, phone or with the HomeStars for Pros App. Communicating at a distance is our duty at this time.
- Schedule a face-to-face conversation using video conferencing like Zoom, WhatsApp or Facetime to be able to provide quotes virtually.
- If you do have to go into a customer’s home, make sure that you are not sick and haven’t travelled recently. Be sure to confirm that the homeowner is also well and that they have not travelled in the past 14 days.
Taking the necessary precautions on and off the job site
It is everyone’s responsibility to do their part in containing COVID-19. Here are some tips for staying safe on a job site:
- Use quick-acting hydrogen peroxide-based disinfectant.
- Wear shoe covers or remove shoes entirely when entering a client’s home.
- Disinfect high-touch areas before and after servicing someone's home, including light switches, doorknobs, and more.
- Wash your hands prior to entering a client’s home, and wash mindfully while on a project.
- Don’t shake hands. Keep 6 feet of distance between you and customers.
Our marketing efforts during this time
Homeowners are still active on our site. Top job request categories this week have been Carpentry, Appliance Repairs and Bathroom Renovations. Our marketing campaigns are still live across channels including:
- Search Engines: Our online campaigns are all live and ready to capture homeowners with the highest intent and ready to submit their job requests.
- Content: Emails are being sent to our homeowner community on recommended steps for carrying out essential tasks and repairs during this time, and to help them kick off virtual planning for Spring projects
These efforts are driving profile visits and connections, so ensure you’re using the app to answer inquiries as they come in.
We hope that you, your business team, and families stay safe and healthy during this time.
Our team remains accessible to you. If you have any questions about the above information, feel free to reach out to your dedicated Account Manager, or call 1-877-488-0312.
Founder & CEO HomeStars