SUDBURY -- Businesses, both for and not-for-profit, as well as local politicians are relying on developing a strong online presence in order to stay relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With restaurants and bars shut down as a result of proactive measures due to the coronavirus, restaurant owners in Sudbury say it has been a challenging week.

"Oh it’s absolutely awful, no question about it," says Chuck Barbeau, owner of Di Gusto in Sudbury. "We’re just basically treading water right now, but at the end of the day, you can’t complain. We’re trying to do our part."

Barbeau’s restaurant is a member of Share Sudbury, a group of local dining options created five years ago as a way to promote local cuisine, along with Bella Vita Cucina, Hardrock 42 Gastropub, JD’s Southern Smokehouse, M.I.C. Canadian Eatery & Whisky Pub, Mr. Prime Rib, The Kouzzina, Ristorante Verdicchio, and Tony V's Pizza and Restaurant.

"We’re trying to get our product to the people. So, if you go to our website, many restaurants have the option of ordering online. Those that don’t, have instructions on their websites letting you know what the new normal is for us," said Barbeau.

Members of the not-for-profit sector are also looking to capitalize on their online resources in order to connect with the community.

Volunteer Sudbury, a volunteer resource centre, is introducing video conferencing as a way to answer any questions the public may have.

"They can email us or they can also contact us through our social media platforms," says Alanna LaHay, executive director of Volunteer Sudbury. "We are on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and they can connect with us and schedule a call virtually."

LaHay adds that they have remained in close contact with different local organizations who say that there is still a need for help during this time.

"Meals on Wheels is still actively looking for drivers to help support their isolated community," said LaHay. "So from that, all the way to doing marketing and communications from home, reviewing policies or helping write policies, these are all potential opportunities for you to give back to the community."

During this time, many have been relying on their different levels of government for support.

Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus says he is planning on providing a daily update to his constituents on everything they need to know.

"We’re giving out information," said Angus. "Everybody lives on Facebook. Many people get their information on Facebook, so let’s get good information out there. And if you’ve got questions, you’ve got concerns, just contact me. We’ll do our best to get an answer and get back to you. And so far, I’ve been finding that it’s working very well."