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300 more sailings, BC Ferries loosens restrictions – Times Colonist

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B.C. Ferries is loosening some restrictions and increasing capacity as summer travel within the province grows.

Passenger numbers have risen to about 70 per cent of what they were at this time last year, said Tessa Humphries, communications manager for B.C. Ferries. In the early days of the pandemic, they were about 20 per cent of normal.

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Passenger capacity had been capped at 50 per cent, but that restriction is being phased out to increase service, Humphries said.

That level was set by Transport Canada, which gave operators a choice between limiting capacity and implementing enhanced cleaning and physical- distancing measures.

Humphries said B.C. Ferries implemented both measures at first but has now decided to phase out the capacity limit. B.C. Ferries consulted with Transport Canada on the change, she said.

Enhanced physical-distancing and cleaning protocols, including clear plastic barriers and face- coverings, remain in place. Passengers are asked whether they’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms prior to travel, and those in vehicles are allowed to remain inside their cars.

More than 300 sailings per month have been added on major routes between the Island and the Lower Mainland since the start of June. The company is aiming to keep capacity about 20 per cent above demand, Humphries said.

“We will have fewer sailings than in summer schedules of the past, but significantly more than what was available as a result of the service cuts in April,” she said.

The company has also added an additional vessel on the route between Departure Bay and Horseshoe Bay on Fridays and Sundays, and a second vessel on the route that services the southern Gulf Islands on Thursdays through Mondays.

“We did also hear from the communities that there was a struggle for capacity there,” Humphries said, adding that it wasn’t uncommon for sailings on Gulf Islands route to be completely booked.

Passengers travelling by car are encouraged to book in advance or choose less busy times to travel.

Humphries said B.C. Ferries expects it will take a couple of years before passenger numbers return to pre-pandemic levels.

Onboard food services have resumed on some minor routes, including between Swartz Bay and the Gulf Islands, and the Passages gift shop reopened Friday on sailings between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen. Packaged food and limited hot food resumed on three major routes between the Island and the Lower Mainland in June.

The Lands End Café in the Swartz Bay terminal also recently reopened. Markets in the Departure Bay and Tsawwassen terminals reopened in late June.

The drop in ferry traffic has cost B.C. Ferries millions of dollars in lost revenue.

Humphries said the company is evaluating the financial situation daily and reopening onboard amenities will provide another revenue stream.

“But we’re all doing all of that carefully and gradually, as well as safely reintroducing these services,” she said.

regan-elliott@timescolonist.com

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Onion recall expands across Canada; 17 hospitalizations linked to salmonella – Global News

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The Canadian Food Inspection Agency on Sunday expanded its recall of onions from the United States linked to 17 salmonella hospitalizations in Canada.

The department said the recall now includes red, yellow, white and sweet yellow onions that are distributed by the company, Thomson International in California. It was initially only red onions.

Read more:
Red onions from the U.S. could contain salmonella, health officials warn

Since the initial recall on July 30, there have been six additional reported illnesses of salmonella linked to the onions, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said in a statement. The cases were in Saskatchewan and Quebec.

There are a total of 120 cases of salmonella in Canada linked to the onions, the agency said. The impacted provinces are British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Prince Edward Island.

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“Although the investigation has determined that red onions are the likely source of the outbreak, Thomson International Inc. has recalled all varieties of onions that could have come in contact with potentially contaminated red onions, due to the risk of cross-contamination. Onion varieties include red, white, yellow, and sweet yellow onions,” the statement read.






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Foods pregnant women should eat and avoid


Foods pregnant women should eat and avoid

The agency warned Canadians to no eat, use, sell or serve any red, white, yellow and sweet yellow onions from Thomson International, or any products made with these onions.

If you check the sticker on your onion or label on a bag, and it’s not clear whether it came from the U.S., you should throw it out anyway, PHAC said.

There have been no reported deaths.

It’s possible that more cases will be reported as “there is a period of time between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported to public health officials. For this outbreak, the illness reporting period is between two and four weeks,” PHAC said.

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Read more:
Why finding the source of a foodborne illness outbreak isn’t easy

In the U.S., federal health officials said nearly 400 people in more than 30 states have reported salmonella linked to onions from Thomson International.

The federal agency said the illnesses began between mid-June and mid-July.

Salmonella symptoms typically start six to 72 hours after exposure to the bacteria and can include fever, chills, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, nausea and vomiting. These usually last between four and seven days.

Most people recover without treatment, but in some cases, antibiotics may be required. Children aged five years and under, older adults, pregnant women or people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for contracting serious illness.

— With files from Global News’ Leslie Young and the Associated Press

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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U.S. stock markets move higher to start August; gold up – Business News – Castanet.net

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U.S. stock markets started the month higher as the price of gold briefly surpassed US$2,000 an ounce.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 118.61 points at 26,546.93. The S&P 500 index was up 18.14 points at 3,289.26, while the Nasdaq composite was up 113.36 points at 10,856.90.

The S&P/TSX composite index was closed due to the Civic Holiday in many provinces.

The Canadian dollar traded for 74.44 US compared with 74.60 on Friday.

The September crude contract was up 17 cents at US$40.44 per barrel and the September natural gas contract was 15.3 cents at US$1.95 per mmBTU.

The December gold contract, which had the highest trading volume, was down US$3.20 at US$1,982.70 an ounce after peaking at US$2,009.50. The September copper contract was up 4.15 cents at nearly US$2.91 a pound.

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China's factory output grows at strongest pace in nearly decade. But weak spots remain – CNN

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A private survey of manufacturing activity rose to 52.8 in July, up from June’s 51.2 as factories in the country picked up new orders. That’s the quickest rate since January 2011. The Caixin/Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index beat market estimates and marked a third straight month the index remained above 50, the level that separates expansion from contraction.
China's economy is growing again. That's good news for the rest of the world
The survey was the latest sign of improvement in China. The economy returned to growth last quarter after recording its worst three-month period in decades. And the country’s official PMI survey released Friday — which mainly covers larger business and state-owned firms — indicated a fifth consecutive month of expansion for the sector. (The Caixin poll is more focused on small and medium-sized companies.)
Stimulus measures in China have “paved the way for a period of above-trend growth in construction and industry,” wrote Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist for Capital Economics, in a Monday research note. China promised in May it would throw 3.6 trillion yuan (roughly $500 billion) at its economy in extra stimulus measures, including allowing local governments to issue more bonds to build 5G networks, railways, and other infrastructure projects.
Evans-Pritchard added that the strength in manufacturing could offset struggles in other areas, including the services industry.
Despite the growth, Caixin’s survey revealed some weak spots. New export orders contracted for a seventh straight month as the coronavirus weighs on overseas demand. The labor market is also under strain, as firms maintain a cautious approach to hiring.
“We caution that manufacturing PMIs could moderate in coming months as recovery momentum softens across the world due to the protracted Covid-19 pandemic,” Nomura analysts wrote in a Monday research note.
The Nomura analysts cautioned that the Chinese economy still faces many challenges. It has still proven tough for Beijing to convince people to spend money again. And rising US-China tensions could hit both exports and manufacturing investment.
“We believe it is still too early for Beijing to unwind or roll back the easing and stimulus measures it introduced” in the first half, they said, adding, though, that Beijing might be reluctant to roll out more stimulus in the second half of the year.
Beijing has recently indicated that it may continue to focus on boosting demand at home. “Domestic circulation” as the main driver of future growth was the emphasis at a policy meeting last week held by the Politburo, the Communist Party’s top decision-making body.

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