As COVID-19 cases continued to soar over the weekend, with 896 new cases in Quebec on Sunday and 698 on Saturday, Health Minister Christian Dubé said he expects to upgrade Montreal’s alert status this week.
The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade is calling on the province to speed up the Massey Tunnel replacement, support child care spaces and create a new small business grant program as part of the COVID-19 economic recovery.
The board released its 38-page plan on Tuesday. The B.C. government is expected to present a $2.5-billion economic recovery plan in a few weeks.
Statistics Canada estimates that in Metro Vancouver alone, more than 8,000 businesses have been lost since February. The Greater Vancouver region has lost 149,100 jobs since February, representing more than 10 per cent of the workforce. The unemployment rate has climbed to 11.6 per cent from 4.6 per cent before the pandemic.
“Bold vision is required to help businesses not only survive but to emerge more resilient and competitive. With the right actions, I am confident that we will not only overcome these economic challenges but also make necessary progress on broader societal issues,” president and CEO Bridgitte Anderson said.
“To realize a full and resilient recovery, the government must act now with immediate measures that get people to work and lay the foundation for a strong economic future.”
According to the board’s latest survey, done in collaboration with the BC Chamber of Commerce, the BC Business Council and the Mustel Group from July 6 to 13, two-thirds of businesses surveyed are using some form of government support amid the pandemic.
Businesses expect a substantial “second wave” of negative impacts should these programs expire too quickly.
The board is calling on the province to create a Working Capital Grant for small businesses to help restart or retool, alongside a COVID-19 Training and Retraining Grant to help with increased training costs.
The board’s plan includes support for access to child care, including increasing flexibility and maintaining financial aid to maintain spaces and avoid closures. It also calls for the province to provide support to sectors that have broad economic impacts, such as tourism and travel, to ensure that safe travel does not fall off entirely once the summer has ended.
The board is also focused on pushing the province to spend on capital projects, including the expansion of SkyTrain in Surrey and to Langley, the Broadway Millennium Line extension to the University of British Columbia and the urban transit gondola to Simon Fraser University.
Hurrying up the work on the once-cancelled replacement for the George Massey Tunnel, a major commuter route, is also a priority.
“We must approach economic recovery efforts with the same determination as the public health emergency,” Anderson said.
“As we deal with the challenges of today, we must also plan for the future so that we can emerge from this crisis as a more resilient and competitive region.”
Other suggestions from the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade include:
- Improve investment climate by lowering the marginal effective tax rate, either through a made-in-B.C. value-added sales tax, or removing the PST on capital expenditures and/or on business inputs;
- Provide longer tax deferrals on tax remittances and/or a long-term payment plan for businesses impacted by COVID-19;
- Consider an employee withholding (i.e. payroll) tax holiday;
- Improve broadband access with additional funds while working with internet service providers and different levels of government to support connectivity;
- Support the transition to a low carbon future focused on COVID-19 recovery projects that advance renewable energy, demonstrate technologies, increase the resiliency of the energy system, and grow it to serve new markets with low-carbon fuels;
- Helping urban and Main Street businesses survive by creating a new commercial property “sub-class” to enable split-assessments and working with stakeholders to explore options to bring about greater fairness and certainty to the property tax system;
- Reduce internal trade barriers so that doing business across provinces and municipalities is easier; and
- Support initiatives that recognize the value of diverse workforces and that promote reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
Source: – Global News
Today's coronavirus news: Toronto public school closed due to outbreak; Staff test positive at two King Street restaurants; Quebec reports 896 new cases – Toronto Star
9:30 p.m.: The Toronto District School Board said Sunday that public health officials have declared an outbreak at Mason Road Junior Public School, in Scarborough, and ordered that it be closed until Friday, Oct. 2, while they investigate. It is the first school to be closed in Toronto due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
Toronto’s first school outbreak was declared at Friday at Glen Park Public School, where two students tested positive. As of Sunday evening, a total of 37 public schools across Toronto were reporting infections among students or staff, or both.
7:00 p.m.: As authorities sought to contain COVID-19 outbreaks at British universities Sunday, some students complained they were being “imprisoned” in their dormitories and politicians debated whether young people should be allowed to go home for Christmas.
Students at universities in Glasgow, Manchester and Edinburgh — who have returned to campus in the past few weeks — are being asked to self-isolate in their residence halls, with security guards at some schools preventing young people from leaving their buildings.
While students at Glasgow University greeted the lockdown with humour, posting signs asking passersby to “send beer,” those in Manchester had a darker message, taping “HMP MMU” in their windows, suggesting the dormitory had become “Her Majesty’s Prison Manchester Metropolitan University.”
The lockdowns come as more students headed back to campuses across the country, and some observers criticized the government’s decision to reopen universities despite forecasts that this would lead to virus outbreaks. The government defended the decision, saying it had put clear guidelines in place to protect students and staff.
5:13 p.m.: The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 5:09 p.m. EDT on Sept. 27, 2020:
There are 153,124 confirmed cases in Canada.
- Quebec: 71,901 confirmed (including 5,825 deaths, 61,129 resolved)
- Ontario: 49,831 confirmed (including 2,839 deaths, 42,796 resolved)
- Alberta: 17,343 confirmed (including 261 deaths, 15,585 resolved)
- British Columbia: 8,641 confirmed (including 230 deaths, 7,036 resolved)
- Manitoba: 1,880 confirmed (including 19 deaths, 1,272 resolved)
- Saskatchewan: 1,878 confirmed (including 24 deaths, 1,710 resolved)
- Nova Scotia: 1,087 confirmed (including 65 deaths, 1,021 resolved)
- Newfoundland and Labrador: 272 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 267 resolved)
- New Brunswick: 200 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 191 resolved)
- Prince Edward Island: 58 confirmed (including 57 resolved)
- Yukon: 15 confirmed (including 15 resolved)
- Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)
- Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)
- Nunavut: No confirmed cases
- Total: 153,124 (0 presumptive, 153,124 confirmed including 9,268 deaths, 131,097 resolved)
2:46 p.m.: Public Health officials in Newfoundland and Labrador are reporting one new confirmed case of COVID-19 and are urging anyone who shared his flight out of Toronto last week to get tested.
The new case, announced Sunday, involves a man between 20 and 39 years of age who had recently returning home to the province from Manitoba, which announced 51 new cases on Sunday for an active total of 589. Newfoundland now has two active cases.
Officials say the man has been self-isolating since arrival and following Public Health guidelines.
However, the Department of Health and Community Services is asking people who travelled on WestJet Flights 306 and 328 departing Winnipeg and Toronto for St. John’s on Monday, Sept. 21, to call the 811 non-urgent health line to arrange for COVID-19 testing.
They say the request is out of an abundance of caution.
1:34 p.m.: A King Street East restaurant, Reyna, revealed Sunday on Instagram that it has temporarily closed after one of its staff tested positive for COVID-19.
“We are saddened to announce that one of our Reyna on King team members has tested positive for COVID-19. This person last worked at Reyna on King on Wednesday, Sept. 24th, 2020 and is currently self-isolating … we decided to immediately close Reyna on King and neighbouring Reyna Bazaar until further notice. While closed, these actions will be take: 1) Reyna on King and Reyna Bazaar “will be professionally sanitized and deep cleaned to ensure all surfaces are clear of any contamination. 2) The entire Reyna on King and Reyna Bazaar team, as well as anyone from Bar Reyna who came in contact with the infected employee, has self-isolated and is required to get tested for COVID-19 in the next 24 hrs. Nobody will be permitted to return to work without proof of negative COVID-19 test results.”
Reyna, on King Street East, is some distance from the three King Street West restaurants shuttered by Toronto Public Health over the weekend for COVID-19 rule violations. Further down King Street West, an outbreak at Regulars Bar was revealed on Sunday.
1:15 p.m.: Provincial police remain on the scene Sunday in Wasaga Beach where hundreds of modified cars descended this weekend for stunt driving, racing and more.
The town saw a large influx of car enthusiasts starting Friday for what police called an unsanctioned car rally. Late on Saturday, OPP officers set up at the entrances to town and began turning away motorists who were not Wasaga Beach residents.
“There was an overall disregard of any kind of rules at all, so they made the decision in the interest of public safety to shut down the town, for lack of a better word,” said OPP Sgt. Jason Folz.
Folz said there was a lack of physical distancing and complete disregard for the limits on outdoor social gatherings (25 people), which were implemented to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Folz said some vehicles were seized and tickets were issued under the Highway Traffic Act and the Reopening Ontario Act.
Folz said the car “take-over” continued on Sunday and that police maintained an active presence throughout the duration.
OPP were assisted by a helicopter, which Folz said was used to track people fleeing from police, monitor gatherings, and collect evidence. Police from York Region and Peel Region also assisted.
Folz said information on the number of tickets and charges handed out over the weekend was not available yet.
12:05 p.m.: Toronto Public Health stated on Sunday that it’s notifying staff and patrons who visited the Regulars Bar on King St. W. between Sept. 13 and 22 about a potential exposure to COVID-19 after three bar employees have tested positive.
TPH says it has followed up with all known close contacts, who have been asked to self-isolate for 14 days and to go for testing. If you were at Regulars, 668 King St. W., at Bathurst, during this time but haven’t been contacted by TPH, you are not identified as a close contact and are viewed as low risk, but as a precaution, TPH asks you to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms for 14 days after their visit.
TPH estimates approximately 600 people may have been at the venue during this time.
11:27 a.m.: Quebec is reporting 896 new cases of COVID-19 today, the highest single-day tally since May.
Health officials say four additional deaths were also reported: two in the past 24 hours, and two that took place between Sept. 20 and 25.
Authorities say hospitalizations went down by one in the past 24 hours for a total of 216.
Of those, 41 people are in intensive care — a drop of four from the previous day.
The province has now recorded a total of 71,901 COVID-19 cases and 5,825 total deaths attributed to the coronavirus.
Health Minister Christian Dube says the increase in cases is primarily due to community transmission of the virus, and the province is asking Quebecers to limit their contact with others over the next few weeks.
11:21 a.m.: The Correctional Service of Canada says it is suspending visits to federal prisons in Quebec to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19.
The agency says temporary absences and work releases from institutions and community correctional centres in the province are also suspended. Quebec has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, reporting 896 new cases on Sunday.
CSC says health services in its Quebec facilities will continue and temporary absences will be allowed on medical and compassionate grounds. For now the restrictions do not apply to facilities in other provinces.
The agency says there are no active cases of COVID-19 among inmates in its 43 institutions across Canada.
10:21 a.m.: Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott stated on Twitter on Sunday that the province is reporting 491 new cases of COVID-19 after more than 42,500 tests were completed. Locally, there are 137 new cases in Toronto with 131 in Peel, 58 in Ottawa and 58 in York Region.
Two more deaths were recorded on the province’s tracking site, and 289 more recoveries. The net result is that Ontario’s active case total climbed by 200 to 4,196. The most recent numbers from the City of Toronto put the local active-case count at 1,421.
The number of Ontarians hospitalized increased by 12 to 112.
The provincial new-case number — the highest since May 2, during the first wave — compares to 435 new cases reported on Saturday and 409 on Friday. Ontario’s death toll stands at 2,839.
10:13 a.m.: Canadian ski resort operators planning for a season that begins in about two months are being forced to balance profits with protecting the health of their guests in view of the pandemic. Although medical experts agree there’s little chance of infection while flying through the powder on a steep double-black-diamond ski run, they say the risk increases dramatically when riding a packed gondola to the top of the hill or enjoying an apres-ski cocktail in a jammed resort bar.
Resorts say skiers and snowboarders will have to wear masks on lifts and gondolas and when indoors and social distancing will be encouraged by removing tables and chairs in bars and restaurants. They are vowing more frequent cleaning and sanitizing.
But few are actually restricting the total number of skiers they allow on the hill, a prospect that worries Dr. Stephen Freedman, a researcher and professor at the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary. “The ski hills have a responsibility to control the number of people that are on the hill and that number cannot be as high as it was pre-COVID,” he warned.
Gondola loading is particularly tricky for Sunshine Village ski resort in Banff National Park, where the only way for guests to get from the parking lot to the main ski area is by taking a 17-minute ride in an eight-person gondola car.
“As the gondola is our main lifeline, when it is busy we will be loading it to capacity,” said spokeswoman Kendra Scurfield in an interview. “We tried limiting capacity in the spring prior to being closed for COVID and we found the lineup was more of a hazard. People weren’t social distancing in line, it backed onto to the road, it just became more dangerous than loading people up.”
Meanwhile, at destination resort Whistler Blackcomb, 120 kilometres north of Vancouver, no formal limits have been placed on the number of guests allowed on the hill but the expectation is that numbers — which can reach 35,000 people on busy days — will be 10 to 20 per cent lower, said spokesman Marc Riddell.
8:02 a.m.: CERB payments will begin to wind down starting this weekend. In its place is employment insurance, which the government says the majority of people will go on, and a new suite of benefits that won’t exist unless approved by Parliament.
As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3 billion to 8.8 million people, or roughly two in every five members of the nearly 20.2 million-strong labour force in August.
Benefits were paid up front, which won’t be the case for those in the first wave of being transferred to the new system: The government says the first payment will come the week of Oct. 11. About 80 per cent are expected to receive payments by Oct. 14; a further 10 per cent within the first two weeks.
The $500-a-week floor on benefits in EI, or $300 per week floor for new parents using the extended-leave option, will be taxable. Jobless benefits through this EI program will be available for at least 26 weeks, and claimants will be allowed to earn more than they did under the CERB, up to $38,000 annually, before being completely cut off.
Employers will also be allowed to use “supplemental unemployment benefits” to top up EI payments.
The threshold to qualify for EI has been reduced to 120 hours of insurable work for those coming back into the system that has been nearly dormant since March.
The government says 2.8 million people will qualify for EI as of Monday. But many may not do so automatically.
7:37 a.m.: A former Lebanese foreign minister and son-in-law of President Michel Aoun has tested positive for the coronavirus, his office said Sunday.
The statement from his office said Gebran Bassil, who also heads the Christian Free Patriotic Movement party, will isolate until he recovers, adding that the infection level is still “low and acceptable.”
The announcement comes amid an alarming surge in coronavirus cases in Lebanon, with record numbers registered almost every day for the past week.
The Health Ministry confirmed Saturday 1,280 new coronavirus cases, bringing the overall number of infections in Lebanon to 33,162. The government has recorded 317 deaths from COVID-19 since the first case was reported in late February.
Sunday 7:34 a.m.: There are 151,671 confirmed cases in Canada.
Quebec: 71,005 confirmed (including 5,821 deaths, 60,660 resolved)
Ontario: 49,340 confirmed (including 2,837 deaths, 42,507 resolved)
Alberta: 17,343 confirmed (including 261 deaths, 15,585 resolved)
British Columbia: 8,641 confirmed (including 230 deaths, 7,036 resolved)
Saskatchewan: 1,863 confirmed (including 24 deaths, 1,705 resolved)
Manitoba: 1,829 confirmed (including 19 deaths, 1,265 resolved)
Nova Scotia: 1,087 confirmed (including 65 deaths, 1,021 resolved)
Newfoundland and Labrador: 272 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 267 resolved)
New Brunswick: 200 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 191 resolved)
Prince Edward Island: 58 confirmed (including 57 resolved)
Yukon: 15 confirmed (including 15 resolved)
Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)
Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)
Nunavut: No confirmed cases
Total: 151,671 (0 presumptive, 151,671 confirmed including 9,262 deaths, 130,327 resolved)
Correction (Sept. 27): This article has been corrected from a previous version. The 1:34 p.m. news item mistakenly said that Bar Reyna in Yorkville was temporarily closed. In fact, only Reyna on King Street East and the neighbouring Reyna Bazaar are temporarily closed for cleaning after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19. Bar Reyna in Yorkville is not affected.
Musicians barred from regular shows get creative during COVID-19 – CTV News
COVID-19 measures have made the world a little quieter, as public health measures limit large-scale performances for bands, choirs and musicians, but some Manitoba musicians are finding ways to keep the music going.
At Oak Park High School in Winnipeg, students can’t sing ‘O’ Canada’ in the classroom, but band practice is still going on. It’s just being held outside.
“The goal is to try and have as many extracurriculars go forward as possible,” Principal Troy Scott told CTV News. “We’ve had to say no to a lot of things over the last six months and we want to start saying yes.”
The pandemic has changed the way music programs function.
Many schools have cancelled choir and band classes, but even on windy days, teachers and students at Oak Park have found a way to keep playing together, at least for now.
“It’s been strange, but I’m really grateful that we have it,” said Isabelle Buisson, a student at Oak Park.
Others have found more unique ways to play.
Kara Heckford, a 17-year-old high school student and clarinetist, decided to start a virtual ensemble because she missed performing.
After she put out a call for help online, she received responses from around the world, with musicians from countries including Spain, Estonia and Portugal signaling their desire to be a part of the project.
Musicians recorded their own parts of several symphonies, which were then edited together to create videos of the ensemble working together.
“Performing is my life. When I play, I really connect with people I play to,” Heckford told CTV News. “It’s sort of like this bond, but with people you’ve never met before.”
Musical performances are one of those bonding experiences that have been fundamentally altered by the pandemic, and as the months drag on, some are calling for change.
The Manitoba Choral Association (MCA) started a petition requesting the provincial government review its recommendations for instrumentalists and vocalists, calling the existing measures too restrictive for choirs. The Manitoba ChoralFest, one of the MCA’s “flagship programs,” had to be cancelled in August ahead of its upcoming November dates, something the MCA announced with “great sadness.”
“We have thousands of singers here in Manitoba that would love to get back to choir, and of course, we all want to do it safely,” Jenny Steinke-Magnus, executive director of the Manitoba Choral Association, told CTV News.
Right now, the COVID-19 guidelines in Manitoba state singing and playing brass or wind instruments carries a higher risk of transmission, due to performers projecting their voices or breath as part of the performance. Performances are allowed, but the province recommends they occur in smaller groups, at outdoor venues where physical distancing is possible.
But with cool weather setting in, outdoor performances will soon become impossible.
The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, which had been doing virtual performances, will begin live performances again this fall.
In order to make the experience safer, a significantly smaller audience will be permitted into their concert hall, which seats 2,300 people at capacity.
“We’re able to have a really reduced number of audience members,” Julian Pellicano, WSO associate conductor told CTV News.
For those who love to play, the music will continue. The question going forward into winter is whether or not the audience will be able to participate in the same way.
Montreal and Quebec City will enter red zone soon: official – Paris Star
As COVID-19 cases continued to soar over the weekend, with 896 new cases in Quebec on Sunday and 698 on Saturday, Health Minister Christian Dubé said he expects to upgrade Montreal’s alert status this week.
“I think we’ve reached that point,” Dubé said Sunday night on Radio-Canada talk show Tout le monde en parle. Montreal and Quebec City, he said, will go from orange (alert) to red (maximum alert) status “in the coming days.”
“What we’ll try to do in the coming days, it’s our biggest challenge, to find an equilibrium mainly — I’ll be very transparent — in Montreal and Quebec City, which are the hardest hit, they’re very close to the red zone.”
Dubé didn’t give details on what restrictions an upgrade to “maximum alert” would impose, explaining his department is working on finalizing those details over the coming hours. He did say the priorities would be keeping children in schools, allowing people to work, maintaining a “minimum of commerce” and containing outbreaks and protecting hospitals.
“They’re decisions that will be very difficult, but we have to make them,” Dubé said.
On Sunday, Quebec had 71,901 confirmed COVID-19 cases, of which 4,937 were active and 5,825 had died. Of the active cases, 216 were in hospital, and of those 41 were in intensive care. The number of people in hospitals has increased 57 per cent in a week.
A total of 27,380 people tested on Friday, for a cumulative total of 2,260,835 people tested to date.
The rising number of infections underlines the need for people to forgo social gatherings, said Dr. Jay Kaufman, an epidemiologist at McGill University.
Get-togethers with friends and family functions are likely the main cause of the recent uptick in the spread of the virus, which is seeing its highest numbers since cases peaked in April and May, he said.
“This means that it is largely up to individuals to ramp up their precautions and vigilance,” Kaufman warned.
On Friday, and again on Sunday, Dubé asked Quebecers to avoid all social contacts for the next 28 days in an effort to break the second wave of COVID-19.
“It is for a month — this is not permanent,” Dubé said on Friday. “We’re asking you for a month of effort to break the second wave.”
With cases of COVID-19 surging, Viva Singer said there was no question of gathering with 14 members of her family to celebrate Yom Kippur on Sunday.
“With cases close to 900, it just didn’t seem prudent,” Singer said as she stopped to chat with a friend on Sherbrooke St. in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.
Singer said she is didn’t think it would be safe for her 83-year-old mother to be exposed to so many people and feared that her mother and other seniors will be isolated during the long winter if Quebecers don’t follow the advice of public health officials.
“My mother is an active senior and she isn’t going to Florida this year,” Singer said. “Florida is a scary place right now.”
Kaufman said the reason it is important to avoid get-togethers is that indoor events are the most impactful in terms of spreading the virus. The super spreader karaoke outbreak in Quebec City in August is an example, he noted.
Since it is difficult for the government to enforce rules on what people do in the privacy of their own homes, it is incumbent on people to exercise patience and restraint, he said.
“This is the space in which we are losing this war, and it is a matter of individual education and responsibility to convince people to hold off on gatherings, events and celebrations for some weeks until community transmission falls,” he said.
Evelyn Couture said she is glad that the health minister has asked Quebecers to avoid all non-essential gatherings for 28 days.
“I think it should possibly be made mandatory,” said Couture, who is part-owner of Doghaus, a pet supply store in N.D.G.
“From what I saw this weekend, people are not taking it seriously. There were lots of people out and about in restaurants and on terrasses that didn’t seem to do be doing a great job of (social) distancing.”
Six months into the pandemic, Couture still has to remind some customers to use the hand sanitizer dispenser when they enter the store. “It should be automatic by this point,” she said.
Some customers still stand too close to others when waiting in line, she added.
Couture has maintained a small bubble throughout the pandemic because she lives with her 87-year-old father.
She doesn’t have anyone over for dinner and only allows two clients in the store at a time. With winter around the corner, she wonders whether customers will wait outside on frigid days.
Jane Critchlow said people should think twice about hosting or attending large, indoor gatherings.
“The worst-case scenario is that we return to what is was like in March and April or worse than that,” said Critchlow, who kept socially distant from her friends while at a dog park in N.D.G.
Critchlow won’t be having family or friends over for Thanksgiving. She’s thinking about buying an outdoor patio heater to maximize the amount of time she can spend outdoors this fall.
Critchlow called on the Quebec government and public health officials to get their messages straight on recommendations on avoiding large gatherings.
“People are sceptical because there has been a lot of backtracking on what’s recommended and it changes so often. The danger of that is that people start to take things less seriously,” she said.
Jon Druker said avoiding family get-togethers will be difficult as the weather gets colder.
“Looking forward, it’s going to be tough. People will want to be indoors because it will be colder and that sense of isolation for people is going to be greater,” he said in an N.D.G. park.
His 15-year-old daughter Noa, a Grade 10 student at Villa Maria High School, said students her age “aren’t the best at following certain measures.”
“Our class sizes have increased and after school, when the bell rings, the hallways are jam-packed,” she said.
Dubé said Friday that Quebec has no plan to impose a second lockdown, in part because of fears that more people would instead gather in private homes.
But Kaufman warned if people don’t limit their social contacts, more stringent measures could result.
“Further restrictions of bars, restaurants and other businesses are likely if things don’t turn a corner soon, and that will be tough for businesses that have already suffered a lot,” he said.
Kaufman said while cases were concentrated in Montreal during the first wave in the spring, now they are more evenly spread across the province.
Montreal reported 1,542 new cases in the past week, for a cumulative total of 32,939. Two people died of COVID-19 in Montreal in the past week, and 31 people were hospitalized.
People were being asked to avoid Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital in the east end because of high patient volumes, the local east end health authority said Sunday night.
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