Concerns about catching COVID-19 didn’t seem to dissuade shoppers from trying to score Boxing Day deals.
CrossIron Mills, located north of Calgary, saw lineups around the building on Saturday, after the mall was forced to move customers outdoors in order to comply with public health restrictions limiting retail to 15 per cent capacity.
“Please note that we are currently experiencing high volumes of customer traffic today. As a result, and keeping with our COVID-19 safety measures please be aware that exterior line-ups will be implemented at centre,” a post on the mall’s social media read at 12:30 p.m.
One shopper, Dana Havens, said she had no concerns about the risks of joining other shoppers indoors.
“My 11-year-old daughter … needs to spend her Christmas money on Boxing Day,” she said.
“I think everyone’s aware and social distance and stuff, so I don’t think it’s too much of a problem,” Simon King, another shopper in the line, said.
Other malls, like Market Mall and Chinook Centre, had announcements over the loudspeakers cautioning shoppers when the malls were nearing capacity.
It was a similar situation in Edmonton. Vehicle traffic in the area of South Edmonton Common was heavy and some stores had line-ups early in the morning. Best Buy manager Keith Knorr said not everyone changed their habits.
“We had people here for 5 a.m.,” he said.
“I think they were expecting the 6 a.m. like we normally have. But just to shorten our hours that we’re open, we opened at 8 am. We had people lined up [around the building] by 7 a.m. for sure.”
Only 95 customers were allowed in the store at one time — that number would have been closer to 400 in years past.
According to a survey from Chartered Professional Accountants, 58 per cent of Canadians still planned to shop during major sales like Boxing Day this year, close to last year’s number of 63 per cent. However, one-in-three said they planned to do the majority of holiday shopping online.
Alberta Health has encouraged customers to use curbside pickup or delivery where possible.
Two pending COVID vaccines could boost Canada's rollout efforts, but they're not yet approved – National Post
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AstraZeneca did a separate clinical trial last year that other countries have relied on to approve the vaccine. That trial, however, had a dosing error, where some participants were given two full doses while some were given a half dose combined with a full dose.
Overall, the vaccine was shown to be 70 per cent effective at preventing people from developing COVID, but the company started a second trial to gather more data without the error.
Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease physician and member of Ontario’s vaccine task force, said the dosing error is something that needs to be closely scrutinized.
“Health Canada is doing the right thing by clearly taking their time to evaluate the vaccine. They’ve got it right. There should be no external pressure and no political interference,” he said. “That study was actually conducted in a very sloppy manner, and reported in a very sloppy manner.”
If people don’t have trust in the process or trust in the product, they’re not going to take the vaccine
Bogoch said Canadians have to have confidence in the vaccines, because a shot people are reluctant to take doesn’t help the situation.
“These vaccines will only work if people take it and if people don’t have trust in the process or trust in the product, they’re not going to take the vaccine.”
Steven Kerfoot, an associate professor of immunology at Western University, Ont., said the problem with AstraZeneca’s trial is that it wasn’t complete and the regulators need a full picture.
“And so the expectation from Canada’s understanding is that they want to see a complete trial with efficacy and safety data built in.”
Restaurant owners call on Alberta to release COVID-19 transmission data, ease restrictions – CTV Toronto
With personal grooming services now open in Alberta, other industries are pushing the provincial government to reopen next — and they also want the data to back up claims from officials about the source of COVID-19 transmission.
On Monday, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said the province eased restrictions based on data showing which industries would be safest to reopen without increasing the spread of the virus. But that information isn’t being shared publicly — at least not yet.
“What we’ve seen is that the number of cases attributed to those environments — restaurants, fitness being the two you specified — are higher than the activities that we have eased open this week,” Hinshaw said.
On Wednesday she said the province was working to release the data “in the coming weeks.”
That’s not good enough, according to people operate businesses in the hospitality industry. Although bars and restaurants can offer food for take out and delivery, dine-in service is not allowed in Alberta.
“It’s an extremely frustrating situation,” said Jeff Jamieson, who is with the Alberta Hospitality Association (AHA) and owns several Calgary restaurants, including Donna Mac and Proof.
“We’ve been repeatedly asking (the province) for data and fact-based rationale,” he said.
Alberta’s contact tracing system does track COVID-19 transmission, but the information made public is limited. Nearly 43 per cent of current cases have an unknown source. The data is not broken down into detail of where specifically the virus was transmitted.
The AHA has a plan it is submitting to the province it believes would allow restaurants and bars to reopen safely, while maintaining proper COVID-19 safety measures.
Jamieson said the province has promised to provide at least a week’s notice for when restaurants can reopen for dine-in service. So far, that hasn’t happened.
Ottawa to delay second doses of COVID-19 vaccine as supply dwindles – CBC.ca
The City of Ottawa says it has to delay second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for some people who have already received their first shot due to a temporary shortage of vaccines.
Anthony Di Monte, general manager of emergency and protective services, said Wednesday some long-term care home and retirement home staff, residents and essential caregivers will have to wait up to 27 days, or nearly a week longer than the 21-day period that’s recommended.
For others who received their first vaccine, they may have to wait up to 42 days, he said.
The federal government announced on Friday Canada would be getting fewer COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech over the next few weeks because the company has to make changes to a production line in Belgium to grow its manufacturing capacity.
In Ottawa, that means the city will be getting no new Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines next week, said Di Monte. The supply the city does have will be focused on ensuring that those who are due for a booster will get their second shot as soon as possible.
The first dose of vaccines have already been administered to more than 92 per cent of long-term care home residents in Ottawa at all 28 facilities. Residents at one at-risk retirement home and one congregant living setting have also been vaccinated, said Di Monte.
“Our next step is to administer the second dose to those individuals who have already received their first dose of the vaccine. Depending on the vaccine supply we receive from the province, which we know will be minimal in the next few weeks, we will then shift our focus to the high-risk retirement homes,” said Di Monte.
Ottawa has 36 high-risk retirement homes and so far, only the one has received doses of the vaccine.
Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, said delays beyond 21-day gap are permitted under guidelines established by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization.
“The recommendation is of course to follow the dosing schedule as much as we can,” she said. “But in the context of limited supply … jurisdictions can maximize the number of individuals that are getting the benefit from the vaccine by going ahead with the first dose and delaying the second dose.”
While there isn’t data to show what effects waiting up to 42 days may have on the COVID-19 vaccine efficacy, typically delays in booster shots do not affect the durability of vaccines, she said.
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