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Half of Canada’s independent restaurants could close without help, industry group warns – Global News



As many as half of Canada’s independent restaurants could permanently shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to an industry group.

Restaurants Canada — which is seeking government assistance for struggling eateries — says it recently conducted a survey that sheds light on the peril the industry is facing.

800,000 restaurant jobs lost in Canada in March amid COVID-19: survey

If improvements aren’t seen in the next three months, one out of every two restaurants that responded to the survey said they expect to go under, and “most” businesses with multiple locations say they will have to close one restaurant at least.

Re-opening restaurants: balancing public safety with profitability

Re-opening restaurants: balancing public safety with profitability

“Over the last month, we’ve heard just so many stories from these small, independent restaurateurs that literally, on a daily basis, are struggling with making that decision of whether or not to permanently close,”  Mark von Schellwitz, Restaurants Canada’s VP for the western region, told the John Oakley Show on Global News Radio.

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Seventy-five per cent of restaurants that responded to the survey are “very or extremely concerned” about debt levels.

The group is welcoming plans for commercial rent relief, a federal measure that is being worked out in consultation with the provinces, though the details have yet to be unveiled.

Coronavirus: Trudeau promises rent relief for small and medium-sized businesses

Restaurants Canada is calling for a moratorium on restaurant evictions and lockouts. They also say rent-assistance levels should be tied to percentages of decreased revenue, and that such supports need to be sustained as the economy recovers.

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“What we’re hearing is … we recognize and we certainly appreciate all of the deferrals and loans that are being offered to us in the short term, but in the long term this is just going to contribute to more permanent closures as this insurmountable debt continues to mount,” von Schellwitz said.

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Coronavirus: Montreal restaurants struggling to survive

Coronavirus: Montreal restaurants struggling to survive

Many restaurants across Canada have shut down completely during the pandemic, while others are operating on a delivery and takeout basis but not making comparable revenues.

Restaurants Canada said 800,000 people have already lost their jobs, and restaurant sales for the second quarter of 2020 are poised to decline by $20 billion.

Listen: Saskatchewan reopening economy

The federal government has already announced an emergency wage subsidy of up to 75 per cent for employers. It’s also backing interest-free bank loans of up to $40,000 to help businesses ride out the pandemic.

Restaurants Canada said its survey was conducted between April 15 and 21. The results are based on 914 completed surveys, which the organization said represents a total of 11,856 restaurants across Canada, as many of the respondents have multiple locations.

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

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Anticipating COVID-19 vaccine, Canada to begin procuring syringes: PM – CTV News



The federal government has begun procuring the supplies that will be essential for “mass vaccinations” in the event that a vaccine is found for COVID-19, starting with signing a contract for 37 million syringes.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau first announced that the government was adding syringes on to the list of essential COVID-19 supplies that are being procured, and later Procurement Minister Anita Anand said that the contract has been signed with Canadian company Becton Dickinson Canada to supply the essential tool in delivering vaccines.  

“We are also continuing to work to procure the other supplies needed for eventual mass vaccinations on a systemic level. We are making sure that when a viable vaccine is discovered, Canada will be ready for its administration,” Anand said.

Anand didn’t offer a timeline on when the syringes will be delivered, noting that the need at the moment is not as pressing.

“We need to plan ahead for that eventuality,” said Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam, adding that work is also underway around how administering an eventual vaccine would be prioritized to certain segments of the population.

“We do account for the maximum number of Canadians who may wish to be vaccinated,” Tam said.  

In mid-May, Health Canada announced that it had given the green light to a clinical trial for a potential COVID-19 vaccine in this country, and Canada is also involved in trials ongoing around the world, too. 

It could still be some time before any possible treatment is deemed safe and stable enough for mass-vaccination, though the federal government is funding research and development for various options. This is being done in an effort to offset what Trudeau has flagged as an area where there will likely also be a supply and demand struggle. 

Infectious disease expert Dr. Abdu Sharkawy told CTV News Channel that, while not as nearly pressing a need, “if COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that preparedness is much better than reactionary responses to a given situation.”

“But if we want to get on top of that there’s certainly no harm,” he said.


During his Rideau Cottage address on federal COVID-19 response efforts, Trudeau provided an update on the ongoing efforts to procure personal protective equipment.

Throughout the pandemic Canada’s attempts to procure essential supplies has been a struggle, with the national tracker from Public Services and Procurement Canada continuing to show that just a fraction of what has been ordered has actually arrived.  

Trudeau noted that Canada has received more than 100 million surgical masks, though that is just a third of what the government has ordered. He also noted that nearly 40 million gloves have been procured, yet the government has ordered more than one billion.

Over the last two months the federal government has been providing incremental updates on the stocking-up underway and contract-signing with Canadian manufacturers that have retooled to mass produce life-saving medical supplies.

The prime minister said on Tuesday that the federal government is also funding a handful of Canadian companies that are currently working on potential “breakthrough solutions” for rapid COVID-19 testing.

 “Working with suppliers from around the world is key to keeping Canadians safe, but at the end of the day, one of the best ways to ensure we have what we need, well, it’s to make it right here at home,” Trudeau said, noting that demand is only going to increase for protective gear as more businesses and sectors reopen. 

As of Tuesday afternoon there are more than 92,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases Canada-wide, though just over a third of those are active cases. More than 7,300 people in Canada have died as a result of contracting the virus.

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Ontario to extend state of emergency; health officials remind of COVID-19 risk while protesting – Toronto Star



The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Tuesday (this file will be updated throughout the day). Web links to longer stories if available.

11 a.m.: A livestream of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s daily news conference is available at

10:48 a.m.: Ontario is reporting that there were 15,244 tests completed in the previous day, the second day in a row the province did not meet its goal of 16,000 a day amid a push to increase testing levels.

10:18 a.m.: Ontario’s patient ombudsman is launching a systemic investigation into the resident and caregiver experience at Ontario’s long-term-care homes homes after receiving 150 complaints. The investigation will focus on staffing levels, visitor restrictions, infection prevention and control procedures and communication of information. About 1,700 nursing home residents have died and more than 5,000 are infected.

Read the full story from Rob Ferguson.

9:55 a.m.: Tokyo issued an alert to residents for the first time urging additional caution against the coronavirus pandemic, after a spike in new cases.

The Japanese capital saw 34 new infections on Tuesday, the most in a single day in more than three weeks. Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike triggered what she has dubbed a “Tokyo Alert,” aiming to heighten Tokyo residents’ awareness of the state of the pandemic, and which could lead to businesses in the capital again being asked to close their doors should a surge continue.

While the alert itself won’t immediately lead to new restrictions, if cases continue to climb in the city the government has said it could reinstate its call for companies to shut and residents to stay at home.

Of the 34 cases Tuesday, 13 came from a cluster at a hospital in Koganei in the west of the city, where more than 30 infections have been reported to date. Koike also said that many of the cases over the past week came from Tokyo’s nightlife districts, with dozens of the infections linked to areas populated by hostess clubs and other such entertainment venues.

9:40 a.m.: The college football season opener between Notre Dame and Navy has been moved out of Ireland because of the cornavirus pandemic.

The Irish and Midshipmen were scheduled to meet in Dublin on Aug. 29, but instead will seek to play at the Naval Academy during the Labor Day weekend. The decision to move the venue came after discussions between the Irish government, medical authorities and the leadership teams at Navy and Notre Dame.

“Our priority must be ensuring the health and safety of all involved,” Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk said. “I am expecting that we will still be able to play Notre Dame as our season opener, but there is still much to be determined by health officials and those that govern college football at large.”

Notre Dame and Navy planned to stage the 94th consecutive installment of the longest continuous intersectional rivalry in the United States at Aviva Stadium in Ireland. Instead, the schools will strive to play at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland, on Sept. 5 or 6. This will be the first time the Fighting Irish will play at Navy’s 34,000-seat stadium. The game is usually played at a larger alternative site when the Midshipmen host.

8:49 a.m.: It looks like hockey fans will be able to cheer on their favourite NHL team this summer but Canadians have issued a collective shrug about whether the Stanley Cup is hoisted on their home ice.

Less than one-quarter of those who took part in a recent survey said it was very important that a Canadian city be host to some of the playoffs.

The web survey, conducted by polling firm Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies, found 47 per cent thought it wasn’t important that the puck drop in a Canadian arena.

The NHL plans to resume its 2019-20 season, brought to a halt in March by the COVID-19 pandemic, with games played in two hub cities.

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto are among the 10 possible locations, but Canada’s mandatory 14-day quarantine for people entering the country remains in place and could scuttle the prospect of hockey north of the 49th parallel.

8:38 a.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin has instructed his government to take quick steps to repair economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin reported to Putin on Tuesday that the Cabinet’s plan contains measures designed to stimulate economic growth, raise incomes and reduce unemployment.

A partial economic shutdown that Putin ordered in late March to stem the country’s outbreak badly hurt an economy already battered by a sharp drop in oil prices.

The Russian leader says the nation is now past the peak of contagion, allowing regional officials to gradually ease the restrictions. However, some experts warned that a daily increase of about 9,000 confirmed cases makes a quick lifting of the lockdown dangerous.

On Monday, Putin set July 1 as the date for a nationwide vote on constitutional amendments allowing him to extend his rule until 2036, if he chooses.

8 a.m. The two main Russian Orthodox cathedrals in Moscow have reopened their doors as officials take more steps to ease the country’s coronavirus lockdown.

The Christ the Savior Cathedral and the Epiphany Cathedral at Yelokhovo welcomed parishioners again on Tuesday.

The move was co-ordinated with federal and city officials. Church-goers are supposed to wear medical masks and maintain a proper distance from others during services.

Other churches in the Russian capital are scheduled to reopen on Saturday. Moscow churches have been closed to parishioners since April 13.

Orthodox churches in many other regions across the vast country already have reopened as provincial authorities started lifting restrictions intended to stem the outbreak.

Russian officials say that the nation is now past the peak of contagion, making it safe to gradually ease lockdown measures. Some experts warn that with new confirmed cases increasing by about 9,000 daily, lifting restrictions quickly is dangerous.

8 a.m.: South Africa’s total confirmed coronavirus cases have jumped to more than 35,000 while the province anchored by Cape Town remains a worrying hot spot with more than 23,000.

South Africa has the most confirmed virus cases of any nation in Africa. The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the total number across the continent is now above 152,000.

South Africa took another step in easing lockdown restrictions on Monday with alcohol sales allowed again. Authorities have warned that the rate of new cases is expected to quicken.

South Africa has seen cases double roughly every 12 days while cases in the Western Cape have been doubling every nine days.

A major test lies ahead this weekend as places of worship are allowed to operate with a limit of 50 people, despite warnings from some religious leaders about the risk of spreading the virus.

7:47 a.m.: Global stock markets rose Tuesday as more economies reopened for business after long and painful shutdowns to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

While the social unrest in the U.S. continued to provide a gloomy backdrop, international investors remained focus on the prospects for global economic growth. More countries and sectors are reopening, though activity is expected to remain subdued as social distancing rules complicate plans to get back to business.

Futures for the Dow and the S&P 500 indexes on Wall Street were up 0.6 per cent and 0.5 per cent, respectively.

In Europe, France’s CAC 40 jumped 2.1 per cent to 4,863 as the country opened restaurants, cafes, parks and beaches and launched a contract tracing app to help keep tabs on new contagions. Germany’s DAX, which had been closed Monday, caught up with previous global markets’ gains and surged 3.9 per cent to 12,033. Britain’s FTSE 100 added 1 per cent to 6,2130.

In Southeast Asia, where shutdowns are beginning to ease, Indonesia’s benchmark jumped nearly 2.0 per cent and Singapore’s surged 2.3 per cent.

Despite the bright mood across, fears persist about a possible resurgence in coronavirus outbreaks in some countries.

There were 34 new confirmed cases in Tokyo on Tuesday, seeming to reaffirm growing risks as people begin to mingle more in crowded commuter trains with the reopenings of more offices, schools, restaurants and stores. The daily numbers had dropped below 20 recently.

7:21 a.m.: Formula One will finally get underway with back-to-back races at the Austrian Grand Prix in July as part of an eight-race European swing.

The Red Bull Ring in Spielberg will host races on July 5 and 12, governing body FIA said in a statement on Tuesday.

The next race will be in Hungary on July 19 followed by consecutive races at the British GP at Silverstone on Aug. 2 and 9 after the British government exempted elite sports from an upcoming quarantine on foreign visitors.

Further races are scheduled for Spain on Aug. 16 and Belgium on Aug. 30, with Italy completing the European swing on Sept. 6.

“Over the past two months Formula One has been working closely with all partners, authorities, the FIA and the 10 teams to create a revised calendar that will allow a return to racing in a way that is safe,” the FIA said. “Due to the ongoing fluidity of the COVID-19 situation internationally, the details of the wider calendar will be finalized in the coming weeks.”

There will be no spectators allowed to attend, although there may be later in the year if health conditions allow it.

7:13 a.m.: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte marked Italy’s national day with an appeal to citizens to work together to revive the country, as his government prepares to lift restrictions on domestic travel from Wednesday.

With the number of new coronavirus cases continuing to decline, Italians will be allowed to travel freely around the country again, ending almost three months of confinement to their home region to limit transmission of the disease.

Conte is sticking with the plan announced last month despite threats from officials in the south to turn away citizens from Lombardy. Italy’s richest and most populous region around Milan was the epicenter of one of Europe’s most-extensive outbreaks.

“Let’s combine and concentrate all our energy in the shared effort to pick ourselves up and begin again with maximum determination,” Conte said in a message posted Tuesday on Facebook, evoking efforts to rebuild the nation after World War II.

“Everyone must do their part, as it has always been in the most difficult moments in our history,” he added. “Italy, our community, is our strength.”

6:30 a.m.: The City of Toronto urged the province Monday to immediately begin collecting race-based and occupational data on COVID-19 cases, calling preliminary information showing the pandemic’s disproportionate impacts “disturbing.”

In a letter addressed to top provincial health officials, Toronto Board of Health chair councillor Joe Cressy (Spadina-Fort York) highlighted data collected by Toronto Public Health which shows that areas of the city with the highest percentages of people who are low-income, racialized, and recent immigrants have the highest case rates of COVID-19.

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“It is clear that this is a virus that preys on poverty and existing health inequities. In order to tackle COVID-19, we must fully understand the virus, and who is most at risk,” Cressy writes, noting that city council voted last week to send the request.

“We need to have access to this data on a province-wide scale,” the letter adds.

Read more of the Star’s Kate Allen’s reporting.

5:30 a.m.: Ontario is expected today to extend its state of emergency until June 30.

The measure bans gatherings larger than five people.

It also orders the closure of some businesses such as restaurants and bars, except if they offer takeout or delivery.

If the vote passes, the measure — which had been set to expire today — will be extended for another 28 days.

Independent legislator Randy Hillier has said he will vote against the measure, saying it gives the government too much authority.

Ontario declared a state of emergency on March 17 as COVID-19 cases began to climb in the province.

5:15 a.m.: As protesters keep up their anti-racism rallies on both sides of the border, top health officials are hoping they don’t forget about the risk of COVID-19.

Canadian health officials are not suggesting people avoid protests, but they are stressing the importance of hand sanitizer and masks.

With physical distance being nearly impossible in some of these settings, rally-goers may have to find other ways to try to keep themselves safe.

Protests have taken place in several Canadian cities in the aftermath of a black man dying last week in Minneapolis after a white police officer pressed a knee into his neck.

George Floyd’s death has sent throngs into the streets in several U.S. and Canadian cities to decry systemic racism and police brutality.

Meanwhile, House of Commons Speaker Anthony Rota is scheduled today to appear at a committee on procedure and House affairs.

He is expected to discuss the hybrid Parliament and how it is functioning during the pandemic.

The Senate Finance Committee also meets today with many major industry leaders set to appear.

3 a.m.: South American countries at the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic are choosing to reopen even as case numbers rise, ignoring the example set by Europe in which nations waited for the worst to pass.

Meanwhile in the U.S., there are concerns that widespread protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man pinned at the neck by a white police officer, could cause new outbreaks in a nation where the virus has disproportionately affected racial minorities.

And a new estimate by the Congressional Budget Office cautioned the damage to the world’s largest economy could amount to nearly $16 trillion over the next decade if Congress doesn’t work to mitigate the fallout.

Experts are concerned about what’s happening in South America.

“Clearly the situation in many South American countries is far from stable. There is a rapid increase in cases, and those systems are coming under increasing pressure,” said Mike Ryan, the executive director of the World Health Organization’s emergencies program.

His warning came as some of Brazil’s hardest-hit cities, including the jungle metropolis Manaus and coastal Rio de Janeiro, were starting to allow more activity. Brazil has reported more than 526,000 cases of the virus, second only to the 1.8 million reported by the U.S.

Elsewhere in the region, Bolivia’s government has authorized reopening most of the country, while Venezuela has unwound restrictions. Ecuador’s airports are resuming flights and shoppers are returning to some of Colombia’s malls.

Further north in Mexico, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador kicked off the nation’s return to a “new normal” Monday with his first road trip in two months as the nation began to gradually ease some of its virus restrictions.

Monday 10 p.m. Large public gatherings, including anti-racism protests, pose health risks during a pandemic, British Columbia’s top health officials said Monday.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said people in B.C. have the right to protest and express their feelings, but warned there could be COVID-19 health consequences associated with a weekend protest in downtown Vancouver.

“Peaceful demonstration is our right, one that is important to all of us, but we cannot forget we are still in the middle of a pandemic,” she said at a news conference in Victoria.

Henry said she saw many people wearing masks and practising safe distancing but she urged those who attended to monitor their health over the coming days.

“We also know right now large gatherings remain very high risk, even outdoors,” she said. “Those who were there (Sunday), you may have put yourself at risk.”

An estimated 3,500 people gathered in Vancouver following protests across the United States over the death of George Floyd, an African-American man who died in Minneapolis after a white police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes.

B.C. has a public health order limiting the size of gatherings to 50 people.

“Weigh your options, think about the impacts, particularly if you are a health-care worker or have vulnerable people in your circle, in your household, in your family,” Henry said.

The province reported 24 new COVID-19 cases since Saturday and one death of an elderly resident at a Metro Vancouver long-term-care home.

B.C. now has 2,597 cases of COVID-19 and there have been 165 deaths. The province says 2,207 people have recovered from the illness.

Monday 6:50 p.m. Ontario’s regional health units are reporting a spike in new COVID-19 infections on a day that saw the fewest reported deaths in nearly two months, according to the Star’s latest count.

As of 5 p.m. Monday, the health units have reported a total of 30,044 confirmed and probable cases, including 2,336 deaths.

The eight new deaths reported since Sunday evening marked the first day with fewer than 10 new fatal cases since April 5, back when both cases and deaths were still growing rapidly in Ontario. That day also saw eight deaths reported in the province.

The rate of deaths is down considerably since peaking at more than 90 in a day in early May, about two weeks after the daily case totals hit a first peak in mid-April.

Meanwhile, the 458 new cases since the same time Sunday ended a string of six consecutive days with fewer than 400 cases. Unlike in recent days that have been dominated by case growth in Toronto and Peel Region, Monday’s case spike included a very large increase outside of the GTA, including more than 100 confirmed infections in Haldimand-Norfolk, which has seen dozens of cases in an outbreak among migrant farm workers.

Earlier Monday, the province reported 781 patients are now hospitalized with COVID-19, including 125 in intensive care, of whom 89 are on a ventilator — numbers that have fallen sharply this month. The province also says more than 22,000 patients who have tested positive for the coronavirus have now recovered from the disease — about three-quarters of the total infected.

The province says its data is accurate to 4 p.m. the previous day. The province also cautions its latest count of total deaths — 2,276 — may be incomplete or out of date due to delays in the reporting system, saying that in the event of a discrepancy, “data reported by (the health units) should be considered the most up to date.”

The Star’s count includes some patients reported as “probable” COVID-19 cases, meaning they have symptoms and contacts or travel history that indicate they very likely have the disease, but have not yet received a positive lab test.

Read more of Monday’s coverage.

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We need to get all Canadian students online quickly in the face of pandemic uncertainty –



This column is an opinion by David Fowler, vice-president of marketing and communications at the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) in Ottawa. He currently serves on the board of directors for Media Smarts and CENTR. For more information about CBC’s Opinion section, please see the FAQ.

What would you do if your internet connection suddenly stopped working? What if you couldn’t get back online for months? With millions of students across Canada forced to do their schooling from home due to COVID-19, internet access has never been more important.

Unfortunately, high-quality internet connections remain too expensive for some Canadians or are simply unavailable where they live. Meanwhile, students who need the internet more than ever have lost their sources of reliable connection through schools or public libraries.

In 2016, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) declared broadband internet a basic service and set ambitious speed targets that internet service providers (ISPs) have to make available to all Canadians.

Four years later, CRTC data shows that 11 per cent of Canadian households still do not have internet access at home. For those who that do have connections, there are massive disparities between the speeds that rural and urban households receive.

As we work from home to limit the spread of COVID-19, it is easy to forget that hundreds of thousands of people in the country lack basic, high-speed access. Some families and communities have had to go to extraordinary lengths to make sure their kids can continue their education. (John Robertson/CBC)

Imagine how difficult online learning, applying for college, or staying in touch with friends and family would be without a high-quality internet connection in your house. Some families and communities have had to go to extraordinary lengths to make sure their kids don’t fall behind.

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, for example, has told students to hunker down in school parking lots to access free Wi-Fi if they don’t have the internet at home.

In Alberta, rural schools have set up outdoor bins for students who have no internet access to pick up and drop off hard copy assignments.

In Manitoba, the northern Garden Hill First Nation was forced to cancel the remainder of its school year, citing poor internet connectivity and lack of household computer adoption as contributing factors.

Not only are kids without reliable internet access at risk of falling behind in their education, they are putting themselves and their families’ health at risk by venturing out into the world to find an open wi-fi hotspot or pick up school work.

As more provinces move to online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic parents are expressing concerns about accessing the programs and what the expectations are. 2:03

Obviously, education during COVID-19 would be much easier if every child had access to a high-quality internet connection. Unfortunately, connectivity isn’t the only challenge families are facing.

When it comes to bridging the digital divide, getting one internet-connected device per household is tough for many families. Getting one device per child comes at significant financial cost that is often out of reach.

Educators in rural Alberta, for example, report that access to internet-connected devices like laptops, desktop computers and phones is far from universal.

Thankfully schools, school districts, charitable organizations, and various levels of government are stepping up to deliver laptops, tablets, and other devices to students in need.

The Winnipeg School Division estimates that 40 per cent of its students don’t have access to an internet-enabled device at home, and it is looking at lending devices to students until the social distancing restrictions are relaxed.

The city of London, Ont., has distributed more than 10,000 iPads and Chromebooks to students since the pandemic began.

Schools, charitable organizations, and various levels of government have been delivering laptops, tablets, and other devices to students who need them to get online and continue their studies remotely during the pandemic. (Juliya Shangarey/Shutterstock)

Before the CRTC’s landmark decision in 2016, a lot of public discussion centred on whether the internet was truly a basic service like water or electricity. At the time, skeptics said that videoconferencing and food delivery apps amounted to little more than luxuries.

Flash forward to 2020, and it’s clear that the internet is the key infrastructure holding our education system, economy, and social lives together. From this vantage point, it’s safe to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has settled the “is the internet a basic service?” debate once and for all.

With concerns that widespread social distancing could continue for up to a year and that future waves of the disease could force more school closures down the road, it is essential that we do everything in our power to get all our kids online before a generation is set back.

Closing the digital divide during COVID-19 is a litmus test for internet service providers, educational institutions, and all levels of government across this country. Our children have never needed the internet more to succeed.

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