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How a barber's small gesture is making a big local difference during the COVID-19 downturn –



Andy Dinner stares out the window of his barbershop and contemplates what the COVID-19 pandemic has done to the neighbourhood he loves.

“I have seen some businesses close here, and it’s tragic. It’s absolutely tragic,” Dinner said.

Dinner, 33, is as local as a person can be. He lives six blocks from his barbershop and he was born just up the street.

Forget Paris and London — to Dinner, the strip of stores along Lakeshore Boulevard in Toronto is the most beautiful place in the world.

“I have been fortunate to do a little bit of travelling overseas, but I don’t want to live anywhere else,” Dinner said. “This neighbourhood means literally everything to me.”

During the summer, as the pandemic raged across the globe, Dinner took a chance — a big chance. Even though businesses were going bankrupt and shutting down because of the economic turmoil, he opened one.

“I knew this specific spot was vacant for about two years before I contacted the landlord and was able to negotiate some cheaper rent,” Dinner said.

Dinner started a promotion in his Toronto neighbourhood to try to help local businesses. If you bring him a receipt that proves you shopped locally, he’ll give you $5 off your haircut. (Nick Purdon/CBC)

At that time in July, when Dinner first took over the lease, barbershops in the city of Toronto were still closed because of the pandemic.

Dinner says it cost him $22,000 and took 45 days of renovations to get the shop up and running.

“Me and my dad became best friends making this shop, and that’s one of the most beautiful things that ever happened in my life,” Dinner said.

  • Watch the feature about Andy Dinner’s buy-local initiative Sunday Nov. 1 on The National at 9 p.m. ET on CBC News Network and 10 p.m. local time on your CBC television station. You can also catch The National online on CBC Gem.

“Every single day I have people walking by and coming into the shop and saying thank you for putting something beautiful here. Thank you for putting something beautiful in our neighbourhood. And that brings a tear to my eye,” he said.

“This is what I wanted to do. I have wanted to have a store on this street forever.”

‘Staying local will save us’

A new study by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business shows that half of small businesses in Canada are losing money during the second wave of COVID-19.

In places like Toronto and Peel Region, both areas under stricter provincial restrictions, that number is as high as 70 per cent. Restaurants and bars have been hit particularly hard.

Barbershop owner Andy Dinner describes how the pandemic has affected the businesses in his Toronto neighbourhood. 1:08

Dinner says he’s seen the devastation first hand. After work one day recently he was in his favourite neighbourhood bar when he witnessed the staff being told the place had to close because of restrictions related to COVID-19.

“I saw their posture, their body language, their demeanour. It was sad,” Dinner said.

“I said to myself, ‘I gotta do something about this.’ That’s when I came up with the idea. If you go to a local business, local restaurant, local bar, bring the receipt to my barbershop and I’ll give you five bucks off a haircut.”

Dinner announced his promotion on Instagram — and the idea took off.

“The number of bar owners and restaurant owners reaching out to me and expressing their gratitude has been really emotional, it’s been really overwhelming for me,” Dinner said.

Dinner talks with local restaurant owner Mike Yaworski outside his Double D pizza place. ‘My concern right now is making a living for my family … if this continues, I will probably have to close the restaurant,’ Yaworski said. (Nick Purdon/CBC)

At lunchtime he takes a walk up the street, his barber towel hanging from his back pocket like a flag. A block away Dinner meets Mike Yaworski outside his restaurant — Double D’s, specializing in Chicago-style deep dish pizza.

Yaworski greets Dinner with a pretend bow. “I mean, it’s cliche to say ‘support local,’ but you really are local, you are like the king of Lakeshore.”

Yaworski said COVID-19 has almost destroyed his business.

“My concern right now is making a living for my family,” he said. “I am married, I have a seven-year-old, and I have to pay the bills. And if this continues, I will probably have to close the restaurant.”

He says all the businesses in the neighbourhood are aware of Dinner’s idea and they love it.

“If you can drive a little bit of traffic here, and in return my customers can save $5 getting a haircut and drive traffic that way, oh man, it really helps.”

Mike Yaworski describes how Andy Dinner’s initiative to promote shopping at local businesses in the Toronto neighbourhood has helped keep his restaurant open during the pandemic. 1:06

Yaworski explains that it’s not just about the money, and tears fill his eyes.

“Sometimes I sit and I don’t get many orders, and it’s like maybe I got to call it quits. It’s kind of tough, man. It’s kind of tough. So he gives you hope, makes you wanna come to work, because sometimes you feel alone and nobody is caring. I can’t believe I am tearing up, but that’s the type of guy he is.”

Starved for good news

Dinner finishes trimming Dave Vanderstoep’s hair, checks the young man’s receipt, and gives him his discount.

Vanderstoep, 26, is a local tattoo artist.

“I think it [Dinner’s promotion] kind of reminds people that it’s not just individual shops here, it’s a neighbourhood,” he said.

As Andy Dinner cuts a customer’s hair at his Toronto barbershop, they discuss the shop’s efforts to help support other local businesses during the pandemic’s economic slowdown. 0:54

Dinner sweeps up and gets ready to shut the shop for the day.

He says he now understands why his small idea has had such a big impact in his neighbourhood.

“People need good news. The world is so starved right now for positivity, everything is so dark right now. We are going to get through this and we’re gonna come out stronger by little things like this. By doing our best.”

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9 new cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia, 1 at Bedford school –



Nova Scotia reported nine new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, including one case at a Bedford school for children in pre-primary to Grade 4. 

The student from Bedford South School is self-isolating, the Health Department said in a news release. Everyone in a class that a confirmed case attended will be tested and is required to self-isolate for 14 days. 

The school was closed Friday for cleaning and contact tracing, and is expected to remain closed until at least Dec. 2.

All cases identified Friday are in the Central Zone. There are now 119 active cases of COVID-19 in the province.

One of the new cases announced Friday is a student at Bedford South School. (Patrick Callaghan/CBC)

Nova Scotia labs completed 3,109 Nova Scotia tests on Thursday.

Rapid-testing pop-ups

An additional 1,142 tests were completed at the rapid-testing pop-up site Thursday in downtown Halifax, finding four positive results. Those people were told to self-isolate and have been referred for a standard test.

The provincial state of emergency has also been renewed. The order will take effect Sunday and extend to noon on Sunday, Dec. 13, unless government terminates or extends it.

Another rapid-testing site was held Friday for those without symptoms at the Alderney Gate Public Library in Dartmouth from 1:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

More than 2,700 rapid tests have been completed in the province since the first rapid-testing pop-up site last weekend.

Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Robert Strang, reminded people Friday that rapid testing is an important part of the province’s testing strategy, but it does not replace the need for a standard lab test.

Including standard lab tests and rapid tests, the province has conducted more than 13,000 tests in the last six days.

Premier Stephen McNeil said a vast majority of those tests were young people in the 18-35 age group, the demographic representing the most COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia’s second wave.

“I want you to know how grateful I am,” he said Friday. “By showing up and stepping up, you’re protecting everyone around you and your community and that’s the best example of leadership. I want to sincerely thank you.”

1,058 ongoing investigations

When a person tests positive in the lab, Public Health employees investigate each close contact of that confirmed COVID case. There are 1,058 ongoing investigations in the province.

A week ago, that number was 276.

Strang said each positive case has an average of seven close contacts, but many cases have had considerably more than that.

Because of the work involved to complete contact tracing, it takes time for close contacts of positive cases to be contacted by Public Health.

A Nova Scotia health worker prepares to administer a nasal swab at a rapid-testing site in Halifax on Tuesday. Another testing site will be set up in Dartmouth on Friday. (Robert Short/CBC)

“I ask for people’s support and patience during this. Public Health will get to you,” Strang said. “While you’re waiting, if you believe you’re a close contact, just stay isolated at home. We need your help on this.”

Strang said he’s “relieved” to see relatively low case numbers in the last few days, but expects to continue to see high numbers of new daily cases in the next week to 10 days.

“We’re just Day 2 into implementing our tight restrictions in the Halifax area. We’re by no means out of the woods yet,” he said.

There have been no positive COVID-19 cases linked to a recent party in downtown Halifax with close to 60 people in attendance, Strang said, but cases are coming from people socializing in groups.

Even when people follow the rules, the COVID-19 virus can be easily spread through social activities because many people are not symptomatic or have mild symptoms.

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Earlier this week, the Department of Health and Wellness asked anyone who was at a bar or restaurant in the Halifax area past 10 p.m. to arrange for testing. Strang said nearly 8,000 people have come forward for a test since then.

In the event a test is necessary, a person can fill out the self-assessment tool on the province’s website.

Staff or patrons of bars or restaurants who were there after 10 p.m. do not need to self-isolate while awaiting a test.

But if a person was at one of the more than 100 recent exposure sites on any of the listed dates and times, they need to self-isolate while awaiting a test. On Friday night, the Nova Scotia Health Authority issued eight new notices for the Halifax area.

Essential travel only

Although the province has not changed its self-isolation rules for travellers from other Atlantic provinces, Nova Scotians are still being urged to only travel for essential purposes, including accessing health care and attending work or school.

“I’m sorry to say, shopping is not an essential purpose,” McNeil said.

Strang added to buy local, and buy online, if shopping needs to be done to help contain the second wave of COVID, which began Oct. 1.

“Wave 2 is clearly here in Halifax, and we’re trying to keep it in Halifax,” he said.

Truro police said in a Facebook post Friday they’ve received numerous calls from the public asking police to take action against people they believe travelled from the Halifax area to their community in Colchester County.

“While we appreciate concerns about the spread of COVID-19, this travel restriction isn’t in Public Health orders and cannot be directly enforced by police,” the post said.

Researchers in Wolfville, meanwhile, have detected the virus that causes COVID-19 in the town’s wastewater. Strang said it could be a signal the virus has entered that community although the research is experimental and the results may not be definitive.

Strang said the province is going to increase capacity at the primary assessment centre in Wolfville and is planning to have pop-up rapid-testing sites in place in that community early next week.

Rapid testing in long-term care

As of Friday, ongoing voluntary testing is being introduced in long-term care homes. Volunteers, designated caregivers, and employees who provide direct care to residents will be tested every two weeks.

The testing will start at three locations: Northwood, Ocean View, and St. Vincent’s. It will expand to six more facilities over the next two weeks.

Northwood is one of three long-term care facilities that currently has rapid testing in place for volunteers, staff, and designated caregivers. (Robert Short/CBC)

“This is part of our effort to monitor, reduce, and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities. None of us need a reminder of how important that is,” Strang said.

With the federal government saying Canadians could start getting vaccinated in early 2021, Strang said it’s important to remember none of the vaccines is licensed by Health Canada yet and there is no certainty on the availability or the amount of doses.

“I need to be clear, we are expecting very small amounts to begin with … We’ll have to tightly control the supply and [have] very strict prioritization of who that vaccine needs to go to,” he said.

New restrictions for restaurants, gyms

On Thursday, new restrictions came into effect in most of the Halifax area and parts of Hants County.

Restaurants are closed for in-person dining for two weeks, but can do takeout and delivery. Gyms, libraries, museums and casinos are also closed.

A list of what’s open and closed in Halifax can be found here.

COVID cases in the Atlantic provinces

New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island have all brought back mandatory 14-day self-isolation for travellers. As of Thursday evening, Nova Scotia is still not requiring anyone travelling from the Atlantic provinces to quarantine.

The latest numbers from the Atlantic provinces are:


Anyone with one of the following symptoms should visit the COVID-19 self-assessment website or call 811:

  • Fever.
  • Cough or worsening of a previous cough.

Anyone with two or more of the following symptoms is also asked to visit the website or call 811:

  • Sore throat.
  • Headache.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Runny nose.

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Manitoba health officials to update on COVID-19 cases – CTV News Winnipeg



A deadly trend of COVID-19 continued in Manitoba on Friday, as health officials announced a near record-breaking number of deaths.

On Friday, Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer announced 14 more people have died of COVID-19. This is among Manitoba’s highest number of COVID-19 deaths in a single day.

“We continue to announce these deaths every day, we continue to announce higher numbers than what we can sustain,” Roussin said, adding in total, 280 people have died due to COVID-19 in Manitoba.

Along with these deaths, the province reported 344 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in Manitoba since March to 15,632. These cases push the five-day test positivity rate in the province to 14.5 per cent.

The majority of the cases announced were in the Winnipeg region, which had 178 cases, and a test positivity rate of 14.2 per cent.

The other cases announced on Friday include:

  • 15 cases in the Interlake-Eastern health region;
  • 73 cases in the Northern health region;
  • 13 cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region; and
  • 65 cases in the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region.


The province reported 310 more people have been listed as recovered, which brings the total number of recoveries to 6,487. Hospitalizations jumped by 15 on Friday, with a total of 322 people in hospital.

Lanette Siragusa, the chief nursing officer for Shared Health, said as of midnight, the province’s intensive care units were operating at 152 per cent of its normal pre-COVID capacity. She said 46 people out of the 110 patients in ICU have COVID-19.

To free up inpatient beds, as well as redeploy staff to help with the surge of COVID-19 patients, the province has postponed 1,136 surgeries in the past month, Siragusa said.

While daily case numbers are no longer dramatically climbing, Roussin said they are staying at a level the province cannot maintain much longer.


“The message has been clear and it’s been unwavering – it’s to stay home,” Roussin, asking Manitobans to stay home as much as possible this weekend.

He said there should not be any gatherings this weekend – including faith-based gatherings.

READ MORE: Defiance of church near Steinbach, Man., coming at a cost to neighbouring church

“The weekend is coming up, and so there is always those urges to get together with others, or to run non-essential errands,” Roussin said. “My ask to you is to stay home – stay home this weekend. Connect with people virtually, only out for essential reasons, don’t leave the province to go shopping, don’t do any non-essential activities.”

The deaths reported on Friday include:

  • A man in his 50s and a man in his 70s from the Winnipeg health region;
  • A man in his 50s and a man in his 70s from the Interlake-Eastern health region;
  • A man in his 70s from the Southern Health region;
  • Two women in their 80s, and a woman in her 100s from Winnipeg, whose deaths are linked to the outbreak at the Saul and Claribel Simkin Centre;
  • Two men in their 90s from Winnipeg, whose deaths are linked to the outbreak at Golden Links Lodge;
  • A woman in her 90s from the Prairie Mountain Health region, whose death is linked to the outbreak at Fairview Home;
  • A man in his 90s from the Southern Health region, whose death is linked to the outbreak at the Rest Haven Nursing Home;
  • A woman in her 70s from Winnipeg whose death is linked to the outbreak at Parkview Place; and
  • A man in his 90s from Winnipeg whose death is linked to the outbreak at the St. Norbert Personal Care Home.

This is a developing story. More to come.

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COVID-19 Officers Out In Full Force On Black Friday –



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  1. COVID-19 Officers Out In Full Force On Black Friday
  2. Manitoba offers temporary $5/hour pay bump to staff helping vulnerable people
  3. Holiday air travel: the stats and the advice against it  Global News
  4. Coronavirus outbreaks reported at Winnipeg hospital wards  CTV News Winnipeg
  5. Winnipeg big-box store among latest fined under health orders  CTV News Winnipeg
  6. View Full coverage on Google News

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