Public health advice to again stop non-essential travel to and around B.C. is the latest blow to a tourism industry struggling to keep going with domestic business and strict precautions to protect customers and staff from COVID-19.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry renewed that advice this week as B.C. recorded its fourth straight day with more than 600 new cases of coronavirus diagnosed across the province. The latest wave of cases means B.C. residents have to go back to their initial precautions from the early days of the pandemic this spring, Henry says. The Tourism Industry Association of B.C., representing the hardest-hit sector of the economy, was quick to respond.
“While we recognize the province’s request to curtail non-essential travel, we’re concerned that tourism operators will again bear the brunt of the impact,” TIABC board chair Vivek Sharma said in a bulletin to members. “It’s important to note that travel is not the culprit for increasing transmission rates, but rather people’s behaviour. That’s where we need to step up our efforts.”
Henry’s latest restrictions are focused on the sharply increased infection rates in the Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver, with non-essential travel to and from the province’s most densely populated region targeted first. With cases still running at record highs after the first week of restrictions on private gatherings, indoor fitness classes and other activities deemed high risk, Henry called for the effort to be expanded.
“We have asked for only essential travel to be considered to and from the areas where we are seeing most transmission in the communities, but I call upon people across the province,” Henry said in a pandemic briefing from the B.C. legislature Nov. 16. “Now is not the time to travel for recreation or non-essential purposes, whether it’s from the Lower Mainland to the Island, whether it’s between the Interior and the North, whether it’s to and from other provinces in Canada.”
The B.C. government’s priority is on keeping schools and businesses operating as normally as possible, and protecting the health care system. As of Monday there were 11 new outbreaks declared in health care facilities, for a total of 52 active, with 45 of those in long-term care facilities centred mainly in the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health regions.
Public health “guidance” documents posted last week repeatedly note that there is no public health order barring travel within the province, just as there is no province-wide order to wear masks in public.
News Releases | COVID-19 Bulletin #268 – news.gov.mb.ca
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Public information, contact Manitoba Government Inquiry: 1-866-626-4862 or 204-945-3744.
Media requests for general information, contact Communications Services Manitoba: 204-945-3765.
Media requests for ministerial comment, contact Communications and Stakeholder Relations: 204-794-0732.
Ontario parents can soon apply for 2nd COVID-19 payout, should come before holidays – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News
Ontario parents will soon be able to apply for their next COVID-19 cheque from the provincial government and should receive the funds before the holidays.
On Friday, Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced the application portal to receive the second payout will open “within the next week.”
“It’s part of a broader effort to get money in the pockets of parents ahead of the holidays,” he said. “We know it’s tough. We are going to be there for parents and for the kids.”
The second payment was initially announced when the province tabled its budget earlier this month.
Parents of children aged 12 or younger will again be able to receive a one-time payment of $200 per child, and $250 for children 21 years of age or younger with special education needs.
This is the second payout from the province to Ontario families during the COVID-19 pandemic. The first payout came in the spring.
The payments are meant as “a measure of relief” for those affected by outbreaks of the disease in schools and for those choosing to learn at home.
The government will spend $380 million on the second payout to parents, on top of the $378 million from the first round.
Last week, the province announced that Ontario schools will not have an extended winter break.
On Friday, Lecce said the government is doing everything possible to keep students, staff and parents safe amid the second wave of the disease.
“The chief medical officer of health made a determination that at this time (an extended winter break) is not required,” Lecce said. “His belief is that our schools remain fundamentally safe, with 99.9 per cent of kids in the province COVID-19 free.”
“If the circumstances change – as you know, I acted to close schools, the first in the country, and I obviously will act to add new layers of prevention, or take additional recommendations from public health.”
Premier Doug Ford and Lecce announced on Thursday that students at participating schools in Ontario COVID-19 hot spots will be able to get tested for the disease regardless of whether or not they are experiencing symptoms.
As of Friday, 4,470 lab-confirmed positive cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in Ontario schools. There are 671 schools across the province that have reported an infection and six of those schools currently remain closed.
Black Friday comes with a warning in Manitoba – CBC.ca
The Manitoba government sent out a stern reminder Friday morning that its public health orders must be heeded.
Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days of the year, typically has crowds of people lining up well before stores open, but with a strict COVID-19 lockdown in place this year, the province wants the public to know that “personnel empowered to enforce public health orders will be out in full force.”
Anyone who breaks public health orders faces fines of $1,296 for individuals to $5,000 for business.
A news release from the province also urged Manitobans against leaving the province to shop in places where the restrictions aren’t as stringent.
In its release, the province noted a handful of new fines recently handed out, including in the Duck Mountain region, where $1,296 tickets were given to each of four hunters from Ontario for failing to self-isolate upon entering Manitoba.
A $5,000 fine went to Costco on McGillivray Avenue in Winnipeg for selling non-essential items on Thursday, while a ticket in the same amount was handed to the Church of God, south of Steinbach, for holding a service on Nov. 22.
- Anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or been exposed to COVID-19 by a close contact must self-isolate.
- Anyone arriving in Manitoba is required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival to reduce the spread of COVID-19, with some exceptions.
- Wearing a mask in all indoor public spaces is required, in addition to maintaining the required social distance of two metres in all indoor and outdoor public spaces. The fine for not wearing a mask is $298.
- Gatherings at private residences are restricted, with some exceptions.
- Gatherings of more than five people at any outdoor or indoor public place or in the common area of a multi-unit residence are prohibited, with some exceptions.
- Retailers allowed to remain open must only sell essential items in person.
- Businesses must limit the number of members of the public at the business to 25 per cent of the usual capacity of the premises or 250 persons, whichever is lower.
- Places of worship must be closed and drive-in religious services are not permitted.
Despite the rules, the province said there are videos circulating widely on social media that show individuals gathering in groups larger than permitted. Anyone who knows the individuals involved is asked to call the COVID tip line at 204-945-3744 or toll-free at 1-866-626-4862.
Manitobans can also report compliance and enforcement issues online.
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