A Toronto restaurant has sent Ontario Premier Doug Ford a $431 invoice for beer they say will spoil as a result of the provincewide shutdown.
Michael Hunter, co-owner of Antler Kitchen & Bar in the city’s west end, told CP24 that he sent the premier an invoice for two kegs of beer he purchased after being told Toronto restaurants could reopen their patios.
“We haven’t been buying draft beer because we can’t sell draft for our curbside pickup and takeout, so for the patio weekend we decided okay, we’re open for the patio, now let’s buy these kegs,” Hunter said. “We tapped the kegs, hooked them up to our lines, had the lines cleaned, only for a week later told now we have to shut down.”
“Once a keg is opened, it has a shelf life.’
Two weeks ago restaurants in the grey zone of Ontario’s COVID-19 lockdown framework were allowed to reopen their patios. The news was highly anticipated by businesses in Toronto and Peel Region that had been shuttered to in-person dining all winter.
But with the announcement of a provincewide shutdown, those same restaurants now have to close their outdoor dining areas.
Under the new regulations that went into effect at midnight, in-person dining—both indoors and outdoors—is prohibited.
“These openings and closings after two weeks, they have an effect on us,” Hunter said, adding that the invoice is a “statement” and doesn’t include the cost of additional food and staff hired.
“We’re more in debt today than we were two weeks ago before we were told we could open the patio.”
In a letter sent along with the invoice for $431.55, Antler Kitchen & Bar says that the reopening of patios “was a path for our business to survive.”
“You say you care about Toronto’s restaurants,” the letter to Ford says. “And we know you care about beer. So we’re sending an invoice to you for two kegs worth of beer that will spoil because of this shut down. We bought them because you said we could re-open.”
“So now that you’ve closed us down, we know you will be glad to cover the cost and take them off our hands. They might go down well at the next cabinet meeting.”
Hunter said that while he isn’t a medical expert, the service industry, along with other businesses completely shuttered during the shutdown, has been hardest hit during the pandemic.
“It’s literally just been a nightmare.”
A spokesperson for the premier did not comment on the invoice, but said that the government recognizes that the pandemic “has had a devastating impact on all Ontarians.”
“At a time when case counts are increasing unsustainably and intensive care units are immensely strained, risking care, the hard decision to implement the emergency brake provincewide was necessary and the right thing to do. We must continue to respect the advice and recommendations of public health officials and the Chief Medical Officer of Health.”
Indoor dining has been prohibited in all grey zone regions since the inception of the Ontario COVID-19 lockdown framework in early November.
Areas such as Toronto and Peel Region have never left the grey zone, while other Ontario public health units have moved back and forth among the five tiers.
In the red zone, which is just below the grey zone, indoor dining was allowed with a 10-person limit.
At the same time outdoor dining was given the green light in the grey zone, the province made adjustments to the red zone allowing restaurants to operate at either 50 per cent capacity or up to 50 people, whichever one is reached first with a two-metre distance between customers.
The provincewide shutdown that started on April 3 is expected to last at least a month.
As COVID-19 vaccines for kids get closer, experts weigh up how to reassure parents – CBC.ca
As Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech say they’ve moved a step closer to providing their COVID-19 vaccine for younger children, one mother says she’s keen to have her eldest vaccinated, but hears some hesitation among other parents.
“As parents, you’re nervous and you’re apprehensive, obviously, about any risks,” said Fallon Jones, who lives in Halifax with a five-year-old daughter and two-year-old son.
“But we have to weigh the pros and the cons here, and I think that this is a good opportunity to protect them against a potentially deadly virus,” she told The Current’s Matt Galloway.
Pfizer-BioNTech said Monday that a clinical trial of its COVID-19 vaccine recorded a robust immune response in five- to 11-year-olds, and the company plans to seek regulatory approval as soon as possible. Children received two shots, each one-third the dose size given to adults. The findings have not been peer-reviewed, nor published.
For any vaccine to be approved by Health Canada, the manufacturers supply the necessary clinical trial data for review. If the regulator grants approval, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) will make a recommendation on their use, but the final decision to deploy the vaccines rests with provincial authorities.
In a statement to The Current, Health Canada said the makers of all COVID-19 vaccines approved in Canada are conducting or planning studies in adolescents and younger children, but it has so far not received any submission for the approval of any COVID-19 vaccine for children under 12.
In her work at a vaccine hesitancy clinic in Calgary, Dr. Cora Constantinescu meets parents who are experiencing “a lot of fear and anxiety” around their children potentially getting the vaccine.
“We often have parents who are fully vaccinated themselves, who may be hesitant about their kids,” said Constantinescu, a pediatrician and infectious disease doctor at Alberta Children’s Hospital.
She said that parents talk to her about things they’ve seen online, including “anti-vaccine rhetoric and a lot of misconstrued science.”
In Halifax, Jones said she often hears other parents say they don’t know what’s in the vaccine, so they won’t give it to their kids. When she asks if they knew what was in the vaccines their kids received as babies, the response is usually no, she said.
“I completely respect and understand how there would be some fear associated with it,” she said.
But ultimately, “we trusted our doctors then and we trusted the science then, and we need to do the same with this vaccine.”
How should parents approach vaccine question?
Constantinescu said many parents have seen misinformation on social media, where there is a “huge polarization of the pro-vaccine and the anti-vaccine crowd.”
“The parents are caught in the middle, scared and worried about their kids, trying to make the best decision they can,” she said.
As parents approach the decision, they should consider the dual impact of COVID-19 on children, she said.
“We’re seeing the direct effects of COVID on children, and we know that that can range from mild disease, to respiratory illness, to being hospitalized, having a multi-system inflammation, to ending up in ICU,” she said.
There is also an indirect cost, including mental health issues and issues around socialization, she said.
The news from Pfizer-BioNTech gives her hope that those impacts can soon be addressed, but she warned that the data has not yet been made public, or reviewed by Health Canada.
If it is approved, she said parents should approach the vaccine as an issue of “personal protection first.”
“It’s about protecting their kids directly, looking out for them, and wanting to return them to a normal life,” she said.
‘Pull out all the stops’ to protect kids
Dr. Kashif Pirzada, an emergency physician in Toronto, wants to see a safe vaccine for kids approved and available as quickly as possible.
“I’m calling for all of these processes to be speeded up and done very transparently,” said Pirzada, who is also a co-founder of Masks4Canada, a group that advocates for public health measures to slow the spread of the virus.
He added that more work should be done to reassure parents that the vaccines are safe. He warned that COVID-19 is not harmless to children, and the longer they remain unprotected, the more infections there will be.
In the meantime, vaccination sites and health-care workers could be prepared to ramp the vaccination campaign back up, he said.
“Once that approval comes, we should pull out all the stops and get these shots into little arms as quickly as possible.”
Written by Padraig Moran. Produced by Rachel Levy-McLaughlin, Arianne Robinson and Joana Draghici.
Gold price drops as Powell talks 'gradual' tapering, downplays Evergrande contagion concerns – Kitco NEWS
(Kitco News) The gold market saw its earlier gains reversed as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell talked about “gradual” tapering while downplaying China’s Evergrande contagion effect on the U.S. market.
On Wednesday, the Fed said it may soon start tapering its $120 billion in monthly asset purchases, with central bank officials showing growing support for raising interest rates in 2022.
“If progress continues broadly as expected, the Committee judges that a moderation in the pace of asset purchases may soon be warranted. These asset purchases help foster smooth market functioning and accommodative financial conditions, thereby supporting the flow of credit to households and businesses,” the Fed said in a statement.
When clarifying the Fed’s stance at a press conference following the Fed statement, Powell indicated that it would be a “very gradual taper,” which could conclude in the middle of next year.
Powell also pointed out that the central bank has the freedom to speed up or slow down the tapering process as it sees fit. He added that markets should not expect a rate hike while the Fed is still tapering.
Tapering does depend on substantial further progress made by the U.S. economy. And if the economy continues to advance in line with expectations, the Fed could move ahead with tapering at the next meeting.
“For me, it wouldn’t take a knockout [August] employment report. It would take a reasonably good employment report for me to feel like that test is met,” Powell said. “I would say that in my own thinking, the test is all but met. I don’t personally need to see a very strong employment report. Again it’s not to be confused with the test for [rate] liftoff, which is so much higher.”
The Fed Chair was also asked about China’s Evergrande debt issue, which sparked a rout in the markets earlier this week.
“The Evergrande situation seems very particular to China, which has very high debt for an emerging economy,” Powell told reporters. “Corporate defaults in the U.S. are very low right now … You would worry that it would affect global financial conditions through confidence channels.”
When asked about the stock-trading policies for Fed officials, Powell replied that they are “not adequate” and the Fed “could do better.”
Powell noted that it is reasonable for Fed officials not to own the same assets as Fed buys. “We are going to be looking at all those things,” he said.
On the debt ceiling issue, Powell also urged Congress to raise the debt limit in a timely fashion. “It is critically important. Failure to do that is something that could result in severe damage to the economy and financial markets.”
He added that no one should assume Fed can protect the economy if the debt ceiling is not raised.
In response to Powell’s comments, gold saw some losses as markets interpreted Powell’s comments as upbeat when it came to the U.S. economy. At the time of writing, December Comex gold futures were trading at $1,767.20, down 0.62% on the day.
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