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Why some snowbirds are still heading south this winter despite COVID-19 and a closed land border

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Despite the U.S. having the world’s highest number of COVID-19 cases, Canadian snowbird Elizabeth Evans is determined to head south next month. That’s because her only winter home is parked at an RV resort in Williston, Florida.

“I don’t have a [winter] home here,” said Evans, who’s currently living in her summer trailer at a campground in Niagara Falls. “I don’t have any winter clothes.”

Evans is one of a number of snowbirds set on going to the U.S. this winter, despite the ongoing pandemic. But getting there may not be easy: To help stop the spread of COVID-19, the Canada-U.S. land border remains closed to non-essential traffic until at least Oct. 21.

Evans believes the closure will be extended, so she plans to fly to Florida on Oct. 30 — two days before the campground where she’s living closes for the season.

“There’s no way I am staying here,” she said. “Even if I had to get on the plane buck-naked, I’d be on it.”

 

Elizabeth Evans and friend Susan Walley at at RV resort in Williston, Florida, where Evans lives during the winters. (Submitted by Elizabeth Evans)

 

The Canadian Snowbird Association — which has more than 110,000 members — said it’s hard to gauge at this point what percentage of its members will actually head south this winter.

Some snowbirds have already nixed their plans, while others are undecided.

“A significant portion of them are in a holding pattern, just to see what shakes out at the land border,” said spokesperson Evan Rachkovsky.

WATCH | Alberta snowbirds planning to spend winter at home:

 

Snowbirds who would normally be preparing to head off for warmer climates are now stuck in Alberta preparing for winter thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. 3:32

Some experts predict the Canada-U.S. land border could stay closed to non-essential travel until the new year.

Although Canadians can still fly to the U.S., Rachkovsky said many snowbirds won’t go without their cars but can’t afford the big fees — between $1,500 and $6,000 — to ship their vehicles.

“It’s not really an option for some of them to fly.”

 

Elizabeth Evans’ RV, which is parked year-round at an RV resort in Williston, Florida. (Submitted by Elizabeth Evans)

 

Evans is one of those who would typically drive down to the U.S., which allowed her to transport her household supplies in her truck. She said she’s can’t ship her truck packed with luggage, so this year she’s leaving it behind, along with many household necessities.

But she’s still bent on going to the U.S., even as health experts warn of a possible surge of COVID-19 cases in the fall.

Evans said she plans to take precautionary measures such as social distancing and keep to her RV resort.

“I will take the risk because I know how to protect myself, and everybody — at least in my resort — follows the rules,” she said. “I’m more concerned about falling off my bicycle than I am of COVID.”

Escape winter while isolating

Travel insurance broker Martin Firestone said so far less than 10 per cent of his snowbird clients have made firm plans to go south this winter. He said those who are going say they will aim to avoid crowds, just as they would in Canada during the pandemic.

“They’re going to be prisoners in their developments or their condos,” said Firestone, with Travel Secure in Toronto. “They’re saying, ‘I guess I’d rather sit down in Florida than sit here in Ontario and face the harsh climate.'”

 

Perry Cohen said he and his wife, Rose, plan to take all necessary precautions when they head to their condo this winter in Deerfield Beach, Florida. (Submitted by Perry Cohen)

 

That about sums up Perry Cohen’s itinerary. The snowbird — who is one of Firestone’s clients — aims to head to his condo in Deerfield Beach, Fla., in early December as long as the COVID-19 case count remains low in that area.

Cohen, who lives in Toronto, said he plans to take the necessary precautions and stick to his gated community — all while enjoying the warm weather.

“Why would I want to be cooped up here when I can be there, out in the sunshine, in the fresh air?” he said. “You have more positives to go than to stay here.”

Cohen also plans to fly to Florida and has a car parked at his condo. He said an added reassurance for him is that he can now purchase COVID-19 medical insurance — just in case he or his wife did get the virus.

“I like a complete package to know I’m looked after [if], God forbid, I have a problem.”

COVID-19 medical coverage returns

Several travel insurance providers recently restarted selling COVID-19 medical coverage, after dropping it in March when the pandemic began its global spread

Firestone said that even with the coverage, snowbirds could face problems if the community where they’re living has an outbreak.

“The hospitals will get filled, the intensive care units will get filled, and then the fun will begin, regardless of whether you have insurance or not.”

Cohen argues Canada could also experience overrun hospitals. Currently, COVID-19 case numbers are surging in Ontario and Quebec.

“You take a chance and go, because we can have the same problem here.”

Source:- CBC.ca

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Gold price off its lows as ECB signals further stimulus in December – Kitco NEWS

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(Kitco News)Gold prices remain under pressure, but well off their session lows after the European Central Bank (ECB) signaled it would unleash new monetary policy stimulus measures in December as the European economy continues to feel the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ECB president Christine Lagarde said in a press conference following the ECB s monetary policy decision that it is clear the European economy will need further support as a second wave of the coronavirus forces countries to institute new lockdown measures.

We have little doubt that circumstances will warrant a recalibration and implementation of monetary policy,” she said.

The dovish outlook is helping gold prices recover from Wednesday sharp selloff. Panic selling has swept through financial markets this week as investors shift their expectations on global growth. December gold futures last traded at $1,871.80 an ounce, down 0.39% on the day.

The comments come as the ECB continues to see significant risk to the European economy heading into the new year. Wednesday, both France and Germany announced new lockdown measures as both countries have seen a surge in new COVID-19 infections.

The risks surrounding the euro area growth outlook are clearly tilted to the downside,” Lagarde said in her opening remarks. This largely reflects the recent resurgence in COVID-19 infections, the associated intensification of containment measures and a highly uncertain timeline of the pandemic and its implications for economic and financial conditions.”

Lagarde said that the staff are currently analyzing its programs ahead of December s meeting. The December meeting will also see the release of the central bank s updated economic projections. She added that this recalibration will touch on all of the central bank s tool to find the best mix to support lending conditions and the European economy.

On the basis of this updated assessment, the Governing Council will recalibrate its instruments, as appropriate, to respond to the unfolding situation and to ensure that financing conditions remain favorable to support the economic recovery and counteract the negative impact of the pandemic on the projected inflation path,” Lagard said.

Lagarde s dour outlook came after the ECB said that it maintained its interest rate on the main refinancing operations and the interest rates on the marginal lending facility and the deposit facility will remain unchanged at 0.00%, 0.25%, and -0.50%, respectively.

The central bank also said that it would maintain the current pace of its emergency stimulus measures.

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Exxon Fails To Raise Dividend For The First Time In 38 Years – OilPrice.com

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Exxon Fails To Raise Dividend For The First Time In 38 Years | OilPrice.com

Josh Owens

Josh Owens

Josh Owens is the Content Director at Oilprice.com. An International Relations and Politics graduate from the University of Edinburgh, Josh specialized in Middle East and…

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ExxonMobil is keeping its quarterly fourth-quarter dividend flat at $0.87 per share – the first time in 38 years that the company has failed to increase the dividend that it has been paying for more than 100 years.    

Exxon, which is reporting Q3 earnings on Friday, had increased its dividend in Q1 ad Q2 this year, despite the oil price crash and the back-to-back losses that it reported for the first and second quarters. Exxon, as well as Chevron, hadn’t touched shareholder payouts, unlike their European rivals Shell, Equinor, BP, and Eni, which slashed dividends earlier this year amid massive losses in Q1 and Q2 following the price and demand crash and reductions in oil price assumptions for both the short and the long term.

Analysts have been wondering how long Exxon would be able to keep raising its dividend and continue to be one of the so-called dividend aristocrats, companies that have continuously increased dividends for 25 years or more.

“We have doubts about the sanctity of the dividend longer-term,” Jennifer Rowland, an analyst with Edward Jones, told Reuters.

“There is greater potential for a dividend reduction in 2021 if demand doesn’t fully recover,” Rowland added.

Related: The Car Giants That Knew About Climate Change 50 Years Ago

While not cutting the dividend, Exxon is not lifting the payouts to shareholders for the first time since 1982, suggesting that the supermajor has exhausted many of the other options to cut costs.

For the third quarter, Exxon is set to post its third straight loss in its upstream business this year as lower oil demand continues to hurt oil companies’ profitability.

For the second quarter, Exxon reported at the end of July its second consecutive quarterly loss, which was the worst loss for the U.S. supermajor in its modern history.

By Josh Owens for Oilprice.com

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Ontario premier wants to take 'surgical approach' to next group of shutdowns in hot spots – CTV Toronto

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TORONTO —
Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he wants to take a “surgical approach” to shutdowns in the province’s COVID-19 hot spots when deciding if regions need to remain in a modified Stage 2.

“We need to take a surgical approach,” Ford said, while making an announcement in Barrie, Ont. on Thursday. “I’ve always said this, some regions are very large geographical areas.”

Ford wouldn’t say whether Toronto, Peel Region, Ottawa or York Region would be moved back into Stage 3 of the province’s reopening plan. All four regions were placed into a modified Stage 2 for 28 days because of their rising infection rate. 

The modified Stage 2 forces indoor dining to close, as well as movie theatres and gyms.

The 28-day period expires for Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa on Nov. 7, while York Region is a week later.

Ford used Peel Region as an example of why he thinks a surgical approach needs to be taken, saying while Mississauga and Brampton have seen an increase in COVID-19 cases, Caledon has not seen numbers spike at the same rates.

“Caledon, they’re complaining because the numbers are escalating in other regions,” Ford said. 

Ford said he’s “working with all the mayors and all the different regions” to decide on what restrictions will be lifted or kept in place when the 28-day period ends.

“We’re working on coming up with a safe plan with collaboration with all the local mayors and local health teams and then we’ll make a decision before this 28 days runs out.”

“The good news is we are seeing a little bit of a decline,” Ford said about COVID-19 cases in Ontario. “But make no mistake about it … do not let your guard down. It happened before and it just spiked up.”

Ford’s comment on the decline in cases comes as Ontario’s seven-day rolling average hit 899, which is a record high since the pandemic began.

Ontario’s four COVID-19 hot spots continue to have the highest number of COVID-19 infections.

Of the new cases reported on Thursday, 420 were in Toronto, 169 were in Peel Region, 95 were in York Region and 58 were in Ottawa.

Province launches ‘Ontario Made Consumer Directory’

Meanwhile, the Ontario government announced on Thursday that it has launched a new directory to make it easier for people to shop and support local businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Canadian Manufactures and Exporters (CME), with the support of the Ontario government, launched the “Ontario Made Consumer Directory.”

Ford said that promoting Ontario-made products will help support “good-paying jobs” in the future. 

People can find made-in-Ontario products on the government’s new website SupportOntarioMade.ca

“I’m proud to support this new CME campaign to encourage Ontarians to look for the ‘Ontario Made’ label when shopping,” Ford said. 

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