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Good evening, here are the coronavirus updates you need to know tonight.

Top headlines:

  1. Ontario announced it will gradually reopen the province and lift the stay-at-home order
  2. Experts are recommending that Canada investigate mixing doses of different types of COVID-19 vaccines as a way to address shortages
  3. B.C. promised about a quarter of a million front-line workers a $4-an-hour boost during the pandemic, but months later, many are still waiting

In the last 7 days, 24,529 cases were reported, down 20 per cent from the previous 7 days. There were 701 deaths announced, down 22 per cent over the same period. At least 2,863 people are being treated in hospitals and 747,114 others are considered recovered.

About 88 per cent of the 1,251,315 doses of vaccines distributed to provinces have been administered. That’s 2.9 doses for every 100 people in Canada.

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Sources: Canada data is compiled from government websites, Johns Hopkins and COVID-19 Canada Open Data Working Group; international data is from Johns Hopkins University.

Coronavirus explainers: Coronavirus in maps and charts Lockdown rules and reopeningCanada’s vaccine distribution planDeveloping/approved vaccinesPfizer’s vaccine, explained Essential resources

Photo of the day

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Customers wearing masks to protect against coronavirus look over decorated bags of food and gifts for Lunar New Year celebrations in New York. The annual event begins Friday.Mark Lennihan/The Associated Press

Coronavirus in Canada

In Ottawa, the federal government is sparring with provincial health officials over paid sick leave while essential labourers continue to work in fear of surging workplace outbreaks.

  • Workplaces have been a key driver of rising COVID-19 cases since the fall, yet more than half of workers in Canada don’t have access to paid sick leave.

Failing grade: Canadians gave an average of 4.7 out of 10 to Ottawa and the provinces for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout so far, a new survey shows.

Vaccine hesitancy: Polls conducted by unions and workplace safety associations in December suggest nearly half of long-term care staff in Canada were unsure if they’d get the vaccine or were flat-out opposed to it.

Coronavirus and business

The Bank of Nova Scotia is vacating the top floors in Scotia Plaza in Toronto, adding to the influx of office space for lease as numerous Bay Street firms and other businesses have been putting some of their space on the sublet market.

  • The increase in sublets has sent downtown Toronto’s office vacancy rate to 7.2 per cent in the fourth quarter from 2 per cent before the pandemic, according to CBRE data.

Also today: A group representing thousands of small businesses across the country said the new version of the commercial rent-relief program still isn’t living up to expectations because it suffers from a lack of visibility and eligibility issues.

And: The average selling price for a Toronto home is expected to reach $1,025,000 this year, according to the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board.

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Sources: Canada data are compiled from government websites, Johns Hopkins University and COVID-19 Canada Open Data Working Group; international data are from Johns Hopkins.

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