- Ottawa to seek equity or cash from companies applying for new COVID-19 loan program
- Ontario announces independent commission for pandemic’s impact on long-term care system
- ‘This is not a high-margin business in the best of times’: Reopening retailers face tough road to recovery
- The pressure’s on for Trudeau to use COVID-19 relief to fight climate change. But how?
3:50 p.m. EDT
Nearly 600 campers moved into temporary housing, B.C. government says
The B.C. government says plans to move people camped at several parks in Vancouver and Victoria into temporary housing amid the COVID-19 pandemic have been successful.
Shane Simpson, the minister of social development and poverty reduction, says 600 of the most vulnerable people in the province will have moved by Wednesday from tent encampments into housing where other support services available.
He says 261 people from Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park have been placed in hotels and “rehabilitation” of the park has begun, while 308 people have moved into temporary housing from Topaz and Pandora parks in Victoria.
Simpson says a small number of people have said they do not want to enter temporary housing and the province will not force them, but they must leave the parks.
Pivot Legal Society sent a letter to the government, outlining concerns about removing people from the parks, including increased risk of overdoses, inadequate care for personal possessions and the allocation of what is only temporary housing.
Simpson says that they are confident that the moving process has been comprehensive and compassionate.
“It’s been done with the ultimate consideration of the campers and of their interests and very much their desire.”
- Canadian Press
3:30 p.m. EDT
Prince Edward Island to open borders to seasonal residents June 1
Prince Edward Island’s premier says the province will soon begin the process of allowing seasonal residents to head to the Island.
Dennis King says starting June 1, seasonal visitors can apply to go to P.E.I. and will have to be approved before crossing the border.
“We will require seasonal residents to submit their relevant travel and property ownership documentation as well as their self-isolation plans and other details prior to travelling to our province,” King said Wednesday.
He said seasonal visitors make a tremendous contribution to the province.
“In most cases these individuals consider Prince Edward Island home, even if they don’t have the privilege or opportunity to be here year-round. That is a very special connection for them, but also for us,” King said.
Those visitors will have to self-isolate for 14 days and show they have enough supports to get through that time period.
- Canadian Press
3:1`5 p.m. EDT
Alberta ramps up COVID screening, isolation checks for international arrivals
Alberta is ramping up screening of international visitors to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Premier Jason Kenney says that starting immediately foreign travellers arriving at airports in Edmonton and Calgary will have their temperature checked using an infrared camera.
They must also provide a detailed plan on how they plan to self-isolate for 14 days.
In two weeks, a similar screening process will be set up at the United States border crossing at Coutts, Alta.
Kenney says 90 per cent of land arrivals from the U.S. come through Coutts, which is just north of Montana.
Kenney says everyone screened will get a follow-up phone call three days after their arrival to make sure they are following the self-isolation plan and have the means to do so.
2:30 p.m. EDT
Manitoba eases crowd limit for COVID-19 pandemic, other changes to come
The Manitoba government is easing its restriction on public gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of Friday, crowd sizes will no longer be limited to 10 people.
Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief public health officer, says the new limits will be 25 people for indoor gatherings and 50 for people outdoors.
The province is also going to start allowing limited, outdoor visits for people in personal care homes starting May 29.
The government announced no new COVID-19 cases today, and has only registered one in the last eight days.
Roussin has hinted that other restrictions will likely be lifted in the coming days.
The Manitoba government also announced Wednesday that it is increasing funding for community projects during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Premier Brian Pallister said funding will increase this year to the Building Sustainable Communities program by 25 per cent, to $10-million, and will help the economy.
The program offers money to municipalities, non-profit groups and others for a range of projects including recreation buildings and outdoor amenities such as nature trails.
- Canadian Press
2 p.m. EDT
Ontario urges transit riders to wear masks
Ontario is strongly recommending that all people riding public transit in the province wear some form of non-medical face covering, but has stopped short of making the measure mandatory.
The province announced the recommendation Wednesday as part of a series of new guidelines to help reduce the risk on transit during the pandemic, including a suggestion to allow for physical distancing by limiting the number of passengers permitted to board a vehicle.
“As more people start taking transit again, these public health measures will help keep everyone safe,” Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney told a daily briefing.
“On the advice of Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, we are recommending anyone travelling on public transit wear a face covering, to help stop the spread of COVID-19.”
Children under two, people with trouble breathing and those unable to remove their own mask are exempt from the recommendation. Neither Ms. Mulroney nor Premier Doug Ford responded directly when asked by reporters about making masks mandatory on transit.
In normal times, the Toronto Transit Commission is the most heavily used in the country. Like agencies around the world, though, it saw ridership plunge as the pandemic took root, sparked by there being fewer reasons to leave home and a newfound public concern about being in crowded spaces. The TTC has ramped up cleaning and instituted its own limits on how many passengers can board.
- Oliver Moore
12:50 p.m. EDT
Newfoundland and Labrador says 253 of 260 people have recovered from COVID-19
Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting no new positive cases of COVID-19, marking nearly two weeks without a new case.
Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, the province’s chief medical officer of health, says 253 people have now recovered from the virus out of 260 confirmed cases.
Three people are in the hospital including one in intensive care.
Three people have died from the illness in Newfoundland and Labrador.
More than 10,000 have been tested.
Fitzgerald thanked people for their efforts to follow public health measures and says those measures are still important for keeping case numbers low.
- Canadian Press
11:50 a.m. EDT
Nova Scotia reports one additional death linked to COVID-19
Health authorities in Nova Scotia are reporting one new death linked to COVID-19 and one newly confirmed case of the viral infection.
The latest fatality was reported at the Northwood long-term-care facility in Halifax, which is the scene of the province’s worst outbreak.
A total of 57 people in Nova Scotia have died from COVID-19 — 51 of them at Northwood.
As of Thursday, Nova Scotia had 1,045 confirmed cases of the infectious illness, though 956 people have recovered.
Unlike most other provinces, Nova Scotia has yet to release its plan to ease health restrictions and begin reopening its economy.
However, parks and trails have been open for several weeks, and on Friday the government introduced a “family bubble” policy, allowing two households to come together without physical distancing.
Public beaches also reopened Saturday, along with outdoor activities like archery, horseback riding, golf, paddling, boating and tennis, with the proviso that social distancing and hygiene be maintained.
On March 15, Nova Scotia became the last province to report cases of COVID-19, and the provincial government declared a state of emergency on March 22.
- Canadian Press
11 a.m. EDT
Ontario reports 390 new COVID-19 cases, 43 more deaths
Ontario is reporting 390 new COVID-19 cases today, and 43 more deaths.
That brings the provincial total to 23,774 cases, which is an increase of 1.7 per cent over the previous day.
It includes 1,962 deaths and 18,190 resolved cases.
Hospitalizations increased slightly, but the number of people in intensive care and on ventilators decreased.
The number of tests completed in the previous day remained low – 7,382 – for the third day in a row.
A testing blitz of every long-term care resident and staff member was completed over the weekend, and while criteria for the general public to get tested has been expanded, health officials say no large influx of people looking for tests materialized over the weekend.
- Canadian Press
4 a.m. EDT
Regions should loosen COVID-19 restrictions on their own timelines: poll
As provinces take their cautious first steps to allow people back into local businesses, most Canadians say they disagree that province-wide measures are the way to reopen the economy.
The latest poll on the COVID-19 pandemic by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies suggests only 35 per cent of people think restrictions should be loosened for entire provinces.
In contrast, 47 per cent think those decisions should apply to specific regions within each province, while 18 per cent say reopening measures should apply to all of Canada at once.
Still, just over half of those polled say they trust provinces to make the call about what businesses should reopen and when, whereas about one-third say that should be up to Ottawa and 14 per cent said local governments should decide.
The pollsters surveyed 1,513 Canadians recruited from an online panel between May 15 and May 17.
As for how comfortable Canadians are with the current speed at which provinces and territories are lifting public health restrictions, 60 per cent say they should keep doing what they’re doing, while 27 per cent would like to see them pull on the reins and 13 per cent want them to move faster.
- The Canadian Press
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