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More headlines:

What is the reopening plan in my province? A guide


7:30 p.m. EDT

Yukon issues plan outlining reopening phases, impacts

More households will be allowed to mingle together but Yukon’s border will remain closed as the government issued its plan Friday to gradually loosen COVID-19 related restrictions.

The plan outlines five phases including a period after a vaccine is available.

“We are still on the first steps of a pathway forward,” said Premier Sandy Silver at a news conference.

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Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, says the phases may take weeks to months.

“I think the first phase is a really big step,” he said.

But Silver warned stricter measures may be reintroduced if COVID-19 cases begin to rise.

“This is a marathon, not a sprint,” he said. “We are still in the early phases of this pandemic.”

The plan lists the “restart” phase as beginning immediately, with businesses that were ordered to close allowed to reopen as long as they submit an operational plan.

The most immediate effect is that two households, up to 10 people in total, can interact with each other as part of a “household bubble.”

But bars and restaurants that offer dine-in services won’t be allowed to reopen until the chief medical officer of health lifts orders restricting them from opening.

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Borders will also remain closed but residents will be allowed to travel throughout the territory more easily.

- Canadian Press


5:15 p.m. EDT

Toronto cancels city run summer camps

Toronto is cancelling all city-run summer camps, affecting 68,000 young people, but is holding out hope that a scaled-down version of them could still be held for a smaller number of children.

Cancellation of the camps, which act as a form of child care for many families, was announced Friday.

“I think that the notion that this summer was going to be very different was clear when the CNE announced earlier this week that the Ex would have to be cancelled for 2020,” Mayor John Tory told the city’s daily briefing, saying that the camp cancellation was being done “with great regret.”

Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s medical officer of health, acknowledged the gap this cancellation will leave in the warmer months for a large number of residents.

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“We know how important these camps are to the health of our children and their families, and I know that they are a fun part of summer for many in our city,” she said.

“My team is working with the city’s parks, forestry and recreation division to provide guidance on how they can provide a modified version of summer day camps this year that are safe for our youth, if provincial restrictions are lifted and our local conditions allow.”

Those who have registered for summer camps will be refunded automatically, the city said.

- Oliver Moore


3:30 p.m. EDT

Ford declines to pause commercial evictions but tells landlords: have a heart

Premier Doug Ford indicated Friday he won’t be putting a freeze on commercial evictions, but pleaded with “vicious” landlords to be flexible with business tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ontario has effectively banned residential evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, and many business groups and opposition parties have been calling on the province to do the same for commercial tenants.

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Closures of many businesses across the province deemed non-essential during the pandemic have meant that they are struggling to pay bills, including rent. A federal-provincial rent relief program has been announced but has not yet taken effect, and some businesses have said their landlords won’t participate.

Calls for a moratorium on commercial evictions have been growing louder as Saturday approaches — the day when landlords could change the locks on businesses for non-payment of May’s rent.

But Ford said there could be legal implications if the government wades into long-term lease contracts.

“I’m pleading with landlords, be flexible,” Ford said.

- Canadian Press


2:45 p.m. EDT

Quebec to provide Montreal with one million masks for COVID-19 hot zones

The Quebec government will give one million masks to the City of Montreal to distribute in its COVID-19 hot zones.

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Premier Francois Legault says the province will also give $6-million in funding to help transit agencies in the greater Montreal area secure protective face coverings.

Legault wrapped up a two-day visit to the city at the centre of Canada’s COVID-19 pandemic on Friday.

The premier says he met with the heads of regional health authorities in the area to find out more about the disease’s spread in the city’s long-term care homes and seniors residences.

Legault says the biggest issue remains attracting staff, but other matters discussed included bringing all private long-term care homes under the public system and the issue of some long-term care homes not having a senior manager overseeing operations.

- Canadian Press


1:50 p.m. EDT

Quebec reports 50 new deaths

Quebec is reporting an additional 50 deaths today linked to COVID-19, bringing the provincial total to 3,401.

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Provincial health authorities also reported 41,420 confirmed cases, an increase of 696 in the past 24 hours.

Premier Francois Legault noted it has been some time since those numbers have been that low as he wrapped up a two-day visit to Montreal, the epicentre of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the province.

Legault says the province will give Montreal one million masks to distribute and provide $6-billion to transit agencies in the Montreal area to make masks more widely available.

- Canadian Press


1:20 p.m. EDT

PEI moving up some reopenings

Prince Edward Island is accelerating its Renew PEI Together plan by planning to reinstate some services sooner.

Phase two of the plan will still begin May 22 as scheduled, but the third phase will now begin June 1 instead of June 12.

Premier Dennis King says the decision was based on several factors, including the lack of new cases of COVID-19 on the Island in the last 17 days.

Phase three would allow gatherings of up to 15 people indoors and 20 people outdoors, organized recreational activities and the opening of child care centres and in-room dining.

- Canadian Press


10:45 a.m. EDT

Ontario adjusts case numbers due to glitch

Ontario is reporting 341 new COVID-19 cases today and 27 more deaths.

The province also says that due to a glitch, Thursday’s numbers were under-reported, so there were actually 345 new cases that day, instead of the reported 258.

The new total of cases in the province is 21,922, including 1,825 deaths and 16,641 cases that have been resolved.

The adjusted numbers mean that the growth rate of new cases has been a steady 1.6 per cent over the past three days.

- The Canadian Press


10:20 a.m. EDT

Newfoundland and Labrador confirms schools not reopening

Schools in Newfoundland and Labrador will be closed for the rest of the school year, the province’s education minister confirmed today.

Brian Warr says in-school instruction has been cancelled for the year and a plan for September will cover various scenarios depending on the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic at the time.

Warr says parents and students in the province’s English and French school districts are encouraged to continue their studies with teachers through Google Classroom and other online tools.

The department says 2,500 students in the English School District have received devices like laptops and tablets out of 4,000 identified as in need, and more devices are being sourced.

- The Canadian Press


10:15 a.m. EDT

Scheer calls for return of Parliament

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is again calling for a return of Parliament.

The House of Commons stands adjourned until May 25, though has returned several times in a modified form to pass emergency aid legislation.

Committees are also still meeting virtually, and a special one dealing solely with response to the COVID-19 pandemic meets twice a week virtually and once in person.

But Scheer says as restrictions begin to lift across the country and a slow economic recovery begins, it is even more important to be able to keep the Liberal government accountable for the billions in aid they’ve spent.

- The Canadian Press


9:20 a.m. EDT

Yukon to announce reopening plan

Yukon Premier Sandy Silver is expected to announce what he says will be a comprehensive reopening plan as the territory copes with the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a social media message posted earlier this week Silver says the announcement will come today but he also says his government is not ready to declare the risk has ended in Yukon.

The last case of the new coronavirus was reported in the territory on April 20 and health officials say all 11 cases recorded since the start of the pandemic have now recovered.

Entry into Yukon is still banned to all but residents, non-resident family members, deliveries or anyone transiting the territory to a neighbouring jurisdiction, but those people must stay on prescribed routes and complete their trip within 24 hours.

- The Canadian Press


4 a.m. EDT

Group seeks federal funding as part of a national grief strategy

Concerns about the long-term impact of grief during the pandemic are shared by psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and researchers who have formed the Canadian Grief Alliance, which wants federal funding as part of a national grief strategy. The group was convened recently by the Canadian Virtual Hospice, which provides support through resources such as MyGrief.ca and KidsGrief.ca.

The alliance wants $100 million to expand existing community services over the next three years, including for health-care workers and first responders suffering grief-related trauma, as well as a public awareness campaign on healthy coping strategies. It’s also asking for $10 million for research into a better response to long-term grief.

Health Canada, which received the request, said in a statement that the government’s recent rollout of the Wellness Together Canada portal can be used to help Canadians work through grief over the loss of a loved one.

The department says it’s providing $2 million over two years to allow the Canadian Virtual Hospital to expand its existing web-based resources to meet the needs of underserved communities including francophones, the LGBTQ2 community and families caring for a dying child.

Shelly Core, executive director of Canadian Virtual Hospice, said she is in discussions with Health Canada to include the group’s two online services — MyGrief.ca and KidsGrief.ca — in the federal portal.

She said funding for the modules will end next year and they are unrelated to the huge need stemming from the pandemic and do not meet the needs of people who are desperate for the human connection with a counsellor or grief therapist.

- The Canadian Press


A worker pushes a trolley of flowers at Sheridan Nurseries on the first day that garden centres re-opened in Ontario in Toronto, May 8, 2020.

CHRIS HELGREN/Reuters

4 a.m. EDT

From doughnuts to plants, queues forming for non-essential items

Long lines of people waiting to get into big-box and grocery stores were an early phenomenon of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Another type of queue has emerged and it’s not for toilet paper.

Cars lined up for doughnuts and, more recently, for ice cream and burgers at drive-thrus have backed up traffic at various locales in Canada.

James Danckert, a University of Waterloo psychology professor who specializes in boredom, says long lines for non-essential items may be born out of people’s desire to wrest back part of their pre-pandemic lives.

“The pain of lining up is something that you’re willing to undergo because you get the freedom to do the thing you haven’t been able to do for eight weeks,” Danckert said.

“The routines in our daily life before all this happened at least had some variety to them.”

Want to know if there’s a lengthy lineup — human or automobile — before you go to the store? There’s an app for that.

Mike Kolb of Aurora, Ont., whipped up a web-based app after seeing shoppers waiting outside a Costco at 7 a.m. in April.

The crowd-sourced Lineups.live relies on people inputting the length of a line or the amount of time they wait in real time — not waiting until they get home to do it.

“There are a couple hundred people every day ... that are actually entering data,” Kolb said.

Kolb said he’s had 410,000 visits in four weeks. Wait times at big-box, grocery, convenience and liquor stores have been the most sought-after information.

“It went viral across Toronto and then across Canada,” Kolb said. “I’ve put in a few enhancements, but I don’t know how long lineups are going to last.

“If lineups are going to be a thing of the future, then I will upgrade it.”

- The Canadian Press


Residents of Pinecrest Nursing Home who died in its COVID-19 outbreak.

Handout

3:30 a.m. EDT

Bobcaygeon care-home outbreak ends

The COVID-19 outbreak at Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon is officially over.

The long-term care home says none of its residents have had symptoms of the virus in more than two weeks.

The 65-bed facility was hit hard by the novel coronavirus.

Twenty-nine of its residents died of the illness.

- The Canadian Press


2:30 a.m. EDT

Nova Scotia cuts school year short

Nova Scotia’s education minister says the province’s decision to cut the school year short is aimed at alleviating the pressure on stressed-out parents.

Zach Churchill says some parents and guardians have enjoyed the at-home learning program offered by his department — but there’s been plenty of griping as well.

He says a lot of parents have been struggling to juggle work and personal lives while supporting their children as students.

Meanwhile, the minister says the province is working toward opening daycare centres next month, saying their operation is key to getting the province’s economy up and running again.

- The Canadian Press


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