Doctor Tam Says The Restrictions Won’t Be Lifted Anytime Soon – Full COVID-19 Update

Canada’s chief public health officer Doctor Theresa Tam says the impact of the COVID-19 will be felt for a long time. She’s shutting down any hopes for mass gatherings, non-essential travel, or an end to everyone working from home anytime soon. Tam also says Canada needs to carefully watch the COVID-19 situation in the U-S before allowing any cross-border travel. She says we need to see what happens as Canada eases its own restrictions before allowing foreign travel to resume. Canada surpassed the 5,000 mark yesterday for COVID-19 deaths.

Here is the Federal Minister’s daily news conference from Yesterday:

Ford To Make An Announcement Tomorrow:

Premier Ford says he’ll have good news later this week about reopening more low-risk workplaces, seasonal businesses and essential services. Ford says he’ll be announcing details on the first stage of Ontario’s COVID-19 reopening plan on Thursday. Stage one includes allowing for more people at certain events such as funerals and having hospitals resume some non-urgent surgeries. Retail stores were allowed to reopen this week for curbside pick-up and delivery, while hardware stores and garden centres have been allowed to reopen to in-store customers.

Ontario State of Emergency Extended Again:

Ontario has extended its state of emergency until June 2. A small group of politicians gathered at the provincial legislature yesterday to pass the measure. The government says it needs to keep public health measures in place to continue to fight the spread of COVID-19. Ontario has previously announced that publicly funded schools will be closed until at least May 31st.

Here is Premier Ford’s news conference from yesterday:

More Frontline Workers Want A Pay Increase:

A union representing hospital workers such as maintenance staff and ward clerks says many are excluded from the province’s pandemic pay premium. The Ontario Council of Hospital Unions says those employees work in the same spaces as doctors and nurses where they could be exposed to COVID-19. It’s urging the province to change the program it announced last month to include all hospital workers to address low morale among those who were left out. Health Minister Christine Elliott says she could still expand the program.

New Program Details Today:

Details of a previously announced federal COVID-19 support program are due out today. The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund was announced weeks ago, but beyond its price tag — at almost $1-billion dollars — little else was known. Overall, the fund is expected to commit $675 million dollars to support regional economies, businesses, organizations and communities. While another $287-million dollars will go to support the national network of Community Futures Canada development corporations, specifically targeting small businesses and rural communities across the country.

Here is the Prime Minister’s news conference from yesterday:

Ottawa Infrastructure Spending:

Ottawa is set to direct more than $3-billion dollars toward new infrastructure projects to make facilities more pandemic-resistant and encourage outdoor activities in the age of COVID-19. Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna said yesterday that her department has been doubling its effort to review and approve federal funding for infrastructure projects submitted by provinces and territories. Hundreds of applications have been greenlit in recent weeks, though the specific announcements have yet to be made.

Long Term Care Review:

Premier Ford says his government will review the long term care system once the COVID-19 pandemic is over. But Ford is not committing to hold a public inquiry as NDP leader Andrea Horwath is demanding following numerous deadly outbreaks of COVID-19 at long term care homes. Ford told a limited session of the legislature that the system will be fixed — but collectively by all parties and not just the PC’s. He also says the government will have to look at many of its operations after the pandemic.

University Enrolment May Drop:

More Canadian universities are shifting their focus to online classes in the fall due to the lingering uncertainty over COVID-19. But a survey indicates many post-secondary students are re-thinking their plans to return to school due to the financial impact of the pandemic. The survey suggests 30 per cent might change their plans about enrolling this fall. Of the roughly half of respondents who said they will still be able to afford tuition and living costs, 75 per cent are worried that distance learning will create a poor learning experience.

The CNE is Cancelled:

The Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto has been cancelled for only the second time in its 142-year history. Organizers says they made the decision to protect the health of Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic. The last time the CNE was shut down was during the Second World War.  The Ex 18-day fair attracts more than 1.4-million visitors each year.

Quebec Masks:

Premier Francois Legault is urging Quebecers to wear a mask in public to protect others from COVID-19 as the province looks at gradually re-opening, but he’s not making it mandatory for now. Legault says many types of medical masks have been in short supply and the province doesn’t want to discriminate against those who are unable to obtain one. Montreal’s transit authority announced last week it would distribute 600,000 masks in the coming weeks to transit users, but also declined to make it mandatory.

Fauci Says American Is Not Ready:

As President Trump pushes states to re-open their economies, America’s top infectious disease expert is urging them to meet federal guidelines first. Dr. Anthony Fauci is warning that re-opening the country too soon during the coronavirus pandemic will bring — quote — “needless suffering and death.” Fauci was among the experts who testified before a Senate panel yesterday. He also said he hopes to have a COVID-19 vaccine in advanced trials by late fall or early winter.

Universal Studios Begins to Reopen Tomorrow:

Universal Orlando Resort announced yesterday it will reopen its popular CityWalk entertainment and food complex “on a limited basis” beginning tomorrow.  Both Universal Orlando and Universal Studios in Hollywood have been closed since early March due to the coronavirus pandemic.  CityWalk will be open from 4 to 10 p.m. daily. Visitors will be required to take temperature checks, wear face masks and will be advised to wash their hands often, follow social-distancing guidelines — including six-foot marks on the ground — and to avoid contact with people who are sick. All employees — a k a “Team Members” — will also follow similar guidelines, and the park will adhere to “continuously and thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting all tables, chairs and high-touch surfaces,” Universal said in a statement.

American Retail Struggles:

Moody’s say nine stores, including J.C. Penney, Rite Aid and Petco, might struggle to repay their debt as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to push retailers to the brink.  J. Crew, which employed about 13,000 people before an April furlough program, was the first high-profile retailer to seek bankruptcy protection since the coronavirus.  Neiman Marcus Group the followed suit, filing for bankruptcy protection on Thursday, marking one of the highest-profile collapses yet.   Now Moody’s has named nine stores, including J.C. Penney, Rite Aid and Petco, they say hold the bulk of distressed retail debt.

Disney May Require Masks:

Visitors to Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California may have to wear a mask once the theme parks reopen.  The idea was mooted by Walt Disney CEO Bob Chapek during an interview on Monday.  “I think that the masks for the guests will be something that culturally is, is different. In Asia, as you know, it’s fairly commonplace, even before COVID for folks to walk around in public with masks on. That is not the case in the U.S.,” Chapek said.

Waterloo Region Numbers:

It was more good news yesterday from Waterloo Region Public Health. They only reported 14 new COVID-19 cases. The local total is now 954 but 510 are now resolved. Another death was reported yesterday at Forest Heights Revera, where 46 residents have now passed away. Over 10,000 tests from been done in the Region. Wellington, Dufferin and Guelph Public Health only reported 1 new case yesterday, for a total of 329 with eight deaths.

Contains files from The Canadian Press

Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screesnhot


Posted in COVID19, News
Scott Fox and Kat Callaghan