The Ontario government is sticking with a regional approach in rolling out the latest stage of the pandemic reopening plan. Premier Ford says it’s great news that much of the province can move to Stage 3 this Friday. In the regions moving ahead, gyms and movie theatres will be allowed to reopen, as well as dining inside restaurants and bars. Limits on gatherings will increase to 50 people indoors and 100 people outside. The Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, along with Niagara and the Windsor-Essex regions are being held back from moving to Stage 3. The government says those areas will remain at the stricter Stage 2 of reopening until further notice but that will be reevaluated every week.
What Won’t Open in Stage 3:
In case you’re wondering what cannot open in Stage 3, the government says amusement parks and water parks will remain closed. Buffet-style food services, dancing at restaurants and bars, overnight camps for children, prolonged or deliberate contact sports, saunas, steam rooms, bath houses and oxygen bars and table games at casinos and gaming establishments will also remain off limits.
Here is Premier Ford’s announcement from yesterday:
Ontario had 116 new COVID19 cases yesterday, along with three more deaths. The number of active cases dropped again after 129 more cases were marked as resolved. Omnce again, the number of people in hospital, in intensive care and on ventilators all decreased. Health Minister Christine Elliott said 29 of the province’s 34 public health units reported five or fewer cases.
Here is yesterday’s Provincial Healthcare Update:
Wage Subsidy Extended:
Prime Minister Trudeau says the federal government will further extend its wage-subsidy program through to December. Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, welcomes the news. But he adds that companies are still waiting for details about eligibility rules. As of July 6th, the wage subsidy had paid out $18.01-billion-dollars to 252,370 companies in payroll help. That is actually below original expectations for the program.
Canadians Split on COVID19 Spending:
The latest poll by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies has found that Canadians are split on whether the federal government should continue its numerous, costly COVID19 programs. Seventy-eight per cent of respondents say they are worried about the growing projected deficit, with 60 per cent suggesting that the way out of the hole is to cut government spending. Yesterday, the Liberal government announced that one of the biggest aid programs — a federal wage subsidy — would be extended until the end of this year.
On July 20th, Canadian families will see an increase in their Canada Child Benefit. This increase will put more money in the pockets of families with children, and continue to help them as we get through COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/ucHIYRANDv
— Bill Blair (@BillBlair) July 13, 2020
Trudeau Speaks with Trump:
Yesterday the Prime Minister had a phone call with President Trump. The two discussed the new NAFTA, tariffs on Canadian aluminum and the border. As of right now, the border is only closed until next Tuesday. Trudeau would not say if the current order barring all but essential travel will be extended beyond that. An announcement is expected this week.
This morning, I spoke on the phone with @POTUS Trump. We focused on the new NAFTA, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the ongoing situation in Hong Kong. We also discussed the Black Lives Matter movement and the need to end systemic racism. More on our call: https://t.co/hjOtnjNbvm pic.twitter.com/3ddXndf6wr
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) July 13, 2020
A union representing health-care workers plans to announce what it calls a “political action” in response to the province potentially extending its emergency powers. The Ontario Council of Hospital Unions says it will make the announcement at Hamilton General Hospital today. The government introduced a bill last week that would allow it to keep some emergency measures in place in the months ahead. Health-care workers say the orders suspend their collective bargaining agreement, meaning staff may have shifts changed, be moved from site to site, or have vacation requests denied.
Drive In T.O. is Coming:
Toronto is launching a drive-in entertainment program as the city extends its ban on outdoor festivals and large gatherings until September 30th. Announced yesterday, the “Drive In T.O.” program will provide movie screenings, concerts and other festivities at no cost to attendees. To facilitate the screenings, the city will be working in collaboration with a number of Toronto’s leading film curators, including Hot Docs and the Toronto Film Festival. The events will take place at four locations throughout the city, including Ontario Place and Downsview Park. Mayor John Tory says the program will help fill the gaps between revamped, digital-only events such as the Nuit Blanche arts festival, and the outright cancellation of major street festivals such as Caribana.
— John Tory (@JohnTory) July 13, 2020
A British study suggests people who contract COVID19 do develop antibodies — but they might only last for a couple of months. That means they could be infected again. Doctors say it’s important for people to realize that anyone who has been infected still needs to take precautions. The study also shows that asymptomatic people may have even less immunity.
Pandemic Inflation Numbers:
Statistics Canada says Canadians’ buying patterns during the pandemic are making for changes in the way we experience the inflation rate. The agency previously reported that year-over-year inflation declined by 0.2 per cent in April, then took a further drop of 0.4 per cent in May as lockdowns put a damper on consumer spending. But a look under the headline figures showed consumers were spending more on items that don’t weigh as much in the consumer price index, which tracks inflation. And they were spending less on things that weigh more in the calculation, such as gasoline.
Auston Matthews Tested Positive for COVID19:
Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews says he tested positive for COVID19 last month but has completed his quarantine. Matthews confirmed the positive test as the Maple Leafs opened their training camp yesterday. He says he was mostly asymptomatic and the biggest impact of the virus for him was his inability to train on the ice. The Toronto Sun first reported on June 19th that Matthews had contracted the virus while at home in Scottsdale, Arizona, which has seen a spike in cases recently.
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) July 13, 2020
Quebec Mask Law:
Quebec Premier Francois Legault has announced that mask-wearing will be mandatory in all indoor public places starting Saturday. Businesses will be expected to enforce the new rules and are subject to fines of between $40- and $6,000-dollars if their customers are caught violating them. Quebec reported 100 new cases of COVID19 yesterday, as well as one new death.
The number of COVID19 cases in India jumped another 28,000 today — fast approaching the one-million mark. Over four days, the South Asian country saw its case numbers skyrocket by 100,000. The Health Ministry also reported another 553 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total fatalities up to 23,727.
Florida reported its second-highest daily total of new COVID-19 cases yesterday, continuing a trend, as New York reported its first day with no coronavirus deaths since March. The Florida Department of Health said yesterday the new daily total was 12,624, which pushed the state’s running total since the start of the pandemic to 282,435. The single-day figure is the second-highest after the 15,300 reported Sunday– the highest daily tally reported by any state to date. Florida officials also reported an additional 35 deaths yesterday.
Smokers at Higher Risk from COVID19:
Quitting smoking may be the most important thing you can do to protect yourself from COVID-19. A study conducted at the University of California San Francisco’s Benioff Children’s Hospitals attempted to assess the risk coronavirus poses to people between the ages of 18 and 25. Researchers found that “smoking is associated with a higher likelihood of COVID19 progression, including increased illness severity, ICU admission or death.”
Dog Tests Positive for COVID19:
A dog in Texas has tested positive for the coronavirus, becoming the first confirmed animal in the state to be infected with the virus. A private veterinarian decided to test the 2-year-old Fort Worth-area canine for the virus on July 7 as a precautionary measure after its owners were confirmed to have COVID19, according to the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC). “Based on current knowledge, there is no evidence that pets play a significant role in spreading SARS-CoV-2 to people,” State Veterinarian, Dr. Andy Schwartz said. “It’s always important to restrict contact with your pets and other animals, just like you would other people, if you are infected with COVID-19 in order to protect them from infection.”
California Goes Back a Stage:
Yesterday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom rolled back much of the reopening of his state, closing bars and indoor dining statewide and also ordered gyms, churches and hair salons shut down in most places as coronavirus cases keep rising in the nation’s most populated state. On July 1, Newsom ordered many counties to close bars and indoor operations at restaurants, wineries, zoos and family entertainment centers like bowling alleys and miniature golf. Yesterday, he extended that order statewide and closed additional parts of the world’s fifth-largest economy, including indoor malls and offices for noncritical industries.
Waterloo Region / WDG Numbers:
11 new COVID19 cases from the weekend were reported by Waterloo Region Public Health yesterday. There were also 15 cases marked as resolved so the number of active cases continues to drop. Unfortunately, there was another death which raises the local total to 118. In Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, only 2-new cases were announced yesterday for a total of 499. Only 21 are active at the moment.
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot