Premier Ford says the province is moving into the next stage of its COVID-19 restart plan — allowing retail stores with streetfront entrances to re-open on Tuesday. Some surgeries and diagnostic imaging, all construction and pet grooming can also resume next week while golf courses and marinas will be allowed to open on Saturday — as long as physical distancing rules are followed. Workplaces are also being allowed to gradually re-open but working from home should continue as much as possible. Ford says malls, hair salons and restaurants will remain closed for now while the province watches to see if lifting the restrictions leads to a sudden increase in COVID-19 cases.
We know that Ontarians are eager to get outside this long weekend. We are opening marinas and golf courses for Victoria Day long weekend on Saturday, May 16. Enjoy yourselves but be safe and wash your hands often. pic.twitter.com/i6S2PG53Eh
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) May 14, 2020
Yesterday the province had the lowest growth rate in COVID-19 cases since early March. Only 258 new cases were reported for a total of 21,494. More than 75 per cent of cases are now considered resolved.
Here is Premier Ford’s news conference announcing stage 1 details:
National Parks Reopening:
Prime Minister Trudeau is warning this May long weekend will look very different this year due to the ongoing shutdowns and distancing restrictions. But he reminded Canadians “this isn’t forever,” and promised some good news for the weeks ahead. Trudeau announced yesterday that some national parks and historic sites across the country will re-open June 1st. And in order to protect vulnerable communities, Trudeau says all pleasure boating will be banned in Canada’s Arctic coastal waters, as well as those in northern Quebec and Labrador, also starting June 1st.
I’m pleased to announce that @ParksCanada will begin a limited reopening and partial resumption of services at several National Parks on June 1. They will remain closed to visitors through the May long weekend while we prepare. More: https://t.co/t42vOsjSsN pic.twitter.com/DAQHlKxbhb
— Jonathan Wilkinson (@JonathanWNV) May 14, 2020
Here is Prime Minister Trudeau’s news conference from yesterday:
Ontario Testing The Public:
The province is making COVID-19 tests more readily available to the general population. The Ministry of Health is now recommending that anyone with even a single symptom of the illness be tested. Those symptoms include a fever, a new or worsening cough and a sore throat. But the guidelines say that ultimately, it’s still up to the clinician to use their judgment about whether to grant a test.
Because of our collective efforts, we're making progress in our battle against #COVID19. Today, we released more details of our framework to safely reopen our province. We’re preparing Ontarians with the information they need to reopen for stage 1. https://t.co/NgpLOK4kSY pic.twitter.com/eIZTHfSLZt
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) May 14, 2020
Quebec Cancels School In Montreal:
Quebec Premier Francois Legault says Montreal, the city that is the epicentre of COVID-19 in Canada, is still so fragile that he made the choice to cancel the rest of the school year for elementary students in the area. Legault took some responsibility yesterday for the repeated failures to bring the virus in Montreal under control, especially within the city’s long-term care homes, where the majority of the province’s deaths have occurred. But he said it’s Quebecers as a whole who have let this happen to Montreal, saying — quote — the society has failed.
COVID In Prison:
Correctional Service Canada reports 343 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19. Almost all have occurred in two Quebec institutions and one in British Columbia. Hardest hit has been the Federal Training Centre in Laval, Que., with 148. The Mission Medium Institution in B.C. has had 120 cases of COVID-19. Two inmates have died. At least 88 guards have been infected.
Toronto Quiet Streets:
Toronto Mayor John Tory says the city has started to close off more than 50km of roads to all but local traffic. He says the closures will roll out over the long weekend in a bid to allow physical distancing while also encouraging people to get out and get active. Last week, the city shifted its message from staying home to practising physical distancing when outside. The mayor says vehicle traffic is now at an all-time low due to the stay-at-home rules.
As part of our #ActiveTO plan – to make sure people have space to get outside while respecting physical distancing – we are moving ahead with creating 57 kilometres of Quiet Streets across the city and we will be closing two major roads near popular recreation trails and areas. pic.twitter.com/kmRO3czqRR
— John Tory (@JohnTory) May 14, 2020
Canadian Internet Usage Way Up:
Canadian telecom companies say demand for their services has surged during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rogers Communications told a House of Commons committee yesterday that home internet usage is up more than 50 per cent. Telus says the coronavirus has exposed how important connectivity is to all Canadians. They say they are consistently experiencing four times the network traffic of its busiest day, pre-COVID. Cogeco says that since the beginning of the crisis, there has been 60 per cent greater use of internet service during the day.
Trump Intends To Restock America:
President Trump says he intends to prepare the country for future pandemics by restocking the national stockpile. He says that includes bringing critical manufacturing back to the U.S. from abroad. Trump’s comments came the same day a whistleblower testified that his administration had failed to properly prepare for the COVID-19 current pandemic. He’s trying to convince the public that it’s time for states to begin to reopen, even as the novel coronavirus continues to spread. The waves of layoffs caused by the coronavirus pandemic continue with nearly 36.5 million Americans now thrown out of work in a U.S. economy still paralyzed by business shutdowns. Another 2.98 million laid-off workers applied for unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department said yesterday. It adds to the 33 million who have sought aid in the two months since the coronavirus first forced millions of businesses to close their doors and shrink their workforces.
More than 4.3 million cases of Covid-19 have been recorded worldwide, including at least 297,000 deaths. In the US: Nearly 1.4 million cases have been recorded and the death toll stands at more than 84,000.
Mexico experience its largest one-day rise in COVID-19 cases yesterday. There were more than 2,400 confirmed cases, the first time the country exceeded the two-thousand mark in one day. The increase came just four days before a scheduled partial re-opening of key industries such as mining, construction and automobile assembly.
Waterloo Region Numbers:
Region of Waterloo Public Health reported ten new cases of COVID-19 morning. That’s up from 9 cases on Wednesday. There are now 973 cases in the Region, but 550 are now recovered. There were also 3 new deaths reported yesterday. Two were in long-term care homes. In Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, there were 2 new cases yesterday for a total of 333. Guelph has 124 of the positive cases, Wellington has 55 and Dufferin County has 146 cases.
Waterloo Region Relaxing Restrictions:
Waterloo Region is relaxing some of the COVID-19 restrictions just in time for the long weekend. Effective immediately, access to municipal parks and open spaces is permitted for some recreational purposes. Some examples include playing catch, throwing a Frisbee, kicking a ball and flying a kite, with members of your household. Park visitors can now bring their chairs or blankets for sitting and individual activities including exercises or yoga practice. Everyone is still required to practice 2m physical distancing, limit public gatherings to groups of 5 or less, not part of the same household, wash or use hand sanitizer before eating or drinking, wash hands immediately upon returning home, avoid crowds, and leash dogs at all times.
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: CPAC via YouTube screenshot