If you feel like the government is not telling you everything about the COVID-19 crisis, you not alone. Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies asked more than 1,500 people from coast to coast about specific theories circulated online regarding the virus. While a few who responded believe Bill Gates is responsible, that there’s a link between the pandemic and 5G networks, or that COVID-19 never existed in the first place — at least 37 per cent are convinced that the virus is man-made. 34 per cent think the Chinese government created it. To visit Leger: CLICK HERE (You will be redirected).
Toronto Park Visitors Should Get Tested:
Premier Ford says people who packed into Trinity Bellwoods Park in Toronto on Saturday need to get tested for COVID-19 to ensure they aren’t spreading the virus. Ford says he’s disappointed that people defied physical distancing rules and it hopefully won’t impact their family members.
Here is Premier Ford’s news conference:
The Restrictions On Gathering Won’t Be Lifted Anytime Soon:
Health Minister Christine Elliot says a move to increase the five-person cap on public gatherings has now been put-on-hold, in part due to what happened in Toronto on the weekend. Elliot says the delay is also due to a rise in COVID-19 cases last week that is likely linked to people gathering for Mother’s Day, contrary to official guidelines.
Yesterday Ontario reported more than 400 new COVID-19 cases for a fifth straight day, along with persistently low levels of tests. The 404 new cases brings the total in the province to 25,904 including 2,102 deaths. That was an increase of 29 from Sunday’s death toll. 76% per cent of all cases have been resolved in Ontario but that percentage is declining as the amount of active cases increases. Only 8,200 tests were completed, even though we have capacity for over 21,000 per day.
Get tested if you have symptoms or you’re worried about exposure. Testing is one of our best defences against the spread of #COVID19. To find your local assessment centre, contact your family doctor, Telehealth Ontario, or your local public health unit. https://t.co/ztIJOyRhuA
— Christine Elliott (@celliottability) May 24, 2020
The CERB is Costing Canada Big Money:
A key federal benefit for Canadians out of work, or losing earnings, in the COVID-19 pandemic has paid out more than $40 billion dollars in emergency aid. Federal figures show payments through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit now total $40.33 billion dollars split among 8.21 million applicants. That pushes the program further beyond its $35-billion-dollar budget. However, billions could be clawed back next year when the government taxes the earnings and recoups improperly paid benefits.
Bailout For OLG:
The province is offering a $500-million dollar line of credit to help the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation pay operational costs during the pandemic. The line of credit will also help OLG meet its contractual obligations over the short term as its casino operations remain closed. A spokeswoman for the finance minister says the government is confident OLG will be able to repay the line of credit once emergency orders loosen and casinos re-open.
Commercial Evictions in Ontario:
Five business associations have written an open letter to Premier Ford, asking him to protect small- and medium-sized companies from eviction. The letter points out that many businesses had to close entirely or offer partial service to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and that has made it difficult to pay rent. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Retail Council of Canada all co-signed the letter. So did Restaurants Canada and the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association.
Applications are now open for the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program. So if you’re a property owner, you can now apply for support to help you reduce rent for your small business tenants by 75% for the months of April, May, and June.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) May 25, 2020
COVID-19 Binge Drinking:
A survey of a thousand Canadians has found that 30 per cent of people between the ages of 18 and 39 — and those very worried about personal finances during COVID-19 — are more likely to be binge drinking. Doctor Leslie Buckley, chief of addictions at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, says unemployed people may have some challenges when it comes to alcohol consumption. She says for some, it is like a 7-day weekend, and such a lack of structure can lead to more drinking.
Trudeau Avoids Questions on Why The Liberal Party is Collecting COVID19 Money:
Yesterday Prime Minister Trudeau dodged multiple questions on why his party applied for a federal wage subsidy program for organizations facing economic hardship during COVID-19. The Liberals, Conservatives, New Democrats and Greens have all applied for the program. It sees the government cover up to 75 per cent of a worker’s salary, to a maximum of $847 dollars a week per employee. Trudeau didn’t answer repeated questions about why his party needed to access that support.
Here is the Prime Minister’s news conference from yesterday:
Manitoba Flattened the Curse:
Manitoba health officials are again reporting no new COVID-19 cases. Doctor Brent Roussin, chief public health officer, says it’s encouraging. There have been only three positive test results in the last two weeks. The provincial government is planning to ease more restrictions soon and allow dine-in restaurants, nail salons and other services to reopen.
East Coast Numbers:
Just one long-term care home in Nova Scotia still has active cases of COVID-19. The province says 12 residents and 4 staff at the Northwood facility in Halifax are currently infected with the virus. Health officials confirmed 1 new case of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia yesterday, with no deaths, putting their totals at 1,051 cases and 58 deaths. Both New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador reported no new cases yesterday.
Hertz Rent-A-Car Files for Chapter 11:
Car rental company Hertz has filed for Chapter 11 after failing to reach a standstill agreement with its top lenders. The Wall Street Journal reports that Hertz has roughly $19 billion of debt. That staggering amount is made up of “$4.3 billion in corporate bonds and loans and $14.4 billion in vehicle-backed debt held at special financing subsidiaries.” Hertz began bankruptcy protection proceedings in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware, in an attempt to avoid a forced liquidation of its vehicle fleet after bookings dropped off due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Universal Orlando Preparing to Reopen:
Universal Orlando will reopen June 5, with precautions related to the coronavirus. State and local officials in Florida have approved Universal’s plans. Universal Orlando will be one of the biggest theme parks in the country to reopen. Universal, Walt Disney World and SeaWorld in Florida have been closed since mid-March because of the global pandemic. The reopened Universal will look very different for visitors and employees, according to a presentation made to the local economic recovery task force by company officials.
We're getting ready to re-open!
— Universal Orlando Resort (@UniversalORL) May 22, 2020
Waterloo Region Numbers:
Waterloo Region Public Health again reported 4-new cases of COVID-19 yesterday for a total of 1,082. But, 29 more cases are now resolved, bringing the recovery rate up to 69 per cent and counting. The death toll was raised to 113 after one death was reported yesterday. That death was at Forest Heights Revera long-term care home where 50 residents have now passed away. Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health reported only 3 new cases yesterday.
Crowds Gathered in a Waterloo Park:
In yesterday’s update, Waterloo Region public health mentioned that bylaw officers were called out to Waterloo Park on Sunday due to a crowd of about 30 people. They all got a talking to before the group dispersed. No charges were laid. Kitchener confirmed it didn’t receive any large gathering complaints over the weekend.
Busker Festival is Cancelled:
For the first time since 1989, the Sun Life Financial Waterloo Busker festival is cancelled this year. COVID-19 gets the blame for this cancellation as well. That is a big event for uptown Waterloo every August. It is rescheduled for next year.
Contains files from The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: House of Commons via CPAC YouTube