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Reopening plans and Canadians’ anxiety on leaving home; In The News for May 12

The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, May 12th, 2020

In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what’s on the radar of our editors for the morning of May 12 …

COVID-19 in Canada ….

OTTAWA — Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says Ottawa and Washington are working on plans to deal with an increase in cross-border traffic as states and provinces begin reopening.

There’s currently a Canada-U.S. ban on non-essential travel, which is set to next week.

British Columbia is allowing a partial reopening of its economy starting May 19, right after the Victoria Day long weekend.

The mayor of the provincial capital says the city wants to lend some support by spicing up the downtown core.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said Monday the recipe for a successful restaurant recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic could involve adding outdoor patios, parking lots, sidewalks and even streets to allow for physical distancing.

Vancouver’s council is also preparing to debate the issue today.

Ontario, one of the provinces hardest hit by COVID-19, is expected to extend its state of emergency to June 2, as retail stores were allowed to partly reopen.

The provincial legislature will sit today, while also holding question period again.

Also this …

OTTAWA — As restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 persist, a new survey suggests more than half of Canadians find it stressful to venture out in public.

In a web survey conducted by polling firm Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies, 57 per cent of respondents said leaving their home for a public space caused anxiety.

While the figures were relatively consistent across the country, they reached a high of 64 per cent in Ontario and a low of 48 per cent in Alberta.

In comparison, 64 per cent of American respondents said they found it somewhat or very stressful to go out in public during the pandemic.

The survey was conducted May 8 to 11 among 1,526 Canadians and 1,004 Americans, 18 or older, who were randomly recruited from an online panel.

COVID-19 in the U.S. …

WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump is insisting that his administration has “met the moment” and “prevailed” on coronavirus testing.

The president’s latest assertions come as governors across the country continue to call on the federal government to do more to boost the testing supply to meet the requirements needed to begin “reopening” the nation.

The White House itself has become a potent symbol of the risk facing Americans everywhere by belatedly ordering everyone who enters the West Wing to wear a mask.

That directive comes after two aides tested positive for COVID-19 late last week.

Trump himself continues to appear in public without a mask, as he did during his news conference Monday.

COVID-19 around the world …

ATHENS — Across Europe and beyond, parliaments have had to adapt their operations to stop the new coronavirus spreading through the corridors of power.

Social distancing, online debates, masks, plexiglass, hazard tape — each country’s legislature has adopted its own measures.

A plexiglass barrier has been installed around the speaker’s podium in Greece and Britain’s House of Commons now features hazard tape and red “no sitting” signs.

Italy’s prime minister was heckled for removing his mask to speak.

Lebanon moved its entire parliamentary session into a cavernous theatre, and in Spain, a cleaner disinfecting the speakers’ microphone gained sudden online celebrity status.

COVID-19 in sports …

MANCHESTER, England — Abandoning the English Premier League season prematurely was discussed by clubs as a potential option on Monday even as the government cleared a path to resuming the competition in June if there is no new spike in coronavirus infections.

While spectators will not be allowed into stadiums for some time, the British government embraced the return of professional sports in contrast to rulings by French and Dutch authorities who have banned any events until September.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the House of Commons that restoring some sports “could provide a much-needed boost to national morale” after being shut down as Britain went into lockdown in March.

But the fate of the Premier League is in doubt partly because clubs cannot all agree on the plan, advanced by police, to play only in neutral stadiums. The opposition is led by relegation-threatened clubs who discovered on Monday that their final placings could be determined without playing another game.

“It was the first time we discussed curtailment,” Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said after a conference call with clubs. “It’s still our aim to finish the season but it’s important to discuss all the options with our clubs.”

No conclusions were reached on whether that would involve finalizing the league standings based on a points-per-game formula as the French league did before declaring Paris Saint-Germain champion.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 12, 2020

The Canadian Press

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