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The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Jun 26th, 2020

The latest numbers of confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 6:15 a.m. ET on June 26, 2020:

There are 102,622 confirmed and presumptive cases in Canada.

_ Quebec: 55,079 confirmed (including 5,448 deaths, 23,786 resolved)

_ Ontario: 34,205 confirmed (including 2,641 deaths, 29,528 resolved)

_ Alberta: 7,851 confirmed (including 154 deaths, 7,191 resolved)

_ British Columbia: 2,869 confirmed (including 173 deaths, 2,517 resolved)

_ Nova Scotia: 1,061 confirmed (including 63 deaths, 998 resolved)

_ Saskatchewan: 759 confirmed (including 13 deaths, 648 resolved)

_ Manitoba: 305 confirmed (including 7 deaths, 294 resolved), 11 presumptive

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 261 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 258 resolved)

_ New Brunswick: 165 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 143 resolved)

_ Prince Edward Island: 27 confirmed (including 27 resolved)

_ Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)

_ Yukon: 11 confirmed (including 11 resolved)

_ Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)

_ Nunavut: No confirmed cases

_ Total: 102,622 (11 presumptive, 102,611 confirmed including 8,504 deaths, 65,419 resolved)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 26, 2020.

The Canadian Press

A look at how provinces plan to emerge from COVID-19 shutdown

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Jun 26th, 2020

Provinces and territories have been releasing plans for easing restrictions that were put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Here is what some of the provinces have announced so far:

Newfoundland and Labrador

The province entered “Alert Level 3” on June 8 in its five stage reopening plan. It means groups of up to 20 people are now permitted, as long as they observe physical distancing. Up to 19 people are allowed on public transit.

Private health clinics, such as optometrists and dentists, can open, as well as medium-risk businesses such as clothing stores and hair salons.

Eleven government service centres reopened to offer in-person services that can be booked by appointment, including written tests, driver exams and identification photos.

During Level 4, some businesses such as law firms and other professional services were allowed to reopen along with regulated child-care centres, with some restrictions.

Outdoor games of tennis were allowed to resume, though players must bring their own equipment and not share it.

At Level 2, businesses with performance spaces and gyms are to reopen, while Level 1 would represent “the new normal.”

The four Atlantic provinces also announced plans Thursday to ease interprovincial travel restrictions, creating a so-called “bubble” as the region has reported relatively few new COVID-19 infections in recent weeks.

As of July 3, residents of Atlantic Canada will be allowed to travel within the region without having to self-isolate for two weeks when arriving in another province.

Visitors from provinces and territories outside the region will still be required to self-isolate for 14 days and adhere to local entry requirements. However, once the self-isolation period has passed, those visitors will also be allowed to travel within the Atlantic region.

Nova Scotia

Provincial campgrounds reopened June 15 at reduced capacity to ensure a minimum of six metres between individual sites. Private campgrounds had already been given the green light to reopen, but only at 50 per cent capacity. They must also ensure public health protocols are followed, including adequate distancing between campsites.

Licensed child-care centres and family daycare homes also reopened across Nova Scotia on June 15.

On May 29, Premier Stephen McNeil announced a new gathering limit of 10 people, doubling the limit of five that was imposed in late March. The limit is the same indoors and outdoors, with exceptions for outdoor weddings and funeral services which can have 15 people.

Nova Scotia has allowed summer day camps for children to open as long as they have a plan to follow public health measures.

Most businesses ordered shut in late March were allowed to reopen on June 5. The list of businesses includes bars and restaurant dining rooms, hair salons, barber shops, gyms and yoga studios, among others.

Some health providers were also able to reopen, including dentistry, optometry, chiropractic and physiotherapy offices.

McNeil earlier said there would be no return to school this year.

Prince Edward Island

The province moved into the third phase of its reopening plan June 1, which allows such things as in-house dining at restaurants, small groups to participate in recreational and some sporting activities and libraries to reopen. Phase three also allows gatherings of up to 15 people indoors and 20 people outdoors and the reopening of child-care centres.

As well, family and friends can visit residents at long-term care homes. The visits require an appointment and must take place outdoors.

Prince Edward Island Premier Dennis King said people wanting to travel to seasonal residences could apply, and would be put through a risk assessment before approval. Seasonal residents were also to be tested for COVID-19 before completing two weeks in self-isolation after arriving in the province.

Under Phase 2, non-contact outdoor recreational activities were permitted, and retail businesses could reopen with physical distancing and select health-service providers.

Priority non-urgent surgeries resumed on May 1.

The P.E.I legislature resumed May 26.

New Brunswick

New Brunswick moved to the yellow phase of its COVID-19 recovery plan on May 22, allowing barbers and hair stylists to reopen as well as churches and fitness facilities. Dental care, massage, chiropractors and other “close contact” businesses and services could also reopen.

But the Campbellton region, which extends from Whites Brook to the Belledune, had to take a step backwards to the “orange” level on May 27. Residents were told to once again avoid contacts outside their two-household bubble. Non-regulated health professionals and personal service businesses that opened May 22 also had to close again. And people should only be travelling in and out of Zone 5 for essential reasons.

Further restrictions were lifted on June 5. Outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people were allowed, as well as indoor religious services of up to 50 people, low-contact team sports and the opening of a long list of facilities including swimming pools, gyms, rinks, water parks, and yoga and dance studios.

Under New Brunswick’s latest recovery rules, Canadian residents can now visit family members or properties they own in the province, provided they self-isolate for 14 days — or the duration of their visit if it is less than two weeks.

As well, New Brunswick residents no longer need to self-isolate when returning from work in another Canadian province or territory.

All organized sports will resume with appropriate physical distancing and sanitizing. Overnight camps will reopen and indoor visits will resume at long-term care facilities for one visitor at a time, or two if one of the visitors needs help.

The cap on the number of people who can gather in controlled venues — including churches, swimming pools and rinks — has been lifted, but crowd numbers will be limited by the ability to maintain physical distancing.

Masks in any building open to the general public are required except for children under the age of two, children in daycare and people who cannot wear face coverings for medical reasons.

Retail businesses, offices, restaurants, libraries, museums and seasonal campgrounds were earlier allowed to reopen providing they had clear plans for meeting public health guidelines.

The final phase, which officials have said will probably come only after a vaccine is available, is to include large gatherings.

Quebec

Quebec reopened several sectors and relaxed the rules for indoor gatherings Monday, particularly impacting the Montreal area.

Restaurants can reopen in the greater Montreal and Joliette areas while indoor gatherings of up to 10 people from three households are now permitted in these regions, like elsewhere in Quebec.

Gyms, arenas, cinemas, concert venues and places of worship may reopen across the province with a maximum capacity of 50 people for indoor gatherings.

Day camps across the province reopened Monday, with physical distancing. Sleep-away summer camps won’t be allowed to reopen until next year.

Residents of long term care homes that don’t have active COVID-19 cases were earlier allowed to receive visitors inside, meet people outdoors and participate in group activities.

They were also allowed to leave the facilities unaccompanied and remain out for more than 24 hours. Beginning Friday, volunteers and hairdressers will also be allowed inside the facilities.

On May 25, some retail businesses reopened in the greater Montreal area, while retail stores outside Montreal reopened on May 11.

Parks and pools have also been allowed to reopen across the province with certain restrictions.

Sports teams resumed outdoor practices on June 8, and matches can resume at the end of the month. That includes baseball, soccer and any other sports that can be played outdoors.

Quebec’s construction and manufacturing industries have resumed operations with limits on the number of employees who can work per shift. Elementary schools and daycares outside Montreal reopened on May 11, but high schools, junior colleges and universities will stay closed until September.

Elementary schools in the greater Montreal area are to remain closed until late August.

Courthouses across the province were permitted to reopen on June 1, with limited seating capacity and Plexiglas barriers protecting clerks and judges.

Camping is now allowed outside the Montreal and Joliette regions, as are cottage rentals.

Checkpoints set up to slow the spread of COVID-19 came down on May 18 in various parts of Quebec, including between Gatineau and Ottawa.

Ontario

Ontario’s two most heavily populated regions saw more businesses open their doors Wednesday as Toronto and Peel moved into the next stage of the province’s COVID-19 recovery plan.

The two regions officially entered Stage 2 of the pandemic reopening framework, joining nearly all the rest of the province that began ramping up activities on June 19.

Windsor-Essex remains the only region not cleared to move to the next phase, due to stubbornly high COVID-19 case numbers on farms in the region.

Businesses given the green light to resume operations in Toronto and Peel include hair stylists, pools and tour guide services.

Restaurants are also allowed to reopen their patios for dine-in service, though no one is yet allowed to be served indoors.

Meanwhile, the limit on social gatherings increased from five to 10 provincewide. Restrictions on wedding and funeral ceremonies across the province were also eased. The number of people allowed to attend an indoor ceremony is restricted to 30 per cent capacity of the venue, while outdoor events are limited to 50 people. However, the number of people allowed to attend all wedding and funeral receptions remains at 10.

Ontarians can resume visiting loved ones in long-term care homes, as long as they test negative for COVID-19.

All construction has resumed, with limits also lifted on maintenance, repair and property management services, such as cleaning, painting and pool maintenance.

Golf courses can reopen though clubhouses can only open for washrooms and take-out food. Marinas, boat clubs and public boat launches can also open, as can private parks and campgrounds for trailers and RVs whose owners have a full season contract, and businesses that board animals.

Short-term rentals including lodges, cabins, cottages, homes and condominiums were allowed to resume operations on June 5.

The Ontario government says students will likely return to school in September with a mix of in-class and remote learning, though boards will develop various scenarios, depending on how COVID-19 is spreading at that point. Premier Doug Ford said there won’t be a one-size-fits-all approach in schools, but parents provincewide will have the option of sending their children back to class or keeping them learning remotely.

Ontario schools are to remain closed for the rest of the current school year.

This summer’s Honda Indy Toronto has been cancelled.

Manitoba

Several more restrictions were eased in Manitoba on Sunday.

Restaurants and bars no longer have to operate at half capacity, however tables will have to be two metres apart or have a physical barrier in between them. Non-smoking bingo halls and video lottery terminal lounges can also reopen at 50 per cent capacity.

Child care centres and retail stores can return to normal capacity, and people arriving in Manitoba from the other western provinces, northern territories and northwestern Ontario no longer have to self-isolate for 14 days.

Larger public gatherings are also allowed.

Instead of a cap of 25 people indoors and 50 outdoors, people can fill up to 30 per cent of the capacity of any venue as long as they can be split into groups of 50 indoors or 100 outdoors. Each group must be able to enter and exit separately.

On June 1, the province eased a ban on people visiting loved ones in personal care homes. Homes can now offer outdoor visits with a maximum of two guests per resident. Visitors will be screened upon arrival and must practice physical distancing.

Amateur sports and recreation programs, as well as bowling alleys, have been allowed to resume operations.

Elementary and high schools will not reopen this school year.

Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan moved into the next phase of its reopening strategy Monday.

Under Phase 4.1 camping in national parks can resume, but by reservation only.

Youth camps can reopen, but for day use only, and with guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19, including the constant disinfection of play structures and monitoring of children for coronavirus symptoms.

Outdoor sports like soccer, softball and flag football can resume, though full-contact sports remain prohibited, as does competitive play, tournaments and inter-provincial travel for games.

Shared equipment must be disinfected frequently, while congratulatory gestures, such as high fives and handshakes, are not permitted.

Saskatchewan’s outdoor swimming pools and spray parks can reopen with physical distancing, maximum capacity, and stringent cleaning rules in effect.

Though they can now do so, some municipalities, including Regina and Saskatoon, have said they won’t be reopening their outdoor pools right away.

The province is also doubling the allowable size of indoor public and private gatherings to 30 people where space allows for two metres between participants

The third phase of Saskatchewan’s reopening plan started June 8 with the province lifting a ban on non-essential travel in the north.

More businesses were also allowed to reopen, including places of worship and personal care services such as nail salons, tattoo parlours and gyms.

Up to 150 people or one-third the capacity of a building, whichever is less, can attend church services, including weddings and funerals.

Outdoor graduations can be held with a maximum 30 graduates per class and an overall attendance of 150 people. The previous limit was 15 people indoors and 30 people outdoors.

Restaurants and bars can open at half capacity, with physical distancing between tables, and child-care centres can open their doors to a maximum of 15 kids.

The second part of Phase 4 is expected to include reopening guidelines for indoor pools, rinks, libraries, museums, galleries, movie theatres, casinos and bingo halls. A date for Phase 4.2 has yet to be announced.

In Phase 5, the province will consider lifting restrictions on the size of public gatherings.

The Saskatchewan government says students will return to regular classes in September.

Alberta

In Alberta, everything from gyms and arenas to spas, movie theatres, libraries, pools and sports activities got the green light to reopen on June 12.

More people were also allowed to book campsites and sit in restaurants at the same time.

Fifty people can now gather indoors and up to 100 can congregate outside.

Among the other activities allowed to go ahead are casinos and bingo halls, community halls, instrumental concerts, massage, acupuncture and reflexology, artificial tanning and summer schools.

Major festivals and sporting events remain banned, as do nightclubs and amusement parks. Vocal concerts are not being allowed, given that singing carries a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Alberta aims to have students back in classrooms this September though Education Minister Adriana LaGrange says a final decision will be made by Aug. 1.

British Columbia

British Columbia allowed hotels, motels, spas, resorts, hostels and RV parks to resume operating on Wednesday.

Premier John Horgan said the province has been successful at flattening the curve on COVID-19, which means it can ease more health restrictions and gradually move into the third phase of its reopening plan.

He said the province is able to open more industries, institutions and recreation areas, but gatherings of people must remain at 50 people or less.

The provincial government allowed a partial reopening of the B.C. economy starting May 19.

The reopenings are contingent on organizations and businesses having plans that follow provincial guidelines to control the spread of COVID-19.

Parents in B.C. were given the choice of allowing their children to return to class on a part-time basis starting June 1. The government said its goal is for the return of full-time classes in September, if it’s safe.

Under the part-time plan, for kindergarten to Grade 5, most students will go to school half time, while grades 6 to 12 will go about one day a week.

Conventions, large concerts, international tourism and professional sports with a live audience will not be allowed to resume until either a vaccine is widely available, community immunity has been reached, or effective treatment can be provided for the disease.

Nunavut

Although Nunavut still has no confirmed cases of COVID-19, the territory did implement a wide range of public health measures to keep residents safe.

Some have since been relaxed.

Gyms and pools are available for solo workouts and lap swims.

Dental, physiotherapy, massage and chiropractic clinics, as well as offices and stores can open with appropriate safety measures.

Individuals may visit galleries, museums and libraries, and daycares are open.

Outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people are permitted. Territorial parks and municipal playgrounds may reopen.

Northwest Territories

The Northwest Territories announced on May 12 a three-phase reopening plan.

The plan includes more gatherings and the possible reopening of some schools and businesses. However, the territory’s borders remain closed indefinitely to non-residents and non-essential workers.

There are several requirements that must be met before any measures are relaxed: there must be no evidence of community spread; travel entry points in the territory are strong and secure; risks are reduced from workers coming into the territory; and expanded community testing is available.

Yukon

New guidelines have been released for long-term care facilities that will allow for visits with one designated person at a pre-set location outdoors.

The territory also said bars with an approved health and safety plan could reopen at half capacity under certain other restrictions starting June 19.

Travel restrictions will be lifted between Yukon and B.C. after July 1 under the second phase of the territory’s pandemic restart plan. After that date, travellers between the province and territory will no longer be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Residents of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut will be also allowed to enter Yukon without quarantining, as long as they travel directly from one of the territories or through B.C.

Territorial parks and campgrounds have also reopened.

Two households of up to 10 people in total are currently able to interact with each other as part of a “household bubble.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 24, 2020

The Canadian Press

A look at how provinces plan to emerge from COVID-19 shutdown

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Jun 25th, 2020

Provinces and territories have been releasing plans for easing restrictions that were put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Here is what some of the provinces have announced so far:

Newfoundland and Labrador

The province entered “Alert Level 3” on June 8 in its five stage reopening plan. It means groups of up to 20 people are now permitted, as long as they observe physical distancing. Up to 19 people are allowed on public transit.

Private health clinics, such as optometrists and dentists, can open, as well as medium-risk businesses such as clothing stores and hair salons.

Travel within the province is also permitted, including to second homes, parks and campgrounds. And 11 government service centres will reopen to offer in-person services that can be booked by appointment, including written tests, driver exams and identification photos.

During Level 4 some businesses such as law firms and other professional services were allowed to reopen along with regulated child-care centres, with some restrictions.

Outdoor games of tennis were allowed to resume, though players must bring their own equipment and not share it.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said the province could move to the next alert level by as soon as today (June 22nd).

At Level 2, businesses with performance spaces and gyms are to reopen, while Level 1 would represent “the new normal.”

Nova Scotia

Provincial campgrounds reopened June 15 at reduced capacity to ensure a minimum of six metres between individual sites. Private campgrounds had already been given the green light to reopen, but only at 50 per cent capacity. They must also ensure public health protocols are followed, including adequate distancing between campsites.

Licensed child-care centres and family daycare homes also reopened across Nova Scotia on June 15.

On May 29, Premier Stephen McNeil announced a new gathering limit of 10 people, doubling the limit of five that was imposed in late March. The limit is the same indoors and outdoors, with exceptions for outdoor weddings and funeral services which can have 15 people.

Nova Scotia has allowed summer day camps for children to open as long as they have a plan to follow public health measures.

Most businesses ordered shut in late March were allowed to reopen on June 5. The list of businesses includes bars and restaurant dining rooms, hair salons, barber shops, gyms and yoga studios, among others.

Some health providers were also able to reopen, including dentistry, optometry, chiropractic and physiotherapy offices.

McNeil earlier said there would be no return to school this year.

Prince Edward Island

The province moved into the third phase of its reopening plan June 1, which allows such things as in-house dining at restaurants, small groups to participate in recreational and some sporting activities and libraries to reopen. Phase three also allows gatherings of up to 15 people indoors and 20 people outdoors and the reopening of child-care centres.

As well, family and friends can visit residents at long-term care homes. The visits require an appointment and must take place outdoors.

Prince Edward Island Premier Dennis King said people wanting to travel to seasonal residences could apply, and would be put through a risk assessment before approval. Seasonal residents were also to be tested for COVID-19 before completing two weeks in self-isolation after arriving in the province.

Under Phase 2, non-contact outdoor recreational activities were permitted, and retail businesses could reopen with physical distancing and select health-service providers.

Priority non-urgent surgeries resumed on May 1.

The P.E.I legislature resumed May 26.

New Brunswick

New Brunswick moved to the yellow phase of its COVID-19 recovery plan on May 22, allowing barbers and hair stylists to reopen as well as churches and fitness facilities. Dental care, massage, chiropractors and other “close contact” businesses and services could also reopen.

But the Campbellton region, which extends from Whites Brook to the Belledune, had to take a step backwards to the “orange” level on May 27. Residents were told to once again avoid contacts outside their two-household bubble. Non-regulated health professionals and personal service businesses that opened May 22 also had to close again. And people should only be travelling in and out of Zone 5 for essential reasons.

Further restrictions were lifted on June 5. Outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people were allowed, as well as indoor religious services of up to 50 people, low-contact team sports and the opening of a long list of facilities including swimming pools, gyms, rinks, water parks, and yoga and dance studios.

Under New Brunswick’s latest recovery rules, Canadian residents can now visit family members or properties they own in the province, provided they self-isolate for 14 days — or the duration of their visit if it is less than two weeks.

As well, New Brunswick residents no longer need to self-isolate when returning from work in another Canadian province or territory.

All organized sports will resume with appropriate physical distancing and sanitizing. Overnight camps will reopen and indoor visits will resume at long-term care facilities for one visitor at a time, or two if one of the visitors needs help.

The cap on the number of people who can gather in controlled venues — including churches, swimming pools and rinks — has been lifted, but crowd numbers will be limited by the ability to maintain physical distancing.

Masks in any building open to the general public are required except for children under the age of two, children in daycare and people who cannot wear face coverings for medical reasons.

Retail businesses, offices, restaurants, libraries, museums and seasonal campgrounds were earlier allowed to reopen providing they had clear plans for meeting public health guidelines.

The final phase, which officials have said will probably come only after a vaccine is available, is to include large gatherings.

Quebec

Quebec reopened several sectors and relaxed the rules for indoor gatherings Monday, particularly impacting the Montreal area.

Restaurants can reopen in the greater Montreal and Joliette areas while indoor gatherings of up to 10 people from three households are now permitted in these regions, like elsewhere in Quebec.

Gyms, arenas, cinemas, concert venues and places of worship may reopen across the province with a maximum capacity of 50 people for indoor gatherings.

Day camps across the province reopened Monday, with physical distancing. Sleep-away summer camps won’t be allowed to reopen until next year.

Residents of long term care homes that don’t have active COVID-19 cases were earlier allowed to receive visitors inside, meet people outdoors and participate in group activities.

They were also allowed to leave the facilities unaccompanied and remain out for more than 24 hours. Beginning Friday, volunteers and hairdressers will also be allowed inside the facilities.

On May 25, some retail businesses reopened in the greater Montreal area, while retail stores outside Montreal reopened on May 11.

Parks and pools have also been allowed to reopen across the province with certain restrictions.

Sports teams resumed outdoor practices on June 8, and matches can resume at the end of the month. That includes baseball, soccer and any other sports that can be played outdoors.

Quebec’s construction and manufacturing industries have resumed operations with limits on the number of employees who can work per shift. Elementary schools and daycares outside Montreal reopened on May 11, but high schools, junior colleges and universities will stay closed until September.

Elementary schools in the greater Montreal area are to remain closed until late August.

Courthouses across the province were permitted to reopen on June 1, with limited seating capacity and Plexiglas barriers protecting clerks and judges.

Camping is now allowed outside the Montreal and Joliette regions, as are cottage rentals.

Checkpoints set up to slow the spread of COVID-19 came down on May 18 in various parts of Quebec, including between Gatineau and Ottawa.

Ontario

Ontario’s two most heavily populated regions will see more businesses open their doors today as Toronto and Peel move into the next stage of the province’s COVID-19 recovery plan.

The two regions officially enter Stage 2 of the pandemic reopening framework, joining nearly all the rest of the province that began ramping up activities on June 19.

Windsor-Essex remains the only region not cleared to move to the next phase, due to stubbornly high COVID-19 case numbers on farms in the region.

Businesses given the green light to resume operations in Toronto and Peel today include hair stylists, pools and tour guide services.

Restaurants are also allowed to reopen their patios for dine-in service, though no one is yet allowed to be served indoors.

Meanwhile, the limit on social gatherings increased from five to 10 provincewide. Restrictions on wedding and funeral ceremonies across the province were also eased. The number of people allowed to attend an indoor ceremony is restricted to 30 per cent capacity of the venue, while outdoor events are limited to 50 people. However, the number of people allowed to attend all wedding and funeral receptions remains at 10.

Ontarians can resume visiting loved ones in long-term care homes, as long as they test negative for COVID-19.

All construction has resumed, with limits also lifted on maintenance, repair and property management services, such as cleaning, painting and pool maintenance.

Golf courses can reopen though clubhouses can only open for washrooms and take-out food. Marinas, boat clubs and public boat launches can also open, as can private parks and campgrounds for trailers and RVs whose owners have a full season contract, and businesses that board animals.

Short-term rentals including lodges, cabins, cottages, homes and condominiums were allowed to resume operations on June 5.

The Ontario government says students will likely return to school in September with a mix of in-class and remote learning, though boards will develop various scenarios, depending on how COVID-19 is spreading at that point. Premier Doug Ford said there won’t be a one-size-fits-all approach in schools, but parents provincewide will have the option of sending their children back to class or keeping them learning remotely.

Ontario schools are to remain closed for the rest of the current school year.

This summer’s Honda Indy Toronto has been cancelled.

Manitoba

Several more restrictions were eased in Manitoba on Sunday.

Restaurants and bars no longer have to operate at half capacity, however tables will have to be two metres apart or have a physical barrier in between them. Non-smoking bingo halls and video lottery terminal lounges can also reopen at 50 per cent capacity.

Child care centres and retail stores can return to normal capacity, and people arriving in Manitoba from the other western provinces, northern territories and northwestern Ontario no longer have to self-isolate for 14 days.

Larger public gatherings are also allowed.

Instead of a cap of 25 people indoors and 50 outdoors, people can fill up to 30 per cent of the capacity of any venue as long as they can be split into groups of 50 indoors or 100 outdoors. Each group must be able to enter and exit separately.

On June 1, the province eased a ban on people visiting loved ones in personal care homes. Homes can now offer outdoor visits with a maximum of two guests per resident. Visitors will be screened upon arrival and must practice physical distancing.

Amateur sports and recreation programs, as well as bowling alleys, have been allowed to resume operations.

Elementary and high schools will not reopen this school year.

Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan moved into the next phase of its reopening strategy Monday.

Under Phase 4.1 camping in national parks can resume, but by reservation only.

Youth camps can reopen, but for day use only, and with guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19, including the constant disinfection of play structures and monitoring of children for coronavirus symptoms.

Outdoor sports like soccer, softball and flag football can resume, though full-contact sports remain prohibited, as does competitive play, tournaments and inter-provincial travel for games.

Shared equipment must be disinfected frequently, while congratulatory gestures, such as high fives and handshakes, are not permitted.

Saskatchewan’s outdoor swimming pools and spray parks can reopen with physical distancing, maximum capacity, and stringent cleaning rules in effect.

Though they can now do so, some municipalities, including Regina and Saskatoon, have said they won’t be reopening their outdoor pools right away.

The province is also doubling the allowable size of indoor public and private gatherings to 30 people where space allows for two metres between participants

The third phase of Saskatchewan’s reopening plan started June 8 with the province lifting a ban on non-essential travel in the north.

More businesses were also allowed to reopen, including places of worship and personal care services such as nail salons, tattoo parlours and gyms.

Up to 150 people or one-third the capacity of a building, whichever is less, can attend church services, including weddings and funerals.

Outdoor graduations can be held with a maximum 30 graduates per class and an overall attendance of 150 people. The previous limit was 15 people indoors and 30 people outdoors.

Restaurants and bars can open at half capacity, with physical distancing between tables, and child-care centres can open their doors to a maximum of 15 kids.

The second part of Phase 4 is expected to include reopening guidelines for indoor pools, rinks, libraries, museums, galleries, movie theatres, casinos and bingo halls. A date for Phase 4.2 has yet to be announced.

In Phase 5, the province will consider lifting restrictions on the size of public gatherings.

The Saskatchewan government says students will return to regular classes in September.

Alberta

In Alberta, everything from gyms and arenas to spas, movie theatres, libraries, pools and sports activities got the green light to reopen on June 12.

More people were also allowed to book campsites and sit in restaurants at the same time.

Fifty people can now gather indoors and up to 100 can congregate outside.

Among the other activities allowed to go ahead are casinos and bingo halls, community halls, instrumental concerts, massage, acupuncture and reflexology, artificial tanning and summer schools.

Major festivals and sporting events remain banned, as do nightclubs and amusement parks. Vocal concerts are not being allowed, given that singing carries a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Alberta aims to have students back in classrooms this September though Education Minister Adriana LaGrange says a final decision will be made by Aug. 1.

British Columbia

British Columbia allowed hotels, motels, spas, resorts, hostels and RV parks to resume operating on Wednesday.

Premier John Horgan said the province has been successful at flattening the curve on COVID-19, which means it can ease more health restrictions and gradually move into the third phase of its reopening plan.

He said the province is able to open more industries, institutions and recreation areas, but gatherings of people must remain at 50 people or less.

The provincial government allowed a partial reopening of the B.C. economy starting May 19.

The reopenings are contingent on organizations and businesses having plans that follow provincial guidelines to control the spread of COVID-19.

Parents in B.C. were given the choice of allowing their children to return to class on a part-time basis starting June 1. The government said its goal is for the return of full-time classes in September, if it’s safe.

Under the part-time plan, for kindergarten to Grade 5, most students will go to school half time, while grades 6 to 12 will go about one day a week.

Conventions, large concerts, international tourism and professional sports with a live audience will not be allowed to resume until either a vaccine is widely available, community immunity has been reached, or effective treatment can be provided for the disease.

Nunavut

Although Nunavut still has no confirmed cases of COVID-19, the territory did implement a wide range of public health measures to keep residents safe.

Some have since been relaxed.

Gyms and pools are available for solo workouts and lap swims.

Dental, physiotherapy, massage and chiropractic clinics, as well as offices and stores can open with appropriate safety measures.

Individuals may visit galleries, museums and libraries, and daycares are open.

Outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people are permitted. Territorial parks and municipal playgrounds may reopen.

Northwest Territories

The Northwest Territories announced on May 12 a three-phase reopening plan.

The plan includes more gatherings and the possible reopening of some schools and businesses. However, the territory’s borders remain closed indefinitely to non-residents and non-essential workers.

There are several requirements that must be met before any measures are relaxed: there must be no evidence of community spread; travel entry points in the territory are strong and secure; risks are reduced from workers coming into the territory; and expanded community testing is available.

Yukon

New guidelines have been released for long-term care facilities that will allow for visits with one designated person at a pre-set location outdoors.

The territory also said bars with an approved health and safety plan could reopen at half capacity under certain other restrictions starting June 19.

Travel restrictions will be lifted between Yukon and B.C. after July 1 under the second phase of the territory’s pandemic restart plan. After that date, travellers between the province and territory will no longer be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Residents of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut will be also allowed to enter Yukon without quarantining, as long as they travel directly from one of the territories or through B.C.

Territorial parks and campgrounds have also reopened.

Two households of up to 10 people in total are currently able to interact with each other as part of a “household bubble.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 24, 2020

The Canadian Press

Study finds Canada’s proportion of LTC deaths double the average of other nations

CASSANDRA SZKLARSKI THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Jun 25th, 2020

TORONTO — A new study finds the proportion of Canadian COVID-19 deaths that have occurred in long-term care facilities is about twice the average of rates from other developed nations.

The analysis released today by the Canadian Institute for Health Information provides a damning snapshot of senior care as of May 25, when LTC residents made up 81 per cent of all reported COVID-19 deaths in the country compared to an average of 42 per cent among all countries studied.

The data compares Canada’s record to that of 16 other countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The proportion of LTC deaths ranged from less than 10 per cent in Slovenia and Hungary to 31 per cent in the United States to 66 per cent in Spain.

At 5,324, the reported number of LTC deaths in Canada was near the average but data varied widely among countries: from 28 in Australia to 30,000 in the U.S., with more than 10,000 in France, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Researchers point to limitations that prevent some comparisons — countries vary in COVID-19 testing and reporting practices, and in their definition of long-term care.

In addition, COVID-19 cases are often under-reported and in the case of Italy, data was available from only 52 per cent of the nursing homes operating in the country.

Nevertheless, Tracy Johnson, CIHI’s director of health systems analysis and emerging issues, says the data offers valuable insight into a tragedy many families, caregivers and residents have been trying to illustrate since the pandemic began.

Johnson notes countries that implemented additional LTC precautions at the same time as standard stay-at-home orders had fewer LTC infections and deaths.

That includes Australia, Austria and Slovenia, which ordered broad LTC testing and training, isolation wards to manage clusters, surge staffing, specialized teams and personal protective equipment.

Johnson says the findings suggest such measures could be key to mitigating the impact of a possible second wave.

But for now, she notes several of Canada’s hardest-hit facilities are still grappling with the devastating fallout of existing infections.

Long-awaited details of federal student service grant to be unveiled today

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Jun 25th, 2020

OTTAWA — The federal government is to launch a program today aimed at encouraging students to volunteer in the fight against COVID-19 — more than two months after first announcing it and just in time for those who haven’t been able to find a summer job.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is also expected to announce a substantial increase in funding for a host of other existing programs, like Canada Summer Jobs, aimed at creating thousands of new opportunities for youth.

Back in April, Trudeau announced creation of the Canada Student Service Grant, a way of giving students who can’t find a summer job a chance to earn some money while volunteering in “national service” activities related to fighting the pandemic.

Eligible students are to receive grants of $1,000 to $5,000 to support the costs of post-secondary education in the fall.

The amount of each grant is dependent on the time devoted to volunteer work.

The grant program was part of a multi-pronged, $9-billion investment by the federal government to cushion the economic impact of the pandemic on young people.

“Volunteering can be a fantastic way to build skills, make contacts or just give back,” Trudeau said at the time. “If you’re volunteering instead of working, we’re going to make sure that you have support too.”

Ever since, students and organizations that rely on volunteers have been anxiously awaiting details, worried that the window for their summer activities was rapidly narrowing.

Today’s launch of the “I want to help” online platform will finally provide more information about who’s eligible for the grants, the number of hours needed to qualify for various levels of grant money, how to apply and how applications will be assessed.

It will also include a list of not-for-profit organizations for which volunteer work will be compensated.

Walmart Canada ‘All Lives Matter’ T-shirts draw fire from social media users

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Jun 24th, 2020

Sale of T-shirts on Walmart Canada’s website with the words “All Lives Matter” printed across the front has drawn furor from social media users.

The company is also selling T-shirts with “Blue Lives Matter” and “Irish Lives Matter” printed across them.

In a statement, Walmart Canada says it stands against any form of racism or discrimination and promotes listening, seeking to understand and embracing individual differences.

It says a third-party marketplace has a number of items with variations on the phrase “lives matter,” and it will review those items to ensure compliance with Walmart’s terms and conditions.

But several social media users called out the company, with one Twitter user identified as Farzana Khan asking Walmart to remove the T-shirts, calling them “disgusting.”

Another user, Beth MacDonnell, also called for their removal asking “who approved this?”

The report by The Canadian Press was first published on June 23, 2020.

 

 

The Canadian Press

The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Jun 24th, 2020

The latest numbers of confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 2 a.m. ET on June 24, 2020:

There are 101,963 confirmed and presumptive cases in Canada.

_ Quebec: 54,884 confirmed (including 5,424 deaths, 23,620 resolved)

_ Ontario: 33,853 confirmed (including 2,619 deaths, 29,107 resolved)THE CANADIAN PRESS

_ Alberta: 7,781 confirmed (including 153 deaths, 7,096 resolved)

_ British Columbia: 2,835 confirmed (including 170 deaths, 2,471 resolved)

_ Nova Scotia: 1,061 confirmed (including 63 deaths, 998 resolved)

_ Saskatchewan: 753 confirmed (including 13 deaths, 642 resolved)

_ Manitoba: 303 confirmed (including 7 deaths, 293 resolved), 11 presumptive

_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 261 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 258 resolved)

_ New Brunswick: 165 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 143 resolved)

_ Prince Edward Island: 27 confirmed (including 27 resolved)

_ Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)

_ Yukon: 11 confirmed (including 11 resolved)

_ Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)

_ Nunavut: No confirmed cases

_ Total: 101,963 (11 presumptive, 101,952 confirmed including 8,454 deaths, 64,684 resolved)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 24, 2020.

The Canadian Press

More GTA businesses open up and the Hockey Hall of Fame; In The News for June 24

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Jun 24th, 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 June 24 …

What we are watching in Canada … 

TORONTO — Ontario’s two most heavily populated regions will see more businesses open their doors today as Toronto and Peel move into the next stage of the province’s COVID-19 recovery plan.

The two regions officially enter Stage 2 of the pandemic reopening framework, joining nearly all the rest of the province that began ramping up activities over the past two weeks.

Windsor-Essex remains the only region not cleared to move to the next phase, due to stubbornly high COVID-19 case numbers on farms in the region.

Businesses given the green light to resume operations in Toronto and Peel today include hair stylists, pools and tour guide services.

Restaurants are also allowed to reopen their patios for dine-in service, though no one is yet allowed to be served indoors.

In all cases, the Ontario government says proper physical distancing measures must be maintained to prevent a spike in COVID-19 cases.

Also this …

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be among some 600 prominent politicians, business leaders and journalists featured at one of the world’s largest tech conferences.

The two-day Collision conference begins today and Trudeau is to take part in a question and answer session with a Financial Times editor on Thursday.

The conference — billed as Collision from Home this year — is taking place virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Collision website, more than 32,000 people from 140 countries are expected to join the conference.

Trudeau’s session, which was recorded in advance, focuses on Canada’s response to the pandemic, with particular emphasis on the role of science and innovation in fighting the deadly novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and attempts to find treatments and an eventual vaccine.

Among the other featured speakers are Microsoft president Brad Smith, World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Netflix chief production officer Greg Peters and Canadian author Margaret Atwood.

Trudeau is taking a break today from his daily pandemic briefing outside Rideau Cottage to quietly celebrate St. Jean Baptiste Day, Quebec’s Fete nationale.

ICYMI (In case you missed it) …

Sale of T-shirts on Walmart Canada’s website with the words “All Lives Matter” printed across the front has drawn furor from social media users.

The company is also selling T-shirts with “Blue Lives Matter” and “Irish Lives Matter” printed across them.

In a statement, Walmart Canada says it stands against any form of racism or discrimination and promotes listening, seeking to understand and embracing individual differences.

It says a third-party marketplace has a number of items with variations on the phrase “lives matter,” and it will review those items to ensure compliance with Walmart’s terms and conditions.

But several social media users called out the company, with one Twitter user identified as Farzana Khan asking Walmart to remove the T-shirts, calling them “disgusting.”

Another user, Beth MacDonnell, also called for their removal asking “who approved this?”

What we are watching in the U.S. …

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Several hundred people gathered in Marion Square, in the historic South Carolina city of Charleston, today to watch the removal of a statue of former vice-president and slavery advocate John C. Calhoun.

Just before 1 a.m. local time, workers using cranes began to bring the statue down from its 30-metre monument in downtown Marion Square.

In the wake of protests and unrest, city council members voted Tuesday to remove the statue and place it permanently at “an appropriate site where it will be protected and preserved.”

The city council voted 13-0 Tuesday evening on a resolution to remove the statue.

What we are watching elsewhere in the world …

BEIJING — China appears to have tamed a new outbreak of the coronavirus in Beijing, once again demonstrating its ability to quickly mobilize vast resources by testing nearly 2.5 million people in 11 days.

But elsewhere in the world, cases were surging. India reported a record daily increase of nearly 16,000 new cases. Mexico also set a record with more than 6,200 new cases.

In the U.S., increases over the past few days have jumped to near the level of the outbreak’s previous peak in April. Several states set single-day records, including Arizona, California, Mississippi, Nevada and Texas.

Worldwide, more than 9.2 million people have contracted the virus, including more than 477,000 who have died.

Today in 1880 … 

“O Canada,” with music by Calixa Lavallee and French lyrics by Judge A.B. Routhier, was performed for the first time at the Skaters’ Pavilion in Quebec City.

In sports …

TORONTO — Former Calgary Flames star Jarome Iginla headlines the list of first-time eligible players for selection to the Hockey Hall of Fame today.

The class of 2020 will be unveiled this afternoon after the selection committee meets.

Iginla had 1,300 points in 1,554 career NHL games and helped Canada win gold at the Olympics in 2002 in Salt Lake City and 2010 in Vancouver.

At the latter Winter Games, Iginla made the pass to Sidney Crosby for the golden goal in overtime against the United States.

Other players eligible for the first time include Marian Hossa and Shane Doan.

Fans of the Senators will be anxious to see if longtime Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson gets the nod in his fourth year on the ballot.

Former Canadian women’s team forward Jennifer Botterill and goalie Kim St-Pierre also are eligible this year.

In entertainment …

New seasons of “Transplant” and “Jann” are among the shows bound for CTV as Bell Media navigates COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns and vows to increase representation and diversity in its content.

The company announced its upcoming lineup on Tuesday, including a second season of the hit homegrown medical drama “Transplant,” starring Hamza Haq as a Syrian doctor building a new life in Canada. An air date hasn’t been announced.

And the Canadian comedy “Jann,” from singer-songwriter-actress Jann Arden, will premiere a second season this fall and has been renewed for a third.

New shows on the CTV docket include “Filthy Rich,” starring Kim Cattrall as the wife of a wealthy patriarch, played by Gerald McRaney, whose sudden death reveals his secret life.

There’s also Chuck Lorre’s new comedy “B Positive,” starring Thomas Middleditch and Annaleigh Ashford as an unlikely duo who bond during his search for a kidney donor.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 24, 2020.

The Canadian Press

A long fight to make the Air India bombing a ‘Canadian’ tragedy

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Jun 23rd, 2020

In today’s Big Story podcast, today is the 35th anniversary of the Air India bombing, which killed 329 people, 280 of them Canadian citizens. In the immediate tragedy, the terrorist attack was seen largely as a foreign incident. As recently as 2007, not even half of Canadians considered it a “Canadian” tragedy. Why did the largest mass murder of Canadians in the country’s history remain for so long a story about India and Ireland? And how have things changed in the past decade to reframe it?

GUEST: Chandrima Chakraborty, Professor, Department of English and Cultural Studies, McMaster University

You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple PodcastsGoogle and Spotify

You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

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