SHUTTING DOWN IN ONTARIO AND QUEBEC
Canada’s two largest provinces are shutting down, in the face of an increasing threat from the coronavirus.
As of midnight tonight, Ontario is closing all non-essential businesses for two weeks, while Quebec has ordered they be closed for three weeks, but both could be extended if necessary.
In Ontario, there is a long list of exceptions.
Operations allowed to remain open include any that provide food, pet food, and household consumer products needed to maintain the safety and sanitation of residences and businesses.
Beer, wine, and liquor outlets will be allowed to stay open, as will gas stations, heating fuel providers, motor vehicle suppliers and repair outlets, hardware stores, and pharmaceutical businesses, including
Restaurants that offer food delivery or takeout services can continue to operate, as can companies involved in heating and cooling.
The transportation and telecommunications industries can also stay in operation, as can those in the agriculture and construction sectors.
Premier Doug Ford says the closures weren’t ordered lightly, but he adds they’re necessary to help slow the spread of the virus.
SCHOOLS LIKELY REMAIN CLOSED IN APRIL
The continued spread of COVID-19 means Ontario schools will not be reopening on April 6th.
Premier Ford says it’s unrealistic to assume that classes will resume then.
The provincial education ministry is looking at ways of keeping the education year going.
It will likely involve taking courses on-line.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says enough is enough and it’s time for Canadians to go home, and stay there.
So far, Canada is reporting almost 21-hundred cases of the coronavirus, with 24 deaths.
In Ontario, the number of infections sits at 489, and increase of 78.
About 20-thousand people have had their test results come back negative, with close to nine-thousand cases in the province still unresolved.
WARNINGS FROM THE WHO
The World Health Organization is warning that the coronavirus pandemic is spreading.
Globally, more than 380-thousand cases are now being reported, with almost 17-thousand deaths.
There are a few positive signs.
Italy, the hardest-hit country, has had a slowdown in the number of new infections and deaths.
China has also begun to lift travel restrictions in Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak.
VIRUS NOT A FACTOR IN LEADERSHIP RACE
The federal Conservatives say they have no plans to delay the June 27th leadership contest.
Former deputy party leader Lisa Raitt, who co-chairs the convention’s organizing committee, says they’re hearing just as many calls to speed things up.
Several candidates in the running to succeed Andrew Scheer have called for a delay in the process, especially tomorrow’s deadline to pay a hefty entrance fee and sign up supporters.