Top COVID-19 stories and news
- How frontline health workers in Toronto find comfort
- One in two restaurants don’t expect to survive COVID-19
- Toronto to livestream High Park cherry blossoms
- TTC layoffs could have been avoided, advocates say
- This map shows where face masks are needed around the world
Follow the latest Toronto news on coronavirus
3:10 pm Toronto to identify pedestrian traffic “hot spots”
Mayor John Tory said today the city is working to identify pedestrian traffic ‘hot spots’ – or sidewalks where there are lineups and heavy foot traffic. Will roll out a plan next week.
Though Tory reminded people that public health has deemed the risk of catching the virus when momentarily passing someone on a sidewalk “non-existent,” he urged pedestrians to be mindful of others who are anxious when out and about and making an effort to practice physical distancing.
“Don’t take up the entire sidewalk,” he said, adding the city will roll out plan for pedestrians and sidewalks next week.
3:04 pm Tory names leaders of Toronto’s recovery strategy
Saad Raffi, the CEO of the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Parapan Am Games, and Dr. David Mowat, former Ontario chief medical officer of health, will head up the city’s recovery phase, Mayor John Tory said today.
He added their recovery strategy will be based on “transparency, accountability and best practices from other jurisdictions,” ensure Toronto’s government is “more efficient, more effective and more resilient than ever” and work with all levels of government and the non-profit and private sectors to restart the economy and city life.
Premier Doug Ford said he will roll out Ontario’s reopening plans next week. Tory did not give a specific date for when the city’s recovery plans will be announced.
3 pm Toronto has 4,486 cases of COVID-19
There are 4,486 cases of COVID-19 in Toronto, including 4,048 confirmed cases and 438 probable cases, the city’s medical officer of health Eileen de Villa said today. There are 300 people in hospital, with 113 in intensive care. There have been 238 deaths in the city. The data is accurate as of 9 am this morning.
12:39 pm Doug Ford to detail Ontario’s reopening framework next week
Ontario premier Doug Ford said today he will announce details for a gradual reopening Ontario next week. He reiterated that the plan to restart the economy will be a slow process that unfolds in phases.
12:36 pm Ontario to ask federal government for residential rent relief
With May 1 approaching, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said today the province is asking the federal government to help with a residential rent relief program.
“Today, I’ll ask the prime minister to work with us on a program for residential tenants,” he said.
His announcement comes on the heels of prime minister Justin Trudeau detailing a program for commercial rent relief that the federal government is implementing in partnership with the provinces. Ford said the commercial rent relief program will cost $900 million.
Ford added that he will “push the federal government” on residential rent relief. “We’re doing it with businesses, now we need to do it with tenants and landlords for residents,” he added. “A lot of them aren’t big landlords. They’re just hard-working people that might have a couple units that are trying to survive.
He said the federal government has been a “fabulous” partner “but we need more. We need more for residential rent.”
11:49 am Commercial rent relief to be funded via forgivable loans to landlords
In a news release following up on the prime minister’s announcement that Canada has reached a deal with the provinces on a commercial rent relief program, the government has provided more details of the program:
- The program will provide forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50 per cent of three monthly rent payments that are payable by eligible small business tenants who are experiencing financial hardship during April, May, and June.
- The loans will be forgiven if the mortgaged property owner agrees to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75 per cent for the three corresponding months under a rent forgiveness agreement, which will include a term not to evict the tenant while the agreement is in place. The small business tenant would cover the remainder, up to 25 per cent of the rent.
- Impacted small business tenants are businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70 per cent drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.
11:37 am Trudeau explains what small businesses with no revenue can do to pay rent
When asked what small businesses that can’t cover the 25 per cent leftover from the commercial rent subsidy should do, prime minister Justin Trudeau said they can access the loan program for businesses.
“This is an extremely difficult situation for Canadians, for businesses right across the country. We recognize that COVID-19 is hitting some people harder than others,” he said. “We are trying to help as many people as possible. The businesses that have no revenue… they still have access to that $10,000 of forgivable loans with a total of $40,000 available from the banks.”
He explained that $10,000 represents an average months rent for a small business, “which means a quarter of that can last four months.”
11:20 am Small businesses to get 75 per cent commercial rent relief
Canada will give small businesses hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic commercial rent relief of 75 per cent, prime minister Justin Trudeau said today.
Trudeau said the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program will lower rent by 75 per cent for small businesses for the months of April, May and June. As per a deal with the provinces, which govern rental agreements, the government will cover 50 per cent and the property owner will cover the rest.
Businesses that pay up to $50,000 per month in rent are eligible, as are non-profits and charities. Trudeau will announce support for larger businesses at a later date.
Trudeau added that Canada and provinces will split the 50 per cent cost they are absorbing. Of that proportion, federal government will cover 75 per cent and the provinces will cover 25 per cent.
10:50 am Ontario has more than 13,000 cases of COVID-19
Ontario has 13,519 cases of COVID-19, public health officials reported today. Since the previous report, province’s cases went up by 640 – or 5 per cent. There have also been 50 deaths since the last report, bringing the provincial total to 763.
Long-term care homes continue to be hard hit, with another 105 residents/patients dying since the previous report for a total of 463. There are also eight more outbreaks in long-term care homes, bringing the current total to 143.
The number of resolved cases is 7,087 and 910 patients are in hospital, with 243 in intensive care and 193 in intensive care on ventilators.
Testing has gone up, with 12,295 tests conducted since the previous report. There are 5,414 more cases under investigation and a total of 207,040 tests have been carried out to date.
Some other stats:
- 44.8 per cent of cases in Ontario are 60 years of age and older
- GTA units account for 59.1 per cent of cases
- 11.5 per cent of cases were hospitalized
9:15 am Scotiabank Arena turns into a giant kitchen to feed frontline workers
The home of the Raptors and Maple Leafs is now a food production assembly line.
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE) has turned Scotiabank Arena into a giant kitchen to prepare up to 10,000 meals a day for hospital front-line workers and food rescue organization Second Harvest to donate to food banks and shelters, the company said today.
MLSE’s chefs and food and beverage staff and other employees are working on the program while sports and entertainment is on pause during the coronavirus pandemic. The arena’s marquee sponsor, Scotiabank, is also opening its kitchen facilities at Scotia Plaza to support the meal packages, which will be delivered across the GTA.
“Scotiabank Arena normally serves as a gathering place for fans to be entertained and cheer on their teams, but today, as the world deals with the overwhelming impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, our arena will serve as a place for people to come together and support our community when it is most in need,” said MLSE president and CEO Michael Friisdahl said in a statement. “In a time of crisis like we are experiencing, many different needs emerge, and we saw this as a chance to use our facilities and engage our people to serve our community.”
MLSE is worked with food hygiene experts and Toronto Public Health to develop the initiative and ensure the safety of the meals and of the people preparing them, the company said.
9 am Canada has over 42,000 cases of COVID-19
There are 42,110 cases of COVID-19 in Canada and 2,146 people have died.
The outbreak is a serious public health threat though most people who contract the virus have not been hospitalized.
Symptoms include cough, fever, difficulty breathing and pneumonia in both lungs and may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure. People age 65 and over and people with compromised immune systems and/or underlying medical conditions have a higher risk of contracting a severe case.