Message from Executive Secretary Treasurer, James Barry:
Below is the most recent updates on the federal and provincial governments’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Federal Government will make all air travelers have their temperatures taken before they board an airplane, even though there is agreement that temperatures alone cannot confirm people have COVID-19. The first passengers to have their temperatures checked will be those from outside the country travelling to Canada. The program will be expanded to include international travelers leaving Canada. Finally, passengers on domestic flights will also be checked. People who have a temperature higher than normal will not be allowed to board the aircraft.
- High temperature does not necessarily mean a person has COVID-19, but it is one of the symptoms of the disease. Minister Garneau said both Air Canada and WestJet have instituted some temperature checks. He commented that the new checks are a “great way to add a layer of protection.” Temperature checks for international travelers arriving at the country’s largest airports will begin by the end of June. Travelers leaving Canada and flying domestically from those airports will have their temperatures taken by the end of July and all travelers (flying from anywhere) will be checked by the end of September. The largest airports in Canada include Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary.
- Trudeau announced that members of the Armed Forces on duty in long term care homes in Quebec and Ontario will remain for an additional two weeks, until the end of June. In Quebec they will be replaced by members of the Red Cross until September 15th at the earliest.
- Trudeau also repeated that the Government is looking for a way to proceed with a one time, tax free $600 payment to people with disabilities that does not require Parliamentary approval. On Wednesday, the Opposition blocked debate in House of Commons on legislation to make that payment.
- The Prime Minister also called for “an independent, transparent investigation” into the circumstances depicted in a video of the arrest of Chief Andrew Adams in Fort MacMurray earlier this year.
- Let the hugging, backyard BBQ’s, and in-person poker games begin! Today, the Premier and Deputy Premier announced that Ontarians are encouraged to establish new ‘social circles’ beyond their immediate households to a total of 10 people. The government stressed that people should only be in one circle, and their circles should not change. The guidance issued is okay with people coming into close contact without social distancing as long as they keep close contact to their respective circle. This is approach will be helpful with contact tracing moving forward.
- The government also stressed that those Ontarians over 70 and with underlying health conditions may want to avoid joining a social circle at this time and should balance the dangers that still exist against the perceived benefits.
- The Premier was asked about enforcement of the new rules. He stressed that there are not enough bylaw officers and police officers to be knocking on people’s doors when they have a BBQ, so he is relying on Ontarians to self govern themselves accordingly. The social circle announcement is a guideline and not legally enforceable, whereas the 10 person limit for social gatherings is!
- Today the limit for gathering was raised from 5 to 10, and many areas of the province entered into Phase 2 of re-opening. In addition Ontario’s COVID-19 case count continued to drop, and was the lowest today that’s its been since March 29th.
Executive Secretary Treasurer
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