COVID-19: Trudeau rolls out more support for small businesses

Published On April 24, 2020 | By Anushka Yadav | COVID-19, Headlines, News

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Friday lower rent for eligible small businesses by up to 75 per cent for the months of April, May and June. 

“The government will cover 50 per cent of that reduction, with the property owner, covering the rest,” he said.

“If you are a small business that has been strongly affected by COVID-19 and you’re paying less than $50,000 per month on rent, you will be eligible to receive this support,” said Trudeau outside of his home at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa.

The provinces and territories will share up to 25 per cent of the total cost while the other 25 per cent will be shared by the federal government. 

It means businesses renting their space will pay a 25 per cent of their monthly rent while the other 25 per cent will be paid by the property owner. 

The federal government has announced that the program will be “operational” by mid-May under the administration of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

He said the decision has been made in agreement with all provinces and territories. Canada’s non-profit and charitable organizations will also be eligible for the same. 

While asking Canadians to be “careful” Trudeau said the government is learning from other countries and will reopen the economy “one step at a time.” 

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said in her Friday briefing that Canada has suffered from more than 2,000 COVID-19 deaths. 

“More than 643,000 tests have been administered, with over 6.5 per cent of people testing positive,” she said.

Currently, Canada has 42,773 confirmed cases with 15,204 recovered cases and a death toll of 2,197.

Relief for Ontario businesses

Ontario Premier Doug Ford unveiled $900 million under the Canada Emergency Commerical Rent Assistance program for businesses

“This is a strong start, but we can and we will do more. We will leave nothing on the table when it comes to supporting Ontario through this,” said Ford from Queen’s Park.

Ford assured tenants that they won’t lose their homes. “We will have your back. We have frozen evictions, so you won’t lose your home,” he said.

The premier also announced the five private long term care homes that will get support from the Canadian Forces.

They include Orchard Villa in Pickering, Altamont Care Community in Scarborough, Eatonville in Etobicoke, Hawthorne Place in North York, and Holland Christian homes’ Grace Manor in Brampton.

Signs of support for workers at Eatonville Care Centre, a long term care home, after several residents died of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada April 23, 2020. (REUTERS/Carlos Osorio)

Ford also said a framework for reopening Ontario’s economy will be released early next week. 

Ontario has 640 new cases for a total of 13,519 confirmed coronavirus cases. 

There were 50 new deaths today bringing the total number to 763 deaths and 7,087 resolved cases. Among those who died are 573 residents of long-term care homes.

Ford’s briefing was followed by a two-minute silence for the victims of the Nova Scotia shooting including RCMP Const. Heidi Stevenson. 

Toronto Mayor John Tory announced a multidisciplinary team of Toronto Public Health staff led by former medical officer of health David L. Mowat.

He said the team with expertise in AP epidemiology, policy analysis, public health and stakeholder relations will review current evidence to inform city officials and to guide recovery, decision making.

“Everything will be guided by considerations of public health and making sure people stay healthy and that we don’t fall back after the success we will have enjoyed by the time we get to implementing this plan,” said Tory in a news conference on Friday afternoon.

There are 4,486 COVID-19 cases in Toronto – it includes 4,048 confirmed cases and 438 probable cases. The city has 300 people in hospitals, 113 of whom are in intensive care units. 

“Sadly, we continue to see COVID-19 deaths in our community. And to date, 238 people have died of this virus in our city,” said Toronto’s chief medical officer Dr. Eileen De Villa. 

Around the world

COVID-19 cases globally have reached a total count of 2.73 million with 192,000 deaths and 751,000 recovered cases. 

US President Donald Trump suggested injecting “disinfectant” to beat coronavirus and “clean” the lungs in the White House coronavirus task force briefing on Thursday.

“I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute,” the president said. “And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning? As you see, it gets in the lungs, it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that,” said Trump

However, medical experts immediately criticized Trump’s claims. 

Reckitt Benckiser, the manufacturers of Lysol and Dettol issued a statement stating their products should not be administered “through injection, ingestion or any other route”.

“Our disinfectant and hygiene products should only be used as intended and in line with usage guidelines. Please read the label and safety information,” the statement read. 

Currently, the US has the highest number of COVID-19 cases with 890,000 confirmed cases with 50,372 deaths. 

Italy is preparing for “Phase 2” after the first limited easing on April 14. The country had one of the tightest lockdowns in Europe and is preparing for easing into daily life gradually.

FILE PHOTO: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte wears a face mask as he attends a session of the lower house of parliament on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Rome, Italy April 21, 2020. (REUTERS/Remo Casilli/File Photo)

Phase 2 will allow construction, manufacturing and public transport to resume. However, the Italian government has asked people to adhere to social distancing and mask-wearing. 

Currently, Italy has 190,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 25,549 deaths. 

A panel of experts in Belgium has set out plans for easing the lockdown. The first easing will begin on May 4 which will include the reopening of DIY stores, bike shops and other small businesses. 

The second easing will allow schools and hairdressers to reopen from May 18. However, leisure activities and businesses such as movie theatres and clubs will remain closed. 

Belgium has 44,293 coronavirus cases to date with 6,679 deaths. 

Japan is investigating a virus outbreak among the crew of the Costa Atlantica cruise ship which docked in Nagasaki in January. 

The vessel had no reported cases until this week when 91 out of 623 crew members tested positive for COVID-19. The Nagasaki Medical Association declared the situation as “medically critical.”

Japan has 12,429 confirmed cases of the virus with 328 deaths. 

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