Friday marks the start of Ontario’s first step in the COVID-19 roadmap to reopening
With 60 percent of adults having at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, outdoor activities will be the first to open on June 11 at 12:01am, with limited, well-managed crowding and permitted restricted retail.
This includes larger outdoor gatherings up to 10 people; outdoor dining for up to 4 people per table; essential retail capacity at 25 per cent; non-essential retail at 15 per cent; outdoor religious services; outdoor sports, training, and personal training for up to 10 people; day camps; campsites and campgrounds; Ontario Parks; outdoor horse racing and motor speedways; outdoor pools, splash pads and wading pools.
Ontario will remain in Step One for at least 21 days.
Canada hopes to loosen U.S. border restrictions June 22
As vaccination rates rise, both the United States and Canada are starting to focus on a border reopening plan to ease the suffering of separated families and the long-struggling tourism industry.
The next month-to-month arrangement for border measures expires June 21, with hopes of opening the border June 22. Trudeau wants at least 75 per cent of Canadians to have their first COVID-19 vaccine, and 20 per cent to have a complete set – metrics the country is on track to meet.
After a recent meeting with Canada’s Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair, Niagara Fall Mayor Jim Diodati commented, “He [Blair] didn’t put it in stone, but he suggested that [June 22] is the date they’re looking at. We’re hoping to get some more confirmation this week.”
Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley responds to London, ON terrorist attack
“Sunday’s senseless attack on a London family was an act of cowardice and brazen violence that has no place in our communities.
We are now learning that this horrendous act was fueled by hatred, and the Afzaal family was targeted solely because of their Muslim faith. I agree with those who have defined this attack as an act of terrorism and this type of violent, brutal racism cannot not be tolerated.
Unfortunately, this violent act of Islamophobia is not an isolated incident, and we must all work together to eliminate hatred and prejudice where it exists.
Niagara joins the rest of the country in mourning the loss of the four members of the Afzaal family, and we wish a speedy recovery for Fayez Afzaal as he heals in hospital. On behalf of the people of Niagara, I wish to express our sincere condolences to the Afzaal family, and reiterate that we stand in solidarity with the people of London, Ontario, as well as Muslim Canadians across the country.”
Niagara residents asked by Ontario Medical Association for input on future of health care
Niagara residents are asked to participate in a new survey to assist in forming the future of health care by pinpointing issues at both local and provincial levels. Responses will be used to address long-term care, backlogs created by the pandemic, access to mental health care, and other issues that have fallen through the cracks. The feedback will allow the Ontario Medical Association to make recommendations to improve Ontario health care. They will also take community leaders, elected officials and government parties’ input into consideration.
Take a moment to participate in this survey: BetterHealthCare.ca
Arterra Wines grows its local footprint in Niagara, acquires Vin First
With roots in the Niagara region for over 140 years, Arterra Wines Canada expanded its Niagara footprint, acquiring St. Catharines-based Vin First Inc. on June 7.
Arterra Wines Canada is a leading Canadian producer and marketer of award-winning, globally recognized Canadian and imported wines, including brands such as Jackson-Triggs, Inniskillin, Sawmill Creek, Wallaroo Trail, Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi, Ruffino and Kim Crawford. Vin First is a leading Canadian canning and Tetra packaging company that specializes in the beverage-alcohol industry, with a passion for seeing wines, ciders and cocktails embraced in new exciting formats.
This acquisition allows Arterra to continue diversifying its packaging and offer more convenient and portable formats.
Nine farms and businesses in West Niagara get natural gas connection for first time
The Ontario government is expanding access to natural gas across the province to help keep the cost of energy low for families, businesses and farmers. Phase 2 of the Natural Gas Expansion Program will allocate more than $234 million to support approximately 8750 connections in 43 rural, northern and Indigenous communities.
Niagara has been allocated $4,295,182 in funding to provide nine farms and businesses in Grimsby and Lincoln with natural gas for the first time.
“Access to natural gas will help more families and businesses find energy savings, while promoting economic development and job creation across Niagara-West,” announced MPP Sam Oosterhoff.
Niagara-on-the-Lake’s clerk Peter Todd is no longer with the town
After nearly four and a half years of being Niagara-on-the-Lake’s town clerk, Peter Todd has parted ways with the municipality. The town will not be providing details about the circumstances of the transition.
Deputy clerk, Colleen Hutt, will hold the role of acting town clerk while the recruitment process takes place. Tara Druzina, administrative assistant in the community and development services department, has received authority to run committee of the whole and council meetings. Other duties have been redistributed as required.
Todd’s accounts with the town remain active and are being monitored in order to provide a smooth transition.
Fort Erie Racetrack ready to return June 15
Though unable to host fans, the Fort Erie Racetrack will resume horse racing under Step One of the reopening plan June 15.
There will be two cup races: the Sprint into Summer and the Summer Solstice Cup.
When it returns Tuesday, the track will have a special post time of 3pm. All other 2021 races will take place Mondays at 1pm and Tuesdays at 4pm until October 26.
Races can be watched live at www.forterieracing.com/streaming-and-replays and wagering is available through www.hpibet.com.
COVID-19 weekly update
For the past two days Niagara has reported 29 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of active cases in the region to 418.
As of June 9, St. Catharines and Niagara Falls had the most active cases, with 118 and 115, while Welland trails behind with 52. All other municipalities have 26 cases or less, with Wainfleet having only 1 case.
329,300 COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the region, bringing the total number of Niagara residents with the first dose to 61.4 per cent and those with a complete series to 7.4 per cent.
Twenty-five individuals are being treated in Niagara hospitals, with 11 of those in the ICU.