Good morning, Greater Sudbury.
Here are some stories to start your day.
Premier Doug Ford declares state of emergency with new stay-at-home order:
Less than a week after a third provincial shutdown was imposed, further restrictions and a stay-at-home order have been issued. The stay-at-home order is effective at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, April 8. Non-essential retail stores will only be open for curbside pickup. For the first time in the pandemic, big box stores will be limited to only selling essential items. These changes are in addition to the emergency brake measures that took effect April 3 in all 34 health units across the province. The government faced criticism over the weekend, however, after a video of a packed Yorkdale mall surfaced. The province has reported more than 3,000 new COVID cases per day since Sunday, with 3,215 new cases on Wednesday. You can watch Wednesday's press conference here.
David Popescu sentenced to 30 days in jail, 2 years probation for wilfully promoting hatred towards homosexuals:
Perennial fringe candidate David Popescu will serve 30 days in jail for spreading “messages of shock and horror” after being convicted in September of wilfully promoting hatred towards an identifiable group - namely homosexuals. Ontario Court Justice Heather Ann Mendes handed down the sentence on Wednesday. In addition to jail time, Popescu, 73, will be on probation for two years. As part of the probation conditions, Popescu is not to distribute or publish any literature or materials that makes reference to Kathleen Wynne, the 2SLGBTQIA+ community or sexual orientation in any way. Normally, a sentence for this type of conviction would warrant a 90-day intermittent sentence, to be served on weekends, however, intermittent sentences are not being handed down right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is Popescu’s second conviction for the same crime, said Mendes. Popescu has made no acknowledgement of the hurt and violence his words have or could have caused, he lacks any insight as to why he was convicted, and he has not offered any information as to what reflection he has done on this matter, said Mendes. Furthermore, Popescu has made no attempt to educate himself on how he could have spread his messages from the Bible without finding himself facing criminal charges, she said. Full story can be found here.
Schools allowed to stay open during stay-at-home order:
A provincial stay-at-home order will come into effect in Ontario as of 12:01 a.m. tomorrow, and the province has also declared a state of emergency. However, schools will remain open, with the exception of Peel Region, Toronto, and Guelph public health units, who have all made the decision to close schools for two weeks. That means schools in the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts will remain open, once they reopen. Premier Doug Ford has said keeping schools and child care open is "critical to the mental health and well-being of Ontario children and youth." Get the full story here.
Doug Ford shoots back at claims that sick leave is needed to survive in the pandemic:
Just as Ontario Premier Doug Ford was outlining the latest stay-at-home order from the Ontario government, CUPE Ontario (Canadian Union of Public Employees) said the announcement was a demonstration of Ontario's "deep political failure" during the pandemic. In a hard-hitting news release CUPE said any stay-at-home order must include some sort of legislated effort at paid sick days. "Ontarians are tired of the seesaw. Let's get off this cycle of opening, then closing, and finally do what's needed to beat COVID-19 once and for all," said Fred Hahn, president of CUPE Ontario. He said only when people can afford to stay at home will they make the effort to actually stay home. Hahn said all experts agree that this third wave of the pandemic includes front line essential workers, many of whom are racialized employees, who must go to work to earn a living. Premier Ford paused his afternoon news conference, just before taking questions from reporters, to say that anyone who said paid sick leave is the best answer is playing politics with people's lives and doing a disservice. Get the full story here.
Nineteen new cases of COVID-19 reported by Sudbury Health Unit for April 7:
Sudbury's health unit is reporting 19 new cases of COVID-19 for Wednesday, April 7. Public Health also said there are now 270 active cases being monitored. Also, since the Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD) began tracking COVID-19 cases just over one year ago, there have been 1600 total COVID-19 cases confirmed locally. PHSD also said 1,330 of those cases have been resolved. Also today, the COVID-19 outbreak on the seventh floor North Tower at Health Sciences North was declared over. There continues to be an active outbreak on the sixth floor, North Tower of the hospital, involving three staff members. With respect to where the newest COVID-19 cases might have occurred, the Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD) daily update page reported that 16 of the new cases were found to have occurred within the Greater Sudbury Area. Two new cases were reported from the wider Sudbury district and one new case from the Manitoulin district. In terms of possible causes of the new cases, PHSD reported seven cases associated with outbreak, 16 new cases linked to close contact of a confirmed case, six cases listed as "under investigation" and two cases of no known epidemiological link. On the provincial COVID-19 register Wednesday, the Ontario government daily website reported 3,215 new confirmed COVID-19 cases across the province, along with 17 new deaths.
How to book your COVID-19 vaccine appointment in the Public Health Sudbury area:
Public Health Sudbury & Districts (PHSD) has issued a reminder for older residents, especially those 70 and older, an how to book an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine. PHSD said appointments can be booked online or by telephone. The health unit said booking online, through a home computer or a smartphone, "is a simple and efficient process" and helps reduce call volumes. PHSD also advises that friends or family members can help people who are eligible by booking an appointment on their behalf. Also, as of April 7 at 8 a.m., adults 60 years of age and older (born in 1961) will also be able to book an appointment for their vaccination, said PHSD. Those who wish to book by telephone still have options, said the health unit. Adults 70 years of age and older in 2021 can also call the health unit to book an appointment, said PHSD. For the PHSD main line, call 705-674-2299 (toll-free: 1-800-708-2505), between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., seven days a week. To help with call volumes, an additional call centre has been set up, said PHSD. For the alternate telephone line, call 1-844-782-2273, between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.
Sudbury’s new ‘premier’ cannabis store offers beverages, private consultation suite:
Greater Sudbury’s newest cannabis retailer Northbound Cannabis Co. opened its doors on April 3. Located in the Cedar Pointe Plaza on Regent Street, the shop features edibles, cannabis beverages, topical solutions and other traditional cannabis products. There is also a consultation suite where customers can speak one-on-one with an expert in a private lounge area. The shop also offers a wide-range of price points from “value conscious brands to the more premier level products.” Phil Bouffard, who is one of the five owners of Northbound Cannabis Co., said all the products in the store were hand selected so as to make for an easier shopping experience. “What we try to do is elevate the shopping experience for our customers by curating the best products in each category so our customers don’t get lost in the process,” Bouffard said. According to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, there are now five cannabis retail stores open in Greater Sudbury and more than a dozen other locations "in progress". To stand out amongst the other shops in town, the owners of Northbound Cannabis wanted to create a more comfortable, boutique-like atmosphere for their customers. Photos and full story here.
Thursday's forecast looks like a beauty. Mainly sunny today with temperatures soaring up to a high of 21. Clear skies overhead into the evening. Overnight low will be steady at around 6. For current weather conditions, short-term and long-term forecasts visit Sudbury.com's weather page at www.sudbury.com/weather.