Amazon keeping the scammers off the site

News 100 redBy Staff

March 25th, 2020



During a crisis like this the scammers come out from under the rocks they call home.

They prey on the frightened.

And they flock to places like Amazon to offer their spurious wares.

Amazon signAmazon, to their credit, is kicking the corona-scammers off the site.

In their haste to purchase high demand products, Amazon consumers are being duped by opportunistic sellers.

In response, Amazon is cracking down on price-gouging by pulling over a half-million offers and 3,900 sellers from the site.

That doesn’t mean YOU can stop being vigilant.

That cardinal rule once again: If in doubt – don’t

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Region reports there are now 15 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Halton

News 100 redBy Staff

March 25th, 2020



The Regional Medical Officer of Health released a report this afternoon that was a bit of a stunner.

Halton’s 15th confirmed positive case of COVID-19 is an Oakville resident who travelled while experiencing symptoms.

We understood the number to be 5,6 or 7 confirmed positive cases.

If you know someone who is returning to Canada INSIST that they self-isolate immediately.  The virus is now in the community – we can limit the spread by self distancing and washing our hands – try every half hour.

The most recent individual experienced the onset of symptoms on March 15, 2020, and then took two flights on March 19: Melaka, (believed to be Malaga,) Spain to Amsterdam (Flight KL2648; KLM) and Amsterdam to Toronto (Flight KLM695; KLM).

On March 21, the individual presented herself for testing at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital where she is currently in isolation. Those who have travelled on any of the above-mentioned flights need to monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days from the date of the flight, and call their local public health authority if they become symptomatic.

As per established infection prevention and control protocols, the hospital took all precautions, including testing in an isolated environment with all necessary personal protective equipment. Halton Region Public Health is actively engaged in contact tracing and case management.

Dr Meghani at news conference Hamilton

Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health.

“I want to remind residents of the importance of practising physical distancing, self-isolating and self-monitoring as appropriate to contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of our community,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region Medical Officer of Health.

“We need to take COVID-19 seriously and take immediate action to protect all Halton residents including those who are most vulnerable in our community, as well as our first responders and healthcare workers.”

“We want to reassure our communities that our highly trained staff and physicians are prepared and take all safety measures to protect and care for patients and each other.

“These are unprecedented times and we are tremendously grateful to our healthcare teams for their response to this pandemic,” said Denise Hardenne, President & CEO, Halton Healthcare. “We want to thank everyone for practicing physical distancing and staying home to support our healthcare workers and those most vulnerable in our communities.”

Halton Region Public Health and health care partners continue to focus on those most at risk of COVID-19. Our current priority is to hear from the following people who have symptoms:

• those aged 60 and over;
• those with pre-existing medical conditions;
• those who have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19;
• those living or working in a health-care or long-term care setting or institution; or
• First Nation community members living on-reserve.

Residents must have an appointment to attend an Assessment Centre. Those with symptoms that meet one of the criteria above are asked to use Ontario’s Self-Assessment Tool to see if they need to seek further care. If you need further assistance, call 311.

Residents without symptoms are not being tested at this time. Those with mild symptoms that do not meet the criteria above are asked to self-isolate for 14 days, or until they have been symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer. Please do not contact Public Health. Residents with severe symptoms are asked to call 9-1-1 immediately.

To help slow the spread of COVID-19, residents are asked to follow the recommendations from Public Health:

• stay home as much as possible, especially when ill;
• cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or sleeve;
• wash hands frequently with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand rub;
• clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces;
• practise physical distancing;
• do your best to keep at least two metres away from others;
• if you are able, avoid all non-essential activity recommended and declared by the province;
• avoid all non-essential travel until further notice; and
• if you have travelled, please stay at home and self-isolate for 14 days from when you return home.

The federal government has made it an offence to return to Canada and not immediately go into self-isolation.


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Real estate sales are down but prices are holding and days on the market acceptable

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 25th, 2020



There is a phrase: When the going gets tough – the tough get going.

The Rocca Sisters put out a very short video on just where the Real Estate market has been performing. Some pleasant surprises and useful information.

Tanya Rocca said they “have implemented several initiatives to continue to serve their clients while taking the prescribed precautions laid out by our government and health officials.

These include:

1) Providing each of our listings with hand sanitizer and strict instructions for visiting homes during showings
2) Implementing virtual tools to allow us to showcase listed properties, including:

• Virtual open houses
• Virtual buyer visits, and
• Virtual consultations/home evaluations, including staging consults

The video – short and to the point. HERE


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City finds a way to answer the questions the public has - email is working at this point. Credit is due

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 25th, 2020



Earlier today we reported on the city decision to shut down every service being delivered by city hall and send everyone home where they would do their best to get some work done – this meant no one was in the building to handle any phone calls.

The city decided to rely on email.

One Gazette reader said “we should have a means to ask Service Burlington questions by phone. Why the Mayor does not consider that essential in these times is beyond a common sense approach to serving the residents in these peculiar times.”


Angela Morgan

Angela Morgan, former city Clerk, now the Strategic Lead – Customer Experience for Service Burlington said via email that “we are responding to most general questions within 24 hours. It only takes longer if the inquiry is about a specific service or file and then it has to be forwarded to the appropriate staff person and they may take longer to respond depending on the complexity of the question.”

Morgan added: “There are many questions about COVID-19;  the nature of those questions changes daily as new information comes out from other levels of government.

“The other area of questions relate to city services and how to access various services, what is open and closed.”

City Manager Tim Commisso,added, via email that “Our technology allows Service Burlington staff to work remotely; the email volume being handled by SB has increased in past couple weeks between 50% and 65% depending on the service area.

Having watched two Special City Council meetings which were done remotely – one has to come to the conclusion that they work. A little on the awkward side – but they do work and any bumps will get ironed out.

Give them credit for making the best of a tough situation.

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Telephone access to Service Burlington is currently unavailable

News 100 blueBy Staff

March 25th, 2020



In a stark, somewhat blunt statement, the city announced that:

Burlington logo

City Hall is closed. But tax payments are still being accepted.

At this time, in order to protect the public and City staff and to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 virus, all City facilities including City Hall will be closed until April 6, 2020.

With the closure of City facilities, telephone access to Service Burlington is currently unavailable.

Please send your community questions and requests to Service Burlington by email at or visit

That was it – no word on what happens to that email you send in.

The province announced a 1-800 service for the business sector.

Why can’t Burlington come upo with something that will meet the needs of its citizeans – unless of course there are no questions or concerns.

Perhaps the Telephone Town Hall on Thursday will shed some light on the level of concern and apprehension.

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1-888-444-3659 - number for the business sector to call for support and answers to questions on staying open

Newsflash 100By Staff

March 25th, 2020



The province has launched a toll-free line 1-888-444-3659 to provide support to Ontario businesses who have questions about the province’s recent emergency order to close at-risk workplaces following recommendations by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Queens Park

Queen’s Park – seat of the provincial government

On Monday, the province issued an emergency order to close at-risk workplaces and encourage non-essential businesses to find ways to help their employees work from home. The government also reminded businesses to put in place protocols for physical distancing and regular hand-washing in order to protect the health and safety of employees and the general public.

Businesses who have questions about closures of at-risk workplaces or how emergency measures impact their business or employment can call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659.

Help is available from Monday to Sunday, from 8:30 a.m.―5:00 p.m.

A complete list of essential services can be found here.


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Mayor tells citizens meeting in groups that this has to stop. For those who are returning to Canada - go home and stay home for 14 days

News 100 redBy Staff

March 25th, 2020



Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said yesterday that:

Halton Region announced their decision to proceed with the Declaration of an Emergency for Halton Region.

Mayor Meed Ward

Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

The Region has already activated the Halton Region Emergency Response Plan and the Health Department’s Infectious Disease Emergency Response Plan and has been responding to the COVID-19 situation for many weeks. I applaud this decision and the message it sends to our community about the urgent need to respond to the COVID-19 situation and follow the advice of our leaders and healthcare experts.

The City of Oakville has also made their own declaration today, adding to the growing list of cities in the GTA and across Canada who are doing so.

In Burlington, we have still seen groups of people congregating in public places, visiting the homes of others, and engaged in unnecessary activities with other people. We are hearing of people returning from out of country trips and going straight to work or to run errands, and not self-isolating as required for 14 days.

I cannot stress this enough: it needs to stop.

Our health and well-being depends on it, as does the health and well-being of our healthcare workers and first responders and their ability to take care of us should we need it. As our Prime Minister said earlier today, if we do not see improved behaviour across the country, additional measures will need to be put in place to ensure compliance.

Yesterday’s announcement of the closure of additional non-essential businesses by the Province was a further step in limiting public contact and flattening the curve of COVID-19.

The list is now available on their website along with a 1-800 number (coming soon) for businesses to call with related questions.

The list of what is considered essential is far more extensive than I expected, leaving far too many businesses open, particularly public-facing businesses. If you can close, please do. If you can deploy your operations so staff can work at home, please do. If staff have to come to the office, maintain 6-ft physical distance and follow the frequent and thorough cleaning and handwashing advice we have heard from healthcare experts to keep everyone safe.

I and other Mayors I have spoken to today are considering taking additional steps to better protect our community and encourage more businesses to close voluntarily to better protect themselves, their employees and the public.

We have many amazing business owners in Burlington who have already voluntarily made the decision to close their doors for the time being out of consideration for the health and wellness of their employees and customers. I am grateful for their willingness to do so.

While only the Province’s list of business closures is enforceable by police, I continue to encourage Burlington’s businesses to use common sense and good judgement and consider if they can close for the near future without impacting access to truly essential products and services for our community.

The City of Burlington continues to provide essential services as we announced last week and there is no change to that directive. With the closure of City facilities, telephone access to Service Burlington is currently unavailable.

Please send your community questions and requests to Service Burlington by email at or visit

We are very pleased to hear today that the Province of Ontario has made the decision to provide immediate electricity rate relief for families, farmers and small businesses paying time-of-use rates amid this crisis. This reduction will help offset higher consumption as more people stay home, and further alleviate some of the financial challenges many people are facing right now.

Earlier today after a telephone meeting of the Large Urban Mayors Caucus of Ontario, my fellow Mayors sent a letter to the Prime Minister and Premier of Ontario thanking them for their leadership through this difficult time and encouraging them to take additional measures to limit movement and enable people to stay home. We requested the Federal Government step up their fiscal response to support provinces and leverage fiscal tools that no other level of government in Canada has. We also called on the Government of Ontario to map out a clear strategy to support municipalities, whose finances are being severely impacted by this unprecedented crisis.

I want to remind our community that we are hosting a public telephone town hall Thursday evening at 6:45pm, and I am grateful to have MP Karina Gould and MPP Jane McKenna joining us, along with Deputy Chief Roger Wilkie and Superintendent Anthony Odoardi of the Halton Region Police Service, members of your city council and the city’s leadership team. More details can be found on our website.

Our top priority at the City of Burlington remains the health and well-being of our residents. We are committed to keeping you informed in clear and timely manner and encourage you to stay updated via the City’s dedicated website. Additional information on all COVID-19 related matters can be found at the Halton Region website, the Ministry of Health of Ontario’s website, and the Federal Government’s website.

Stay healthy, stay home, and be kind to one another.

The Gazette would urge the city administration to find a way to get Service Burlington back on line with people answering the telephones – there is a need for sensible answers to the questions people have.

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A mother’s journal of her first week of self-isolation with Leo, 8 and Bea, 6

graphic coping blue

By Nicki St. George

March 24th, 2020



The Gazette has put together a team of parents who are at home taking care of their children while the province goes through school closures and the shut down of everything other than essential services.

Ashley Worobec, Amber Rohol, and Nicki St. George will write regularly on how they are coping.  We invite parents to take part in this initiative by adding comments to each Coping with COVID19 & the kids article.


Nicki St. George, a mother of two, Leo 8 and Bea 6, is a teacher at a private school and is in the final phase of her chemotherapy for cancer.

This is her first week with the children at home.

Thursday, March 12
I went grocery shopping at 2:30pm, just before picking my kids up from school. It was eerie. Very busy for that time of day with people quietly stockpiling canned goods and other supplies. I bought three bags of coffee and left the store with a knot in my stomach and a feeling of unease.

Friday, March 13 –
I breathed a sigh of relief that today was the last day of my 12 weekly chemotherapy sessions. After battling breast cancer for the last 6 months, the hard parts (surgery and chemo) are done and I can look forward to getting my energy back. And not a moment too soon as the Ontario government announced that schools will be closed for the next three weeks including March Break.


Deerhurst |Resort in the Muskoka’s

Saturday, March 14 –
Surrounded by scary news stories and reports from Italy about how everyone wishes they had self-isolated sooner, I begin to doubt whether I should be taking my kids up to Deerhurst Resort in Muskoka. This was going to be a way for me to keep my kids entertained while my husband, Daniel, was away for work in Saskatoon. We stay inside as a family and decide to self-isolate.

Sunday, March 15 –
I decide that we are not going to Deerhurst. I also spend time researching how to know if you are immunocompromised. The kids are disappointed. Mostly Bea because her friend was also supposed to be going there too. I explain to them that it is not safe because of COVID-19 and particularly unsafe for mum because I am more likely to get very sick from the virus. They understand the importance of washing hands and the need to keep our distance from people. I take the same approach with them about discussing the virus that I did when I told them about my cancer. I am honest about what is going on. I give them the information they need, and I answer all of their questions.

Crawford lake with wooden trail

Fresh air and explaining what is unique about the lake.

Monday, March 16 –
Social media is abuzz with free resources for kids. I join a homeschooling Facebook group which is started by my friend. I screen shot every schedule, list of creative ideas to keep kids busy, at home exercise routines, etc. that I see. I am feeling pressure to home-school. I make a list of things to keep us busy for the week on chart paper. But then I remember that it is March Break and the pressure and guilt eases. I take the kids for a walk to Crawford Lake with my mum and we have a lovely day. I consider this a win.

Tuesday, March 17 –
I am feeling the fatigue and bone pain from the residual chemo chemicals in my body. The kids watch a lot of TV and Leo chats with his friends via messenger kids. I clean out Leo’s closet and walk one block to drop off the hand-me-downs to my friend. We stand two meters apart and compare our isolation time. She had been awaiting the results of her COVID-19 test – they are negative. Daniel is working on a new project and it is keeping him very busy. He has set up a workstation in the basement and we don’t see him much for most of the day. I am grateful that we both have jobs and financial security.

Mt Nemo entrance

Mt Nemo – now closed to the public.

Wednesday, March 18 –
I continue to find myself glued to my social media feed and obsessing over the 24-hour news cycle. I reach out to some friends to see how they are doing. Even the homeschooling parents are saying that the colour coded activity schedule is way too much. I breathe a sigh of relief. I take the kids to Mt. Nemo and we have a great time exploring a new conservation area. We pass by a lot of other families and keep our distance. The kids and I also do a home workout using a YouTube video. I dig out a workbook that I bought for Bea at Costco a while ago and I get Leo to start working on learning his multiplication times tables. I decide that is enough for today.

Thursday, March 19 –
Our day starts around 10:30am. I really, really like to sleep in and spend some time working on my jigsaw puzzle. After two cups of coffee, I psych myself up for the day. Another YouTube workout, a silly game of hide the LOL doll and I take the kids for a good walk so we can all get our 10, 000 steps for the day. I am so glad that we all got fitbits as it really helps motivate the kids to move and can be used as currency for screen time!


They get called groundhogs – they are really gophers

Friday, March 20 –
Groundhog Day setting in. The kids make a fort downstairs. I make energy balls. Bea isn’t feeling well – I think she thinks she has the virus. We cuddle a lot. I read an editorial in the NY Times about a mother who refuses to home-school her children. I wade through posts about free e-learning resources and try to get my head around the world going ‘online.’ I also email my boss at the school where I teach and tell her that I’m ready to come back to work early from sick leave and help out as we prepare to move into an e-learning platform. I make a delicious beef soup for dinner with the oxtail that my husband brought home from the grocery shop (all that was left in the meat department) and we watch another movie together, as has become our nightly ritual. Added to our nightly ritual is the completion of a gratitude journal. A gift that I was given when first diagnosed with cancer. As we settle in for a long haul of self-isolation, I fear that the weeks will get harder and that it will be harder to find things to be thankful for. I want to establish the habit of acknowledging the good things in life.

On Friday Ashley Worobec, a Mother of two children and a long distance marathon runner will take us through how she is handling the day with the kids home.

graphic coping redCoping with COVID & the kids is a collaborative effort between three women and the wider community.  The group will “prime the pump” with ideas from their experiences; we invite readers to use the comments section at the end of each feature to add their own ideas.


Related news story:Get-Gaz-yellow-1

Helping parents to deal with kids who are now at home – all the time.


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City council holds first every remote meeting - lasts nine minutes - passes everything.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 24th, 2020



It was a little bumpy at the start.

“Keep a cell phone charger on hand” said the city Clerk

Then “we hear you”.

The “..the complicating factor”.

Then “someone is still”

All just voices before the Mayor appeared on the screen and called the Special Meeting of Council to order.

Burlington was about to hold its first ever meeting of council remotely with the Mayor, the Deputy Clerk Jo Anne Rudy and Debbie Horvath along with Dave, the audio visual specialist tucked away in the equipment room.


Mayor Marianne Meed Ward at the first remote meeting of City Council – necessary due to COVID19.

The three in the Council Chamber, sitting about 10 feet apart, stood to sing the National Anthem while the six members of Council took part from their remote offices – which were in the homes of the members of Council

The Mayor then read the Land Proclamation and moved on to the first order of business.

The City Clerk and City manager Tim Commisso were also offsite, taking part remotely.

The city manager didn’t say a word.

The Mayor introduced an amendment to amend the Procedural Bylaw.

She had Councillor Kelven Galbraith move the motion, Councillor Lisa Kearns seconded it.

The Mayor read the motion into the record and handed things over to the Clerk, who was taking part remotely;  he reminded the Mayor to ask Councillors if they needed any clarification.  She did asking Councillors to let her know if they were OK with the motion.

sharman on air

As each Councillor was voting a graphic appeared on the screen with the On Air symbol in the left hand corner.

Each Councillor, taking part remotely said either Yeah or Yes – it was difficult to hear exactly what Councillor Stolte said – her voice didn’t come through all that well, if they needed any clarification. Councillor Bentivegna was loud and very clear.

Then the Clerk went through the process a second time to take a recorded vote.

The vote carried unanimously.

They then voted to receive and file information items – no one said just what those information items were – that too was carried unanimously.

Nine minutes into the meeting they adjourned. Done.

They met the letter of the law. Earlier in the meeting the Mayor said that this was the way things would be done in the immediate future.

The second Special meeting of Council to deal with the Burlington Hydro need for a larger line of credit was to take place a little later in the day.

That issue might call for some actual debate – it will be interesting to see how that works out.

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Rate of COVID19 spread - infections, deaths, recovered.

background graphic greenBy Staff

March 24th, 2020



There is a web site that collects data from around the world on the number of COVID-19 infections, the number of deaths as well as the number of people who have recovered.

The provider of the data is reputable.

That web site is HERE.

The graphic at the left represents data for Monday March 23rd,2020; the one on the right represents data for Tuesday March 24th, 2020

Livde screen Mar 23

March 23rd, 2020

Covid live Mar 24

March 24th, 2020

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Provincial government releases list of essential services exemptions from what has to be shut down to stop the spread of COVID19

opinionred 100x100By Andrew Drummond

March 24th, 2020


There are those that believe that in the current crisis there is no room for opposition to the government. I disagree. We need to dispense with political games, but it is even more critical now that we question our government to ensure that they are pressured into taking the correct action to protect us all.

Nothing in the below article is a personal attack, but it is an articulation of how the government on Monday failed to take adequate steps to protect Ontario.

Monday afternoon, Premier Doug Ford made what was possibly his most statesmanlike address to the province promising a total shutdown of non-essential businesses in Ontario for the next two weeks as we all desperately try and “flatten the curve” of the COVID-19 epidemic.

Ford - dumb thoughtful

Ontario Premier Doug Ford

He genuinely seemed to empathize with the Ontario public and promised strong action to slow the spread of the virus. After the announcement, it was made clear that a list would be provided of what was considered essential later Monday evening. As has been the case for a number of announcements from this government, the details do not match the headlines.

Ontarians know that this fight is important. There are medical experts who have made the case that it is critical to both the safety of our elderly population and to the health of our economy that we slow the spread as soon as possible. Those arguments do not need to be repeated here. What is important to know from Monday’s announcement is how little is covered by this “shutdown”.

The government has listed 74(!) different categories of businesses that qualify as essential, many of which are written in incredibly vague language so that nearly any business except a wedding dress store would qualify. Below are some of the worst examples of exemptions to the “shutdown”.

Exemption #1: Businesses that supply other essential businesses or essential services with the support, supplies, systems or services, including processing, packaging, distribution, delivery and maintenance necessary to operate. (This is so vague to include pretty much any business that sells product to a grocery store. Is a makeup supply store really essential?)

Exemption #9: Businesses that supply office products and services, including providing computer products and related repair and maintenance services, for individuals working from home and for essential businesses (So the computer paper supply store is allowed to stay open, noting that there is a separate exemption [#14] to cover IT professionals).

Exemption #47: Businesses that provide products and services that support research activities. (This would make “essential” any company that has ever sold a product to a university).

Exemption #67: Land registration services, and real estate agent services and moving services (Considering Realtors an essential service is possibly the biggest example of how little the government cares for shutting anything down at all).

Exemption #70: Businesses that support the safe operations of residences and essential businesses (A retailer of floor rugs could for example easily make the case that they are supporting the safe operation of homes).

The government either cares about letting people stay home and be safe or they do not. There is not a middle ground to this. The COVID-19 is the greatest threat to Ontario in at least a generation and it demands strong action to fight it. The action announced today in Ontario is not the strong action that is required, nor does it match the action the Premier promised Monday afternoon. The 74(!) exemptions show that the government is trying to ensure as much business remains open as possible while pretending to take a hard line.

The most dangerous aspect of COVID-19 is that an infected person is extremely contagious for up to an entire week before they show any symptoms. As a result of the actions taken today by the Ontario government, many Ontarians will be going to non-essential work while contagious. While there they will infect their colleagues. Those colleagues will then go on to infect others and the disease will spread much more rapidly.

If Ontario took COVID-19 seriously and legitimately shut down every non-essential business, it is possible that we could come through this in a “best case” period of time, even though no one at this point knows what that is. But if the government insists on taking half measures and making speeches for the sake of appearances while shirking from taking the necessary steps to combat this, Ontario is going to be suffering through this crisis MUCH longer than it had to.

The complete list of exemptions can be found here

Andrew Drummond was the NDP candidate during the last provincial election.

Get Gaz yellow

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Trucking sector is working flat out to get products on to supermarket shelves

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 24th, 2020



Traffic on the major highways is lighter.

Some shelves in the supermarkets are bare.

And some people are buying much more than they need to cover their needs in the near future.

There is just a little panic in some situations.

Foxcroft tight face

Ron Foxcroft, President of Foxcroft Transport said his 150 trucks are on the road 24/7

Ron Foxcroft, President of Fluke Trucking called to let us know that every trucking company is working flat out. “I have our 150 tractors and trailers on the road. We work in New York State and Pennsylvania where the biggest problem is finding a place where the drivers can stop and do the necessary.”

The State of New York has installed some of those Johnny on the Spots at highway rest areas. They disinfect those units every day.

“We are hauling everything you can imagine and from what I can see there are no shortages – the problem is with the increases in demand. People are buying more than they need.

Fluke Transport

The 150 truck fleet is working around the clock.

Foxcroft added that trucking companies that usually compete with each other aren’t doing that. “There is a lot of cooperation and collaboration.

“I have two administrative teams at Fluke who relieve each other. This is a 24/7 for the transports/logistics business these days.”

Milk -limitsAt the retail level there are some, not many, bare shelves. Some supermarkets are limiting the number of people that can be in a store at any one time.

People are now fully aware – but they want any information that is available.

The province has declared that everyone who is not needed at an office is to stay at home.

Schools are closed and will remain closed for longer than originally announced.Get Gaz yellow

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Panel for Public Telephone Town Hall set - Thursday evening

News 100 blueBy Staff

March 23rd, 2020



The City of Burlington is hosting a public telephone town hall that will take place on Thursday, March 26 at 6:45 p.m. This one-hour town hall will be open to all members of the public and provide an opportunity to hear from a panel of leaders including members of council and senior staff, Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and our City Manager, Tim Commisso. Newly confirmed to the panel is:

MPP Jane McKenna

Eric andewall TITLE

Eric Vandewall, President and Chief Executive Officer of Joseph Brant Hospital

Eric Vandewall, President and Chief Executive Officer of Joseph Brant Hospital

Dr. Dale Kalina, Medical Director of Infection, Prevention and Control at Joseph Brant Hospital

Roger Wilkie, Deputy Chief of Halton Regional Police

Anthony Odoardi, Superintendent for Halton Regional Police

Any further updates to panelists for the March 26 Telephone Town Hall will be shared with the public.

How to Participate
Burlington residential phone numbers will be randomly selected to be part of the telephone town hall. Residents who would like to be added to the telephone call list can email their name and telephone number to by the end of day March 25.

Anyone who does not receive a telephone invitation can call 1-800-280-9610 at 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, March 26 to join the town hall. For those individuals calling in to the town hall, please be advised that more than one attempt may be required to connect to the call due to the high volume of traffic on the phone lines. If your call does not connect you to the town hall on your first try, please hang up and dial the 1-800 number again.

Information about the town hall will also be shared with residents through the City and Mayor’s website and social media channels as well as news media.

We ask our residents to share this information with their friends and neighbours so that anyone who is interested may participate.
Once the call begins, participants will be provided instructions by a moderator for submitting their questions to the leadership panel.
Any questions that are not answered within the hour-long call will be posted, with answers, to the City’s website at, along with an audio file of the call and a full transcript as soon as possible.

Meed Ward - tight head shot

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

“I am in complete support of today’s announcements from the Province. Their message to shut down all non-essential businesses to curb the COVID-19 spread echoes what we have been asking of our local businesses. This is a necessary step to protect everyone, customers, employees, families and friends. Closing down your brick-and-mortar shops doesn’t necessarily mean closing down your business for the time being – if you and your employees can work from home, do so.

We also strongly echo Premier Ford’s statement that people returning from outside the country MUST self-isolate at home for 14 days. Do not stop at the store first. There are volunteers willing to assist you. Check the City’s webpage at for links.

I also applaud the Province’s announcement today of additional funding to support our food banks and homeless shelters. These are much-needed funds and making it directly accessible to municipalities gives us the ability to provide direct support to our most vulnerable in our community. I now ask our federal government to act and institute a larger lock down and enforcement of self-isolation. I look forward to hearing more details in coming hours.”

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Province provides an on-line self testing application.

News 100 redBy Staff

March 23rd, 2020



The Province has launched an enhanced and interactive COVID self-assessment tool.

This new easy-to-use tool takes the public through a series of questions to inform those who are concerned they may have contracted COVID-19.

The app can be found HERE

In a matter of seconds, this tool will help people determine if they are negative or it will provide them with guidance on where to seek care based on their needs. Critically, the enhanced tool provides the province with real-time data on the number and geography of users who are told to seek care, self-isolate or to monitor for symptoms. This data will help inform Ontario’s ongoing response in order to keep individuals and families safe.

Self testing app

It is a relatively simple process – use it often.

“I encourage anyone who may have been exposed to COVID-19, have symptoms or may have travelled outside of Canada to first self-isolate and then take a few seconds to complete our new online assessment tool,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “This easy-to-use tool, developed with guidance from Dr. Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, is a great first step in that process. By answering a few questions, Ontarians will be able to make informed choices about what to do, while the province collects real-time data to enhance our ongoing response.”

The tool guides individuals through a series of questions and, based on their responses, users are provided clear direction on what action to take. These next steps could include: continue to practice social distancing; self-isolate; call a primary care provider or Telehealth Ontario; or in the case of symptoms such as severe difficulty breathing or severe chest pain, call 911 or go to the emergency department.

Those people whose self-assessment shows they may have COVID-19 will be advised to call their primary care provider, who can conduct a virtual assessment by phone or other technology. People can also call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 (24/7), where they can speak to a health care professional about their symptoms. As announced last week, the province is rapidly expanding service capacity to ensure timely responses and has increased Telehealth’s line capacity to more than 2,000 to help manage the high daily call volume.

In some cases, based on the virtual assessment, individuals may be referred by their primary care provider or Telehealth Ontario to one of the province’s 58 assessment centres for an in-person assessment. These centres, which are by referral only, are helping to ease the pressures on hospital emergency departments using innovative care models, including in some cases drive-thru testing.

As part of the investment of up to $304 million to enhance the province’s response to COVID-19, Ontario will be establishing additional assessment centres across the province. The centres are located in dedicated spaces, which will facilitate high-quality care to protect broader patient populations. The 58 centres that have already opened are in several municipalities across the province.
Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.



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Are they deaf, blind or just plain dumb? People walking into Rattlesnake park that was closed.

News 100 blueBy Staff

March 23, 2020



Rattlesnake 1 police car

Police vehicles blocked the entrance to the park – but they didn’t have the authority to physically prevent people from entering.

The message was pretty clear – the Conservation Halton Parks were closed – shut.

The cars that lined the upper reaches of Appleby Line outside the entrance to Rattlesnake Park took up most of the space on the road.

It is behaviour like that that forces governments to put tough rules in place.

Rattlesnake 2

All parked outside the entrance to Rattlesnake Park – Further up the road bylaw enforcement officers were diligently putting tickets underneath the windshield wipers.

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Food Bank has a slightly different problem - the food supply chain has some kinks in it

News 100 redBy Staff

March 23rd, 2020



The Food Bank operation in Burlington has some problems – not what you think.

They have funds on hand but the places they normally buy from don’t have quite enough in the way of supply.

Another problem is that the food they are given has to be quarantined for a bit because they don’t know what is being donated is totally totally virus free. Not that anyone would donate food that might be contaminated.

Food Bank - Robin

Robin Baily – Burlington Food Bank

Robin Baily, he runs the Food Bank did a video – it’s a little on the long side – six minutes – but worth listening to – try some of it.

Interesting insights – you’ll get to see your community in a different light.

Here’s the link: share it


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Rivers masks up for a food run - gets mistaken for a Ninja

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

March 23, 2020



It is frustrating, feeling helpless as we watch the daily roll out of pandemic numbers continue to rise, with no apparent end in sight. The PM and our provincial and federal health officials conduct these daily press conferences if only to confirm that indeed, each day is worse than the day before. If only we could keep more social distance between us and wash our hands more often….

We act as if we are strangers to a pandemic, even though we’ve lived with some lesser viral epidemics, like SARS. And then there was the Spanish Flu back in 1918. My grandmother in Manitoba lost half of her children to that flu.


Apparently a “must see” movie – it’s available on line.

But if you really want to get depressed you can watch the 2011 movie Contagion, which is scarily similar to what we are experiencing today – life imitating art. It should have been required watching for our health officials. Then perhaps they would have sounded the alarm bell earlier.

On Thursday I finally did a grocery run. I had decided the crowds at Costco last week would jeopardize social distancing, so avoided that. Besides, I wasn’t sure I’d cope watching all those folks filling the back of their pick up trucks with hand sanitizer and whatever else they could get their un-sanitized hands on.

But I was bored with staying around the house and there was absolutely nothing worth watching on TV except those depressing press conferences and the re-runs of Contagion. It is a lot quieter out there in the city now.

The supermarket parking lot was half empty and customer traffic light. I had masked up before entering the store, making me only one of two customers who took that precaution. The store clerks were mostly wearing gloves and were keen to wipe down the cart handles as you entered. And some of them actually managed a smile, though nobody can be too happy these days.

This Wuhan Virus, COVID 19, is a respiratory disease so is most likely transmitted via one’s mouth or nose – sneezing, coughing or even the spray of moisture droplets as someone speaks to you. So I am always going to wear a mask when I go out to shop, especially where there are queues like in a supermarket.

When it came to pay I noticed that the cashier was easily within my one metre social space, and I couldn’t help thinking how much more comfortable I’d be if she was wearing a mask as she spat out “will that be debit or credit”. No doubt she probably would be more comfortable too. I was thankful for my mask, but wished I’d worn glasses as well.

At the height of the epidemic in Wuhan everyone in public had to wear a mask or they’d be arrested. And that, in concert with the quarantine, brought China’s epidemic to heel. Of course Asian populations are used to seeing people wearing masks. It protects them from the overwhelming pollution coming from cars and trucks and industry there.


Columnist Rivers in costume?

Western attitudes are rooted in stereotypes. Bank robbers, bandits, ninjas and storm troopers all wear masks to hide their identities. And while the courts are sorting out whether a Muslim woman can say her citizenship oath under cover of a niqāb, one pretty much has to go bare-faced to work in Quebec’s public sector. Medical, dental and industrial/construction trades mainly use face masks to protect themselves.

There is a lot of mixed messaging originating from our health experts about whether the public should be wearing face masks to help contain this new virus. They’ll tell you that it’s more important in public health for the infected person to wear one – which doesn’t explain the doctor’s mask. And some experts will tell you that an improperly fitting mask provides improper protection, which they imply is worse than no protection at all.

But more than likely they know there won’t enough masks to go around if we all start wearing them. Especially if we are all wanting to use the disposable single-use version. Ventilators, masks, gloves and hand sterilizer are all in short supply, so much so that doctors have been approaching veterinarians to raid the cupboards.

Why didn’t our health authorities anticipate this back in January, when we still had lots of time? Same reason they didn’t call for a travel ban until the virus started to be transmitted within the community, I’m guessing. Likely this is one of those compromises in public policy. Act too early and be called a panic artist or act too late and be labeled as dithering.

bus driver safe

Bus driver is protected from the passengers.

But it’s not too late to call for everyone who serves the public to be wearing face protection. Nobody should catch this virus from a store clerk or bus driver. And you can’t practice social distancing for two or even one metre on crowded subway or bus. Fortunately some stores are installing plexiglass cashier shields to protect their customers.

Still, everyone needs to ensure that they’re neither infecting nor being infected. I’ll be proudly sporting a mask every time I go out, even if it means sterilizing and re-using my limited supply. Even if a mask won’t stop me being infected, it would show that I care about the health of all the people prepared to serve in these difficult times.

Rivers hand to faceRay Rivers writes regularly on both federal and provincial politics, applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking. Rivers was once a candidate for provincial office in Burlington. He was the founder of the Burlington citizen committee on sustainability at a time when climate warming was a hotly debated subject. Ray has a post graduate degree in economics that he earned at the University of Ottawa. Tweet @rayzrivers

Background links:

Contagion –   Best and worst Cases –    Sleeping at the Switch

Masking –    Experts on Masks –    Supplies

More Supplies –    Dithering –     Better than a Mask?

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Want to get into care mongering - there is just the place to do that.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 23, 2020



It is really interesting watching how people respond to a crisis.

The innovative ideas bubble to the surface – there is a new Facebook page that you might find interesting and useful.

Care mongersThis is a place where you can reach out and ask a question – offer some help.

One Mother needed adhesive for a child’s dental brace. Minutes later a different parent happened to have some she was never going to use. Done deal.

It works, some goofy stuff – which makes it kind of fun.

Link to this one.


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What does a State of Emergency mean and what can a Mayor actually do?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

March 23, 2020



Just what kind of power and authority does the Mayor have under the Declaration of Emergency Marianne Meed Ward put in place on Friday?

Here is what the statutes say:

4. (1) The head of council of a municipality may declare that an emergency exists in the municipality or in any part thereof and may take such action and make such orders as he or she considers necessary and are not contrary to law to implement the emergency plan of the municipality and to protect property and the health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants of the emergency area. R.S.O. 1990, c. E.9, s. 4 (1).

What this means is that a Mayor can take action just as long as she abides by the rules the Province has put in place.

Declaring a State of Emergency certainly captures the public’s attention – but there is more driving the message home needed. The lineup of cars outside the Rattlesnake Point Conservation park on Sunday (more than 60 cars) with enforcement officers on either side of the road writing up parking tickets.

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It is very tough for the hospitality sector and for those small operations that cater to the private sector.

News 100 redBy Staff

March 23rd, 2020



The financial damage hits different sectors of the economy. Restaurants don’t have customers walking through the doors but they are coping with takeout business. Tim Hortons has all the chairs on the tables but you can get a cup of coffee and a sandwich.

There are private business operations that are service based – there isn’t much in the way of fallback support for them.

Here is the story of one private sector company. It is painful.

The morning was busy with some work ideas and talking with people (I’m actually losing track of what day it is); this afternoon I had a 2 hour nap (unheard of!!). My response to you would not be a simple – “all is OK” .

People give me food and I’m enjoying making meals. The rent is paid through the end of March due to a fluke cash opportunity. And interesting conversations with people about potential collaborations in the future seem to keep happening.

Small business week

If steps are not taken soon we could see the hollowing out of the small business sector.

The flip side is that business would seem to be tough in the future – and I’m honestly unclear as to how that may unfold. One thing I do try to do is live my life from what unfolds naturally – and in this environment I need to be “impatiently patient” – since the way forward is completely murky.

Yes there is financing available – I spent all of Friday researching it and kind of wish I hadn’t – since by the end of the day it was a complete 180• degree change for me and was so disappointed in the government response.

Telling small business to apply for BDC support at rates between 5.05% and 17.05% doesn’t have an ounce of a creative solution in it. Harper did a better job in 2009 with the $10,000 Home Renovation Tax Credit bumped up to $14,000.

Yes there is EI for small business owners – although at this point I have no idea if I will qualify – although I will apply.

Reality is that the big pressure for small and medium business is rent and property taxes (which can be deferred yet still need to be paid). Forcing business to apply for debt to cover these two items when the government is the one who let months go before implementing any type of restrictions to people travelling and returning to Canada and are now forced into a crisis – leaves me speechless.

Add to that there are landlords with deep pockets who would like nothing more to get rid of some unattractive older leases – and it puts incredible pressure on tenants. It’s one thing for a business to own their building and defer mortgage payments. Landlords have a business to run – and they need to make their mortgage payments.

There needs to be a creative solution that explores ways of sharing the burden between landlords, tenants, municipalities for property taxes, and federal government on the rent (they got us into this mess).

Sorry if this email sounds grumpy – I’m simply sad that there isn’t one ounce of creativity in leadership.

We are not identifying the company or the owners – that’s not the important part; what matters is the hollowing out that might take place.

Bromides from the support groups staffed by people who are going to be paid for the duration of this crisis isn’t enough.

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