Weekend Playlist: Syd channels her inner Prince, a new single from The War On Drugs and more

Keeping up with new music releases can be a difficult task. Your Weekend Playlist offers a brief introduction to a broad range of the most interesting new tracks and emerging artists.This week’s playlist features new music from Caroline Polachek, TOBi and Homeshake. Plus, the Star’s Annette Ejiofor introduces a new collaboration between Tomi Thomas feat. Buju Banton.Click here to save the Spotify playlist.Syd: Fast CarSyd has to be the chillest artist working today. Through her music and her visuals, she exudes an unparalleled sense of effortless poise. Even as a member of Odd Future, the scrappy and boisterous hip hop collective from the late 2000s, Syd Tha Kid came off as above the fray, as if she (and Frank) were just there for the party as they plotted their next moves.Since then, Syd has helped change the face of R&B, first as a founder of the consistently solid jazz and funk-inflected band The Internet, and then as a solo artist — her exquisite 2017 debut album “Fin” drew critical acclaim for its intimate neo-soul aesthetics. Last week, Syd released “Fast Car,” a sultry single that takes all of five seconds to command the listener’s attention. Here, Syd’s voice sails high above a retro groove, as she gushes about newfound love. And just when you think Syd has reached the zenith of cool, she pulls out the guitar for an effects-drenched solo that would make Prince proud.Tomi Thomas feat. Buju Banton: HurricaneFrom the astir city of Lagos, Nigeria, comes Tomi Thomas and his newest single “Hurricane.” Produced by Genio Bambino, “Hurricane” features Grammy-nominated Reggae artist Buju Banton in a soft blend of Afrobeats, Reggae and R&B. The song, like the Dalia Dias directed music video, merges cultural snapshots of Nigeria and Jamaica. Thomas and Banton sing and rap in patois — Jamaican slang — and pidgin — referred to as Nigeria’s “broken English” — merging the two worlds into one rhythmic sound. Thomas is an up-and-comer akin to other Nigerian artists like Ayra Starr, Omah Lay and Tems — artists taking the beats of the motherland and the whispered hums heard across the nation, whether it be about democracy, life or love. Thomas kickstarted his career in a Nigerian group called Loud On Sound (LOS), a successful beginning to an already surging career.“Hurricane” is the latest single off his EP “Hopeless Romantic,” in which Thomas and Banton warn of the tempest woman they seek. The video highlights the lyrics of the disruptive woman Thomas and Banton sing of, while referencing nodes of Nigeria and Jamaica such as the sand-laced streets and cemented homes, telling of the villages back home. Praise be to Thomas and Banton on “Hurricane.” The song and visual are sure to bring warm feelings to those from the motherland to those admiring from afar — so long as you remember, love can catch you just like a hurricane.— Annette Ejiofor The War On Drugs: Living ProofLast week, The War On Drugs dropped the first single off their upcoming album “I Don’t Live Here Anymore.” This is big news if you own a car: over the past decade the Philadelphia band’s sprawling heartland psychedelia has earned them a reputation as the ultimate road trip companion.I won’t lie, though, the first few minutes of “Living Proof” had me slightly worried that Adam Granduciel and the boys had gone full folk. Not that this would be an entirely negative prospect — the front half of “Living Proof” is a pristine mixture of softly strummed guitar, warm piano chords and Granduciel tender drawl. Just over three minutes into the track, however, the song shifts, changing pace as the rest of the band enters and sets the stage for what makes The War on Drugs possibly the best rock band in the world right now: Granduciel’s sensational and transfixing electric guitar playing.Like Neil Young before him, Granduciel’s playing is characterized by the careful use of space and feel. Each note is packed with tangible emotion. The solo only lasts about a minute, leaving the listener dreaming of the open road and parched for more. TOBi, Mick Jenkins: Off The DrugsAmong this year’s extremely competitive Polaris Music shortlist nominees is Oluwatobi Feyisara Ajibolade, a Toronto via Brampton via Lagos rapper who goes by the moniker TOBi. His acclaimed sophomore album, Elements Vol. 1, came out last fall and landed him a Juno Award for Rap Recording of the Year.TOBi’s latest release, a collaboration with Chicago rapper Mick Jenkins, is an excellent showcase of the MC’s vocal agility and laid-back charm. Trading bars over an upbeat guitar riff and cheery horns, TOBi and Jenkins offer up a track that feels — both lyrically and sonically — like a natural sequel to Chance the Rapper’s 2016 classic, “Same Drugs.”Caroline Polachek: Bunny Is A RiderWith the two-dose summer in full swing, there’s a certain seduction to the idea of just dropping all commitments — to living a loose and chaotic lifestyle for a few months to make up for lost time. This reckless sense of freedom i

Weekend Playlist: Syd channels her inner Prince, a new single from The War On Drugs and more

Keeping up with new music releases can be a difficult task. Your Weekend Playlist offers a brief introduction to a broad range of the most interesting new tracks and emerging artists.

This week’s playlist features new music from Caroline Polachek, TOBi and Homeshake. Plus, the Star’s Annette Ejiofor introduces a new collaboration between Tomi Thomas feat. Buju Banton.

Click here to save the Spotify playlist.

Syd: Fast Car

Syd has to be the chillest artist working today. Through her music and her visuals, she exudes an unparalleled sense of effortless poise. Even as a member of Odd Future, the scrappy and boisterous hip hop collective from the late 2000s, Syd Tha Kid came off as above the fray, as if she (and Frank) were just there for the party as they plotted their next moves.

Since then, Syd has helped change the face of R&B, first as a founder of the consistently solid jazz and funk-inflected band The Internet, and then as a solo artist — her exquisite 2017 debut album “Fin” drew critical acclaim for its intimate neo-soul aesthetics.

Last week, Syd released “Fast Car,” a sultry single that takes all of five seconds to command the listener’s attention. Here, Syd’s voice sails high above a retro groove, as she gushes about newfound love. And just when you think Syd has reached the zenith of cool, she pulls out the guitar for an effects-drenched solo that would make Prince proud.

Tomi Thomas feat. Buju Banton: Hurricane

From the astir city of Lagos, Nigeria, comes Tomi Thomas and his newest single “Hurricane.” Produced by Genio Bambino, “Hurricane” features Grammy-nominated Reggae artist Buju Banton in a soft blend of Afrobeats, Reggae and R&B. The song, like the Dalia Dias directed music video, merges cultural snapshots of Nigeria and Jamaica. Thomas and Banton sing and rap in patois — Jamaican slang — and pidgin — referred to as Nigeria’s “broken English” — merging the two worlds into one rhythmic sound.

Thomas is an up-and-comer akin to other Nigerian artists like Ayra Starr, Omah Lay and Tems — artists taking the beats of the motherland and the whispered hums heard across the nation, whether it be about democracy, life or love. Thomas kickstarted his career in a Nigerian group called Loud On Sound (LOS), a successful beginning to an already surging career.

“Hurricane” is the latest single off his EP “Hopeless Romantic,” in which Thomas and Banton warn of the tempest woman they seek. The video highlights the lyrics of the disruptive woman Thomas and Banton sing of, while referencing nodes of Nigeria and Jamaica such as the sand-laced streets and cemented homes, telling of the villages back home.

Praise be to Thomas and Banton on “Hurricane.” The song and visual are sure to bring warm feelings to those from the motherland to those admiring from afar — so long as you remember, love can catch you just like a hurricane.

— Annette Ejiofor

The War On Drugs: Living Proof

Last week, The War On Drugs dropped the first single off their upcoming album “I Don’t Live Here Anymore.” This is big news if you own a car: over the past decade the Philadelphia band’s sprawling heartland psychedelia has earned them a reputation as the ultimate road trip companion.

I won’t lie, though, the first few minutes of “Living Proof” had me slightly worried that Adam Granduciel and the boys had gone full folk. Not that this would be an entirely negative prospect — the front half of “Living Proof” is a pristine mixture of softly strummed guitar, warm piano chords and Granduciel tender drawl.

Just over three minutes into the track, however, the song shifts, changing pace as the rest of the band enters and sets the stage for what makes The War on Drugs possibly the best rock band in the world right now: Granduciel’s sensational and transfixing electric guitar playing.

Like Neil Young before him, Granduciel’s playing is characterized by the careful use of space and feel. Each note is packed with tangible emotion. The solo only lasts about a minute, leaving the listener dreaming of the open road and parched for more.

TOBi, Mick Jenkins: Off The Drugs

Among this year’s extremely competitive Polaris Music shortlist nominees is Oluwatobi Feyisara Ajibolade, a Toronto via Brampton via Lagos rapper who goes by the moniker TOBi. His acclaimed sophomore album, Elements Vol. 1, came out last fall and landed him a Juno Award for Rap Recording of the Year.

TOBi’s latest release, a collaboration with Chicago rapper Mick Jenkins, is an excellent showcase of the MC’s vocal agility and laid-back charm. Trading bars over an upbeat guitar riff and cheery horns, TOBi and Jenkins offer up a track that feels — both lyrically and sonically — like a natural sequel to Chance the Rapper’s 2016 classic, “Same Drugs.”

Caroline Polachek: Bunny Is A Rider

With the two-dose summer in full swing, there’s a certain seduction to the idea of just dropping all commitments — to living a loose and chaotic lifestyle for a few months to make up for lost time.

This reckless sense of freedom is embodied by the protagonist in the new single from Caroline Polachek, which she describes as “a summer jam about being unavailable.” Produced by her frequent collaborator Danny L Harle (a former member of the hyperpop incubator PC Music), “Bunny Is A Rider” is a glittery slice of pop perfection, one that makes specific reference to indie influences of the past, while solidifying the forward-looking sound Polachek has molded since the disbandment of Chairlift back in 2016.

“Bunny is slippery, impossible to get ahold of. Maybe it’s a fantasy, maybe it’s a bad attitude,” Polachek explains. “But anyone can be Bunny, at least for three minutes and seventeen seconds.”

Bonus Track

Homeshake: Passenger Seat

The beloved, Toronto-based lo-fi artist is back with a second single from his upcoming album, “Under the Weather,” which drops Sept. 10th. Get woozy.

Save the Spotify playlist for weekly updates:

Richie Assaly is a Toronto-based digital producer for the Star. Reach him via email: rassaly@thestar.caAnnette Ejiofor is an Ottawa-based digital producer for the Star. Reach her via email at aejiofor@torstar.ca.

Source : Toronto Star More   

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Today’s coronavirus news: Mostly spectator-free opening ceremony kicks off Tokyo Games; New Zealand pops 'travel bubble' with Australia over COVID-19 cases

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Friday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available. 8:25 a.m. One of two Iowa prison nurses fired for accidentally giving dozens of inmates large overdoses of the coronavirus vaccine is appealing her termination, arguing she is “blameless“ for the mix-up.The Iowa Department of Corrections fired Amanda Dodson, a registered nurse at the maximum-security Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison, after an investigation found 77 inmates received shots containing up to six times the recommended dose of the Pfizer vaccine.Dodson’s termination letter, obtained by The Associated Press through an open records request, blamed her for “improper COVID vaccination procedures” that resulted in inmates receiving overdoses on April 20.The department said inmates reported side effects associated with the vaccine such as body aches and fevers, but none were sick enough to require hospitalization and all later recovered.8 a.m. Cheryl Barker’s been around nursing long enough to know when the system’s not working.She’s been a Nova Scotia nurse for 50 years — starting fresh out of a three-year nursing program when she was 22 — and in those five decades she’s seen pretty much all the job has to offer.She’s seen the profession go through booms and busts. She’s seen younger nurses come and older ones go. She’s watched as the province’s — and the country’s — pre-pandemic chronic nursing shortage has escalated to critical levels because of the coronavirus.At 72, she’s now past retirement, but, because she loves the job, loves the idea of helping people, she’s been working as a casual for the last nine years.That’s until now. Something’s changed.Read the full story from the Star’s Steve McKinley7:30 a.m. In recent weeks, Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout has made significant progress, with efforts shifting to reach eligible stragglers and those left behind. Just one population remains barred from the much-coveted jab in the arm: children under 12.But with a return to schools in September expected to include the resumption of extracurricular activities, as well as loosened rules on masking and distancing, parents have asked: will young children be eligible for vaccination in the fall? Based on existing data, should they be?Dr. Ari Bitnun, a pediatric infectious diseases physician at Sick Kids, said to justify vaccinating young children, who usually show very mild symptoms, if any, when infected, the vaccine must be safe. Taking time to develop strong safety data before jabs become widely available to kids will give Ontarians more confidence.Read the full story from the Star’s Maria Sarrouh 7 a.m. As public health units across Ontario ramp up efforts to fully vaccinate all eligible residents against COVID-19, many regions have a long way to go to meet provincial thresholds for exiting Step 3 and returning to some semblance of normal life.All public health units have vaccinated over 50 per cent of their populations 12 years old and over, according to the Ministry of Health’s most recent figures. But while the overall provincial average is nearing 64 per cent for the eligible populations who have been fully vaccinated, several of the province’s 34 health units are substantially below that.“It is absolutely concerning,” said Ashleigh Tuite, an infectious disease epidemiologist, at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, noting the province-wide numbers mask some of the variability between regions, and even neighbourhoods with lower rates.Read the full story from the Star’s Kenyon Wallace and May Warren6:25 a.m. More Americans are now getting vaccinated against coronavirus in the areas worst hit by the virulent Delta variant, a potentially hopeful sign as cases continue to soar, public health experts said Thursday.President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 czar Jeff Zients said more people in the five states with the highest infection rates — Florida, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Missouri — are now getting vaccinated on a daily basis than the national average.“People are feeling the impact of being unvaccinated and taking action,” Zients said at a briefing of the White House coronavirus task force. “Each shot matters each person is a step toward putting this pandemic behind us.”Republican Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, a pro-Trump stalwart who had refused to get a vaccine until now, got his first vaccine shot last weekend in a sign that fear of illness might be overcoming politically motivated resistance.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky suggested that the efforts of public figures could be a game changer.“Maybe you’re seeing some of your local officials stepping forward,” Walensky said.Florida alone accounts for 20 per cent of the cases nationwide, and Missouri and Texas account for another 20 per cent, Zients said.Almost all the serious cases, including 97 per cent of those hospitalized and 99.5 per cent

Today’s coronavirus news: Mostly spectator-free opening ceremony kicks off Tokyo Games; New Zealand pops 'travel bubble' with Australia over COVID-19 cases

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Friday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

8:25 a.m. One of two Iowa prison nurses fired for accidentally giving dozens of inmates large overdoses of the coronavirus vaccine is appealing her termination, arguing she is “blameless“ for the mix-up.

The Iowa Department of Corrections fired Amanda Dodson, a registered nurse at the maximum-security Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison, after an investigation found 77 inmates received shots containing up to six times the recommended dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Dodson’s termination letter, obtained by The Associated Press through an open records request, blamed her for “improper COVID vaccination procedures” that resulted in inmates receiving overdoses on April 20.

The department said inmates reported side effects associated with the vaccine such as body aches and fevers, but none were sick enough to require hospitalization and all later recovered.

8 a.m. Cheryl Barker’s been around nursing long enough to know when the system’s not working.

She’s been a Nova Scotia nurse for 50 years — starting fresh out of a three-year nursing program when she was 22 — and in those five decades she’s seen pretty much all the job has to offer.

She’s seen the profession go through booms and busts. She’s seen younger nurses come and older ones go. She’s watched as the province’s — and the country’s — pre-pandemic chronic nursing shortage has escalated to critical levels because of the coronavirus.

At 72, she’s now past retirement, but, because she loves the job, loves the idea of helping people, she’s been working as a casual for the last nine years.

That’s until now. Something’s changed.

Read the full story from the Star’s Steve McKinley

7:30 a.m. In recent weeks, Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout has made significant progress, with efforts shifting to reach eligible stragglers and those left behind. Just one population remains barred from the much-coveted jab in the arm: children under 12.

But with a return to schools in September expected to include the resumption of extracurricular activities, as well as loosened rules on masking and distancing, parents have asked: will young children be eligible for vaccination in the fall? Based on existing data, should they be?

Dr. Ari Bitnun, a pediatric infectious diseases physician at Sick Kids, said to justify vaccinating young children, who usually show very mild symptoms, if any, when infected, the vaccine must be safe. Taking time to develop strong safety data before jabs become widely available to kids will give Ontarians more confidence.

Read the full story from the Star’s Maria Sarrouh

7 a.m. As public health units across Ontario ramp up efforts to fully vaccinate all eligible residents against COVID-19, many regions have a long way to go to meet provincial thresholds for exiting Step 3 and returning to some semblance of normal life.

All public health units have vaccinated over 50 per cent of their populations 12 years old and over, according to the Ministry of Health’s most recent figures. But while the overall provincial average is nearing 64 per cent for the eligible populations who have been fully vaccinated, several of the province’s 34 health units are substantially below that.

“It is absolutely concerning,” said Ashleigh Tuite, an infectious disease epidemiologist, at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, noting the province-wide numbers mask some of the variability between regions, and even neighbourhoods with lower rates.

Read the full story from the Star’s Kenyon Wallace and May Warren

6:25 a.m. More Americans are now getting vaccinated against coronavirus in the areas worst hit by the virulent Delta variant, a potentially hopeful sign as cases continue to soar, public health experts said Thursday.

President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 czar Jeff Zients said more people in the five states with the highest infection rates — Florida, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and Missouri — are now getting vaccinated on a daily basis than the national average.

“People are feeling the impact of being unvaccinated and taking action,” Zients said at a briefing of the White House coronavirus task force. “Each shot matters each person is a step toward putting this pandemic behind us.”

Republican Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, a pro-Trump stalwart who had refused to get a vaccine until now, got his first vaccine shot last weekend in a sign that fear of illness might be overcoming politically motivated resistance.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky suggested that the efforts of public figures could be a game changer.

“Maybe you’re seeing some of your local officials stepping forward,” Walensky said.

Florida alone accounts for 20 per cent of the cases nationwide, and Missouri and Texas account for another 20 per cent, Zients said.

Almost all the serious cases, including 97 per cent of those hospitalized and 99.5 per cent of deaths, are among unvaccinated people.

“Almost every death from COVID-19 is a preventable tragedy,” Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said.

6:20 a.m. New Zealand has closed its border to Australia, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Friday, as the neighboring country was struggling to contain new COVID-19 outbreaks.

The so-called Trans-Tasman travel bubble began on April 19 and allowed Australians and New Zealanders to travel between the two countries without the need to quarantine.

However, Ardern said the Delta variant had "materially changed the risk profile" and COVID-19 is now widespread in Australia.

"We've always said that our response would evolve as the virus evolved. This is not a decision we have taken lightly, but it is the right decision to keep New Zealanders safe."

The prime minister said New Zealand's border would close from midnight Friday and would remain closed for at least eight weeks.

The suspension would give Australia time to manage its current outbreaks, Ardern said.

"We do want the bubble to resume. We remain committed to it, and when I spoke to (Australia Prime Minister) Scott Morrison this morning I conveyed this view directly. But it must be safe."

A travel bubble between New Zealand and the Cook Islands remains in place.

New Zealand, a country of 5 million, has recorded a total of 2,499 coronavirus infections with 26 deaths.

6 a.m. Pfizer Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine was just 39 per cent effective in keeping people from getting infected by the contagious Delta variant in Israel in recent weeks, according to the country’s health ministry, but provided a strong shield against hospitalization and more severe forms of the virus.

The vaccine provided 88 per cent protection against hospitalization and 91.4 per cent against severe illness for an unspecified number of people studied between June 20 and July 17, according to a report Thursday from the health ministry.

The report said that the data could be skewed because of different ways of testing vaccinated groups of people versus those who hadn’t been inoculated.

The Delta variant first emerged in India and is spreading around the globe as governments race to inoculate people, sometimes infecting those already fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The mutation has forced some countries to delay or rethink plans to loosen curbs on businesses, activity and travel.

Israel has had one of the world’s most effective inoculation drives, with 57 per cent of the population fully vaccinated, but has seen a recent surge in infections due to Delta. Critical cases have also climbed, but remain a fraction of the peak earlier this year.

Friday 4 a.m. As COVID-19 vaccination rates increase and case numbers drop across the country, the provinces and territories have begun releasing the reopening plans for businesses, events and recreational facilities.

Most of the plans are based on each jurisdiction reaching vaccination targets at certain dates, while also keeping the number of cases and hospitalizations down.

Here's a look at what reopening plans look like across the country:

Newfoundland and Labrador:

The province's reopening plan begins with a transition period during which some health restrictions, like limits on gatherings, will loosen.

Requirements for testing and self-isolation lifted entirely for fully vaccinated Canadian travellers on Canada Day, while those requirements will ease over the next few months for travellers with just one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

If case counts, hospitalization and vaccination targets are met, the province expects to reopen dance floors as early as Aug. 15, and lift capacity restrictions on businesses, restaurants and lounges while maintaining physical distancing between tables.

As early as Sept. 15, mask requirements for indoor public spaces will be reviewed.

Nova Scotia:

Nova Scotia has further reduced COVID-19 public health orders after entering the fourth phase of its reopening.

Under the new rules, retail stores can operate at full capacity, churches and other venues can operate at half capacity or with a maximum of 150 people, and up to 50 people can attend outdoor family gatherings.

Capacity limits for dance classes, music lessons and indoor play spaces have also been lifted.

Organized sports practices, games, league play, competitions and recreation programs can involve up to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors without physical distancing.

Day camps can operate with 30 campers per group plus staff and volunteers, following the day camp guidelines. In addition, professional and amateur arts and culture rehearsals and performances can involve up to 25 people indoors and 50 outdoors without physical distancing.

Meanwhile, fully vaccinated residents of long-term care homes can now have visitors in their rooms and visit their family's homes, including for overnight stays.

New Brunswick:

New Brunswick has moved into Phase 2 of its reopening plan, having reached its goal of having 20 per cent of people 65 or older vaccinated with two doses of a COVID vaccine.

Premier Blaine Higgs says the change opens travel without the need to isolate to all of Nova Scotia after opening to P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Travellers from elsewhere in Canada who've had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine can enter the province without the need to isolate, while those who haven't had a shot must still isolate and produce a negative test before being released from quarantine.

Other changes allow restaurants, gyms and salons to operate at full capacity as long as customer contact lists are kept.

In the third phase, the province will lift all COVID-19 restrictions.

Prince Edward Island:

Prince Edward Island has dropped its requirement that non-medical masks be worn in public indoor spaces.

Chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison says masks are still encouraged to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and businesses are free to adopt stricter rules.

Officials say those who serve the public, such as in restaurants, retail stores and hair salons, should continue to wear a mask.

All health-care facilities will continue to require masks until 80 per cent of eligible P.E.I. residents are fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile, the province has allowed personal gatherings to increase so that up to 20 people can get together indoors and outdoors. Restaurants are allowed to have tables of up to 20. Special occasion events like backyard weddings and anniversary parties of up to 50 people hosted by individuals are permitted with a reviewed operational plan.

Organized gatherings hosted by a business or other organization are permitted with groups of up to 200 people outdoors or 100 people indoors.

On Sept. 12, the province expects physical distancing measures to be eased, as well as allowing personal and organized gatherings to go ahead without limits.

Quebec:

Quebec's government has removed capacity restrictions in retail stores across the province and reduced the two-metre physical distancing health order to one metre.

Quebecers from separate households are now required to keep a one-metre distance from one another indoors and outdoors instead of two metres.

The previous two-metre distance now applies only at places characterized by physical activity or singing.

Outdoor events are limited to a maximum of 5,000 people, while Indoor events are capped at 3,500 spectators.

Fans and those attending theatres or other performance venues must keep at least one empty seat between each other, and wearing a mask in public spaces remains mandatory.

All of Quebec is now at the lowest green alert level under the province's COVID-19 response plan as public health restrictions continue to ease.

Last month, the province permitted gyms and restaurant dining rooms to reopen. Supervised outdoor sports and recreation are also allowed in groups of up to 25 people.

Quebec ended its nightly curfew on May 28, and also lifted travel bans between regions.

Ontario:

Ontario has moved to the third step of its reopening plan, allowing for more indoor activities including restaurant dining and gym use, while larger crowds are permitted for outdoor activities.

Masking and physical distancing rules, however, remain in place.

Social gatherings are limited to 25 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. Religious services and other ceremonies are allowed indoors with larger groups of people who are physically distanced.

Nightclubs and similar establishments are open to 25 per cent capacity. Crowd limits have expanded for retail stores and salons, which can offer services that require masks to be removed.

Spectators are permitted at sporting events, concert venues, cinemas and theatres, with larger limits on crowds for outdoor events.

Museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, bingo halls and amusement parks are also open with larger crowd limits on outdoor attractions.

Manitoba:

Manitoba is loosening restrictions and allowing extra freedoms for people who have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine as it moves into the second phase of its reopening plan.

Indoor gatherings are now allowed for up to five people, on top of those who live in a household, and 25 people in indoor public spaces. Outdoor gatherings are expanded to 25 people on private property and 150 in public spaces.

Restaurants and bars are allowed up to 50 per cent capacity and opening hours are extended until midnight. Retail stores can run at 50 per cent capacity or 500 people, whichever is lower. Fitness centres can open at 50 per cent capacity, but masks are still required.

Outdoor weddings and funerals can have up to 150 people and indoor events now have a limit of 25. Faith-based gatherings can expand to half capacity or 150 people indoors.

Businesses, such as casinos, museums and movie theatres, can open at 50 per cent capacity but only fully vaccinated Manitobans can take part. An upcoming Blue Bombers CFL game will also be open fully to fans who are double-vaccinated.

Saskatchewan:

Saskatchewan has removed all public health orders — including the province-wide mandatory masking order, as well as capacity limits on events and gathering sizes.

Premier Scott Moe says the province decided to go ahead with full implementation of Step 3 of its Reopening Roadmap because more than 70 per cent of residents over the age of 18 and 69 per cent of those over 12 have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Despite the lifting of the health orders, Regina and Saskatoon say they will still keep up extra cleaning in municipal facilities.

Alberta:

All remaining COVID-19 restrictions were lifted on July 1.

There are no longer limits on weddings, funerals or bans on indoor social gatherings. In addition, there are no more limits on gyms, sports or fitness activities, no more capacity limits at restaurants, in retail stores or in places of worship.

Anyone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 will still be required to self-isolate and protective measures at continuing care centres may remain.

The overall requirement for masks in public indoor spaces has ended, but masks may still be required in taxis, on public transit and on ride shares.

Some remaining COVID-19 health restrictions in continuing-care centres have also been eased.

The province says it is no longer limiting the number of visitors, since vaccination rates are rising and there have been few cases in care homes.

Visitors, however, still need to be screened for COVID-19 symptoms or known exposure, and masks are still required in common areas.

The province recommends people wear a mask at all times when visiting a care home if they have not been fully vaccinated, including children under 12.

Limits on dining and recreation activities have been eliminated, and residents are not required to be screened if they are re-entering the building or go into quarantine if they have gone off site.

British Columbia:

The province took the next step in its reopening plan on Canada Day when most COVID-19 restrictions were removed and outdoor gatherings of up to 5,000 people got the go ahead.

Restaurants and pubs no longer have limits on the number of diners, but people are still not allowed to mingle with those at other tables. Masks are no longer mandatory and recreational travel outside the province can resume.

Casinos and nightclubs are open for the first time in 16 months, but some barriers remain in place and socializing between tables is not allowed.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says some businesses may want people to continue wearing masks for now, and everyone should comply with those requirements or face the potential of fines.

Meanwhile, visitors to long-term care homes will soon be allowed to see loved ones without COVID-19 restrictions. Unscheduled visits resumed July 19, but staff will be required to report whether they have been immunized.

All COVID-19 restrictions are expected to be removed on Labour Day.

Nunavut:

Public health orders affecting what is allowed to open vary by community.

Restrictions in Iqaluit were eased on July 2. Travel restrictions in and out of Iqaluit have been lifted. A household can now have up to 10 people in their home and up to 50 people can gather outdoors.

Theatres and restaurants can also open at 25 per cent capacity or 25 people, whichever is less.

Meanwhile in Kinngait and Rankin Inlet, outdoor gatherings are limited to 100 people and those indoors are restricted to a household plus 15 people. Restaurants and bars are allowed to open for regular business at 50 per cent capacity, and there must be a two metre distance between tables, with no more than six people seated or around each table.

Northwest Territories:

Up to 25 people are allowed in a business that is following an approved COVID-19 plan. Households can have up to 10 people with a maximum of five guests from another household.

Non-essential travel outside the territory is not recommended, and leisure travel into the territory is not permitted.

The territory is no longer requiring masks to be worn in public places in Yellowknife and three other communities.

Chief public health officer Dr. Kami Kandola says it's still a good idea to wear a mask indoors when there is a crowd, poor ventilation, or shouting or singing.

Yukon:

Yukon has expanded the rules for gatherings, allowing up to 200 people to get together, as long as masks are worn indoors and other health protocols are followed.

Fully vaccinated people can have personal gatherings of up to 20 people indoors and 50 outdoors, but the unvaccinated are encouraged to stick with their “safe six” because they are at significantly higher risk.

Bars and restaurants are allowed to operate at full capacity with restrictions.

The government says starting Aug. 4, people returning to the territory will not be required to self-isolate and masks in indoor public places will not be required.

Bars and restaurants will also be allowed to return to full capacity without the need for physical distancing.

Thursday 8:13 p.m. British Columbia’s COVID-19 cases are creeping up again with the province reporting the highest numbers in a month, The Canadian Press reports.

Health officials reported 89 cases of COVID-19 Thursday, figures last seen in mid-June, according to CP.

In a news release, officials say the total number of active infections in B.C. is 781 and there have been no new deaths.

There are 53 people are in hospital with 15 in intensive care.

Health officials say there are two outbreaks in the Fraser Health region, in an acute care facility and a long-term home.

Officials say more than 80 per cent of those eligible have received their first vaccine dose, while 57 per cent are fully vaccinated.

Source : Toronto Star More   

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