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CJRO Radio news for April 6 to April 12

Candice Vetter, reporting from North Russell. (French version below).

I have tried to keep on top of the news as it unfolds, and how that news will affect our coverage area, but I may have missed something important. There’s been too much to note it all, but I will try to clarify some of the changing or confusing issues.

First off, a lot of our listeners are employed in industries that are still considered essential. But this is not the normal definition. That only means you are allowed to work. It does not mean you have to work. If you feel unsafe you can refuse work and your employer cannot legally punish you.

Although most stores and services are quickly adding protective measures for their workers, not all employers are following the rules or are able to safely follow the rules, and not all coworkers take proper precautions. According to one of Premier Ford’s earlier speeches, if you feel threatened you can, and you should, refuse work.

The new Canada Emergency Response Benefit is now accepting applications. Either online, or using the automated phone line. For more information, go to Canada.ca and follow the links or https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/apply-for-cerb-with-cra.html

Applications can only be applied for on certain days, dependent on when you were born. People born in January, February or March can apply on Mondays. Those born in April, May or June can apply on Tuesdays.Those born July, August or September can apply on Wednesdays. And those born October, November or December can apply on Thursdays.

The benefit is currently only for those who will earn no income for specific periods, beginning March 15. In the Prime Minister’s daily address on Monday, April 6 he said there will be additional CERB funding for people whose income has been seriously reduced, but they have been able to earn small amounts. It sounded like this includes employees and self-employed individuals, but we’ll see, it’s an ever changing story.

Some taxpayers have received a Notice of Assessment that says they must file and pay income taxes by April 30. But, the actual due date for filing individual tax returns has been extended to June 1, 2020. Payment doesn’t have to be made until September 1.

It sounds like Canada’s Big Six banks have finally reached an agreement with the federal government and the Bank of Canada to reduce credit card interest rates. Some clients’ rates will temporarily go from around 20 per cent compound interest to 10.99 per cent. This appears to apply to personal and to small business customers who are receiving payment deferrals due to the outbreak. It is unclear if that means persons not receiving deferrals have to pay full rate or not.

At a time when everyone is being ordered to do their business electronically, it seems the banks should be a major part of the solution. It was about two weeks ago that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau asked the banks to cooperate.

One wonders why first, it took the banks two weeks to agree, considering that entire factories have retooled their operations to produce health supplies.

Second, why is this measure only for three months when projections are for a two-year pandemic.

Third, why are the Big Six banks calling in business loans, when the government has the power to stop them.

Finally, why have the banks been allowed to charge outrageous interest rates for all these years considering they have paid almost zero interest for the use of that money? Maybe change is in the wind at last.

And now a shout out to the Caisse Desjardins. CJRO was told it was the first financial institution in this area to take immediate action, although I couldn’t find absolute verification of that. Regardless, they were on board early to help their clients.

Regarding bills, the City of Ottawa has extended payment times for most property tax bills. They were due March 19 and June 18, and now there is a grace period until October 30. But you must apply – it is not automatic. Go to the Taxes homepage on Ottawa.ca for information.

In Russell Township penalties on tax bills, water or sewer bills due at the beginning of April and May will be waived until May 30th. After that Council will reassess the situation.

Don’t fall for COVID-19 scams. Be alert for anything the least bit suspicious. There is one text scam which says you have been given money from the Government of Canada and you just have to provide your information to receive the funds. This is not true!

No one from the government or a health provider will be sending texts or emails, or making phone calls, asking for your banking or credit card information. You must apply for any grants. They won’t come out of the blue.

A phone scam has callers saying, “Your test results have come back positive for COVID-19. Give me your address and credit card number so I can mail you your antibiotics.” No one is mailing anyone anything! It’s a trick to use your credit card. And antibiotics don’t even help with viruses.

Rules for physical distancing have become much more stringent. All municipal parks are open for walking or cycling through only. No stopping allowed, no close approaches to others, no walking with anyone you don’t live with, no sitting on benches or picnic tables, no use of play structures, in other words don’t touch anything. That is the easiest and most effective way to stay safe. Don’t touch. Wash your hands anyway. It’s easy to touch something and forget you did. Take hand sanitizer, alcohol wipes, or even soap and water with you in case you do touch something. Don’t touch your face.

Parking lots are also closed, which is understandable but problematic, as spring is coming to Canada and people need to get into the outdoors. Public washrooms are also closed, causing problems which I won’t describe on the radio, but you can imagine. So far officials have not announced ways to deal with these unintended consequences. For now, the best way to get outdoors is to go somewhere within walking distance of your home.

Parks Canada also has suspended all visitor services and motor vehicle access to national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas.

For current pass holders, the end dates of passes will be automatically extended. If you have a campsite reservation the Parks will try to contact you, or you can contact them through Canada.ca.

Physical distancing for shopping and services is also stricter now. The Province of Ontario has reduced the types of businesses allowed to stay open. Many which are allowed to stay open are only taking orders in advance by credit card payment, and delivering the products to your home, or to the trunk of your car outside their doors. Most are also operating with reduced staff who are at high risk of exposure. Ordering can usually be done over the phone or online.

The Township of Russell and the Russell Library are gathering a list of volunteers who would like to help in their community during this time of need. People can help with grocery delivery, medication delivery, or talking to someone on the phone for company. Go to Russell.ca and click on COVID-19 Info to register to volunteer or to receive assistance.

A COVID-19 assessment and care centre has been set up in Winchester, across the street from the hospital. Ottawa’s assessment centre is at Brewer Arena near Sunnyside and Bronson.

Ottawa Fire Service has implemented a burn ban. The Rural Sector Fire Chief said it was due to the current state of emergency, but also normal. He said although the ground is wet in most areas, the grass, weeds and other ground foliage is dry at the tips. Fire will roll along the tops, creating rapid expansion of grass or brush fires. Also, fire trucks cannot enter soft or muddy ground without getting stuck.

The Navan Pharmacy is open during the COVID-19 epidemic, but working reduced hours. Patients can phone, email or use their online forms to fill and refill their prescriptions.

If you have a story the community should know, we’d like to hear from you. Send an email to newsCJRO@gmail.com.

CJRO – last on the dial, first for local news. Stay safe.

Nouvelles pour la semaine du 6 au 12 Avril

La COVID-19 continue de faire des ravages à travers le monde.

Il y a maintenant plus de 4000 cas en Ontario dont 345 à Ottawa en date du 6 avril.

La province rapporte que 146 personnes sont décédées et que 1449 individus ont été guéris du virus.

À Ottawa, l’âge médian des personnes affecté est de 48 ans, 14 pourcents des cas requièrent une hospitalisation et six pourcents des cas sont aux soins intensifs.

Afin de prévenir la propagation de la COVID-19 l’agence de la santé publique du Canada recommande

  • restez à la maison à moins d’être obligé de vous rendre au travail
    • parlez à votre employeur de la possibilité de travailler de la maison, si possible
  • évitez tous les déplacements non essentiels dans la communauté
  • ne pas participer à des rassemblements de groupe
  • De limitez les contacts avec les personnes présentant un risque plus élevé (comme les aînés et les personnes en mauvaise santé)
  • De sortir pour faire de l’exercice, mais demeurez près de votre domicile
  • De toujours garder une distance d’au moins 2 longueurs de bras (environ 2 mètres) entre vous et les autres.

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Après la conversion de l’aréna Brewer en centre de dépistage de la COVID-19 la ville d’Ottawa va ouvrir une clinique spécialisée pour la COVID-19, le lundi 6 avril dans l’ouest de la Ville. La fonction principale de la clinique sera d’offrir des traitements aux personnes ayant des symptômes du Coronavirus qui ne peuvent pas être pris en charge à la maison.

La clinique sera située dans les locaux de l’école intermédiaire D. A. Moodie dans le quartier Bells Corners. Elle sera ouverte de 9 h à 16 h chaque jour. Elle sera dotée de l’équipement requis pour faire des examens diagnostiques, comme des radiographies du thorax et des analyses de laboratoire.

Une deuxième clinique de soins pour les patients atteints de la COVID-19, située dans l’est d’Ottawa et gérée par l’Hôpital Montfort, a été mise sur pied et ouvrira au besoin comme prochaine étape dans la lutte contre la COVID-19 à l’échelle régionale.

On ne sait cependant pas encore où cette clinique sera située ou quand elle ouvrira.

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Due aux travaux de revitalisation du chemin de Montréal la circulation sera réduite à une voix dans chaque direction, entre le pont Cummings et la rue Montgomery. La circulation sera aussi réduite a une voix sur le chemin North River entre le chemin de Montréal et la rue Selkirk.

À partir du vendredi 10 avril et pendant tout l’été, le chemin de Montréal sera réduit à une voie dans chaque direction entre la bretelle de sortie de la route régionale 174 en direction ouest et la bretelle d’accès à la route régionale 174 en direction est pour la construction du prolongement vers l’est de la Ligne de la Confédération (Étape 2).

Une voie de virage à gauche au niveau de la bretelle de sortie de la route régionale 174 en direction est sera fermée. Le sentier du côté nord du chemin de Montréal sera fermé. Les piétons pourront utiliser un nouveau sentier sur le côté sud du chemin de Montréal.

La province de l’Ontario a annoncé le lundi 23 mars que les travaux de construction font partie des services essentiels. La Ville d’Ottawa travaille en étroite collaboration avec l’industrie de la construction .

Tous les contractuels sont tenus de suivre les mesures de sécurité recommandées par Santé publique Ottawa. Étant donné que la situation liée à la COVID-19 évolue rapidement, ces travaux pourraient être modifiés. La Ville d’Ottawa informera les intervenants et le public de tout changement, le cas échéant. Pour suivre l’évolution des chantiers entrepris à Ottawa, pour obtenir des renseignements sur la circulation ou pour planifier vos déplacements, veuillez consulter la carte de circulation de la Ville ou suivre le compte Twitter @Ottawa_Circule.

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Un rappel que les installations et les équipements des parcs de la Ville d’Ottawa demeurent fermés, pour soutenir les mesures de distanciation sociale et aider à freiner la propagation de la COVID-19. Parmi les installations et les espaces fermés, on compte :

  • les terrains de sport publics – y compris ceux situés dans des installations récréatives
  • les terrains de baseball
  • les terrains de basketball et de tennis
  • les planchodromes et les aires pour chiens sans laisse.
  • les structures de jeu pour enfants
  • les stations de conditionnement physique pour adultes
  • les bancs et les tables à pique-nique

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Le Service des incendies d’Ottawa a mis en place une interdiction des feux de camp.

Le service des incendies a affirmé par voix d’un communiquer de presse

“Que dans notre état d’urgence actuel, il est important que tous les pompiers restent disponibles pour les incidents prioritaires.”

Il s’agit de l’interdiction annuelle du printemps.

La raison de l’interdiction est qu’au printemps bien que le sol soit mouillé dans la plupart des régions, l’herbe, les herbes et autres feuillages au sol sont secs et peuvent prendre feu facilement.

L’autre raison d’une interdiction de ressort est simplement due au fait que les camions de pompiers et de broussailles dans la plupart des cas ne peuvent pas entrer dans un champ ou des propriétés qui sont boueux, mous et trempés en raison du dégel printanier.