Daily update for Monday, April 20 on the COVID-19 pandemic in Surrey, White Rock and beyond. It will be updated as information becomes available:
• A White Rock music store isn’t missing a beat when it comes to adapting to the new reality of COVID-19. Tapestry Music is now offering lessons for both voice and instrument online through FaceTime, Skype and Zoom.
• A Lower Mainland pub owner whose daughter is an ER nurse at Peace Arch Hospital has hired a plane to fly over PAH at 7:20 p.m. tonight, pulling a banner thanking healthcare workers. It will also make a pass over Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster.
•Metro Vancouver’s transportation authority is laying off nearly 1,500 employees as it grapples with an 83 per cent drop in ridership due to COVID-19.
• Police officers in B.C. can now issue $2,000 tickets to anyone who is caught trying to resell medical supplies or engages in price gouging for essential items.
Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth announced the new fines on Sunday (April 19). The tickets can be handed out by police, conservation officers and other officers in B.C. starting immediately for as long as the COVID-19 crisis continues.
• B.C. reported five new COVID-19 deaths on Monday as the total number of positive cases in the province nears 1,700.
• As with schools, municipal councils and other meetings in the coronavirus pandemic, B.C. strata councils have been authorized to take their meetings online via phone or video exchange.
• Four provinces – B.C., Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec – have designated garden centres as an essential service. Other provinces, including Ontario, have forced them to keep their doors closed. The executive director of the Canadian Garden Council, the national umbrella body for provincial and national garden organizations, said there’s been a huge increase in the number of Canadians who want to start gardening.
• Canadian businesses struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic are getting some relief from the e-commerce platforms they use to sell their goods and services.
E-commerce companies including Shopify Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and EBay Canada are trying to help businesses grappling with the impacts of COVID-19 by offering cash advances, waiving fees and pausing loan repayments.