Signs in front of a house in South Surrey let the community know that “Everything Will Be OK” amid the global COVID-19 pandemic. (Contributed photo)

Daily update on COVID-19 pandemic in Surrey, White Rock and beyond

MARCH 18: Canada/U.S. to shut down border, new $82 billion funding package announced

The latest from Surrey, White Rock and beyond on the COVID-19 outbreak for Wednesday, March 18.

Live updates for Thursday (March 19) can be found here.

In an afternoon press conference, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced:

• B.C. has 231 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including a new case at another care home in Vancouver.

• B.C. has 58 cases in Fraser Health, 144 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 16 within Vancouver Island Health, nine within Interior Health and four within Northern Health.

• There are no new deaths due to the disease, but 13 people are now in critical care due to their symptoms.

• Dr. Henry reminded the public of Tuesday’s orders for bars to close and restaurants to move to take-out only if they cannot ensure their guests practice social distancing.

• The next seven to 10 days marks a ‘critical time’ in the fight against further spreading COVID-19, Henry said, because symptoms typically take roughly five days to show after contracting the disease.

Other news:

• A B.C. business economy professor is warning people to be patient as the stock market shoots up and down as the COVID-19 crisis continues.

• Some returning snowbirds are not self-isolating, South Surrey RV Park resident said

• City of White Rock cancelled all committee meetings until the end of May due to COVID-19 concern.

• Two of Surrey RCMP’s six front-counter locations have been temporarily closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

• The community policing unit, which takes place out of the White Rock detachment, is still open for front counter service with limitations on fingerprint requests. However, White Rock RCMP has suspended community policing volunteer activities.

COVID-19: What’s open and closed in B.C. as a result of the novel coronavirus

• All events and programs at the White Rock Library have been cancelled.

• South Surrey fitness expert offers tips, ideas for those working from home or social-distancing.

• An expert in child psychology says it’s a good idea to talk to your elementary school-age kids about COVID-19 and do it thoughtfully.

• Seniors and those with compromised immune systems will be able to do in-store shopping at Meridian Meats across the Lower Mainland.

• Two Surrey service providers have had to change their models during the COVID-19 outbreak.

This morning, the federal government announced:

Canada-U.S. border to close for non-essential travel. Trade will not be affected.

• The federal government will spend up to $82 billion on measures to support the Canadian economy through the COVID-19 pandemic. The money will come through a combination of support for workers and businesses and tax deferrals.

RELATED: COVID-19 cases jump by 83 in B.C., public health emergency declared

• $27 billion of that money will be “direct support” to Canadian workers and businesses and $55 billion in tax deferrals. The figure represents more than three per cent of Canada’s GDP.

• For people who cannot access Employment Insurance and do not have paid sick leave, Print Minister Justin Trudeau said Ottawa was bringing in the Emergency Care Benefit, a $900 payment made every two weeks to workers who have to stay at home.

“No Canadian will not have to worry about protecting their health and putting food on their table,” Minister of Finance Bill Morneau said.

RELATED: B.C. launches online COVID-19 self-assessment tool

RELATED: Canadian banks move to help customers, allow deferral of mortgage payments

• Tax filing deadline extended to June 1.

• Small businesses to get a three-month wage supplement equal to 10 per cent of their employees salaries, in hopes workers will be kept on the payroll.

• Low-income Canadians to get up to an extra $300 in their May GST refund, with up to $150 for each child. People paying off student loans will see their payments become interest-free for six months.

• Reducing required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25 per cent for 2020, in recognition of volatile market conditions and their impact on many seniors’ retirement savings.

The full Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan can be found here.

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