The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Tuesday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.
2:03 p.m.: School will be back in-person in New Brunswick for the fall – with some adjustments – and Saint John parents have mixed feelings.
Minister of Education Dominic Cardy announced the plan at a press conference on June 12, and said while younger grades will be put in bubbles of 15 people, high school students will stagger their schooling and go to school every other day.
Temperature checks will most likely be implemented. Gyms or other rooms that aren’t typically classrooms may have to be used to ensure physical distancing. There will also be staggered start times. Transportation to and from school is “one of the last pieces of the puzzle,” he said.
Patty Hebèrt, whose daughter and son attend Princess Elizabeth School, is concerned that the government’s plans aren’t taking into consideration the inability for younger students to physical distance and keep clean, even in smaller classes.
“They are not going to think like older students would,” she said. “All it takes is one person to be infected.”
1:55 p.m.: Cases of the coronavirus in prisons and jails across the United States have soared in recent weeks, even as the overall daily infection rate in the nation has remained relatively flat.
The number of prison inmates known to be infected has doubled during the past month to more than 68,000. Prison deaths tied to the coronavirus have also risen, by 73% since mid-May. By now, the five largest known clusters of the virus in the United States are not at nursing homes or meatpacking plants, but inside correction institutions, according to data The New York Times has been collecting about confirmed coronavirus cases since the pandemic reached U.S. shores.
And the risk of more cases appears imminent: The swift growth in virus cases behind bars comes as demonstrators arrested as part of large police brutality protests have often been placed in crowded holding cells in local jails.
1:30 p.m.: Prince Edward Island has announced an exemption that will allow Canadians with family in need of support to travel to the Island on compassionate grounds.
Dr. Heather Morrison, the province’s chief public health officer, says applications will be open later today for the new family support category.
Morrison says the category includes travel for emotional and psychological support, personal care, respite care, home support and child care.
She says the new set of applications will be processed as quickly as possible over the next two to three weeks.
Morrison says applicants will have to prove their visit will provide “needed and welcome” support to a family member in P.E.I., including a parent, child, sibling, grandchild or grandparent.
People who travel to the Island will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
P.E.I. has already opened its borders to seasonal residents from other parts of the country.
1:18 p.m.: New Brunswick is reporting three new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the province to 163.
Public Health says all three cases are in the Campbellton region, known as Zone 5, in the north of the province.
They include a person in their 20s and two people in their 50s.
Two of the cases are health-care employees at the Campbellton Regional Hospital and the other is linked to a close contact of a case.
1:05 p.m.: An executive board member of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee says another delay should be sought if the games can’t be held next year.
The Tokyo Olympics were to be held this year but were postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The suggestion comes from Haruyuki Takahashi in an interview published Tuesday in the Japanese sports newspaper Nikkan Sports.
“The main priority is to make a united effort to hold them (Olympics) in the summer of 2021,” Takahashi said.
He said if that is not possible “we should start action once again to get another delay.”
12:47 p.m.: The Scarborough hospital system is taking over the troubled Extendicare Guildwood nursing home that has lost almost one-third of its 169 residents to COVID-19 in a continuing outbreak.
A management agreement will see the Scarborough Health Network, which has been supporting the long-term care facility with infection control and staff since mid-April, take further steps to stabilize care.
Local Liberal MPP Mitzie Hunter (Scarborough-Guildwood) applauded the move but said it should have happened much sooner with a provincial takeover order that sends hospitals in to run a home for 90 days.
“The measure is long overdue for the 54 residents who have lost their lives to COVID-19 in the home and their loved ones.”
Read the full story from the Star’s Rob Ferguson here.
12:35 p.m.: The City of Windsor says it is expanding an isolation centre to help migrant workers who have tested positive for COVID-19.
The city council has voted to expand an isolation and recovery centre it initially created to help its homeless population.
Mayor Drew Dilkins says the measure will help address logistical issues created as the region ramps up testing among migrant workers.
Dozens of migrant workers in Windsor-Essex have tested positive for COVID-19 and two have died.
12:30 p.m.: Premier Doug Ford announces new COVID-19 safety guide, a ‘tool kit’ for businesses, employees and customers as more businesses reopen.
The premier also encouraged everyone to shop local and plan local vacations to help the economy recover.
12:23 p.m.: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that the U.S. Open tennis tournament will held in late August as part of the state’s reopening from shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The U.S. Tennis Association had decided to go forward with its marquee event in New York City without spectators, pending an OK from the state.
Like many sports leagues, the professional tennis tours have been suspended since March because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We’re excited about the U.S. Open, (which) is going to be held in Queens, Aug. 31 through Sept. 13. It will be held without fans, but you can watch it on TV — and I’ll take that,” Cuomo said at his daily briefing in Albany. “The tennis authorities are going to be taking extraordinary precautions, but that’s going to take place.”
12:13 p.m.: Germany called on its citizens to download a delayed app designed to help prevent a resurgence of the coronavirus, betting that civic duty is enough to get people to use the software and rejecting criticism that it will be ineffective.
The goal for the new tracing app — a joint project between telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom AG and software developer SAP SE — is to help break infection chains early and allow the country to manage the return to normality more effectively.
12:00 p.m.: Toronto’s bid to become a hub city for the NHL’s return to play this summer got a huge boost on Tuesday, backed by the federal and provincial governments.
“We have indicated that we are comfortable with moving forward on an NHL hub in one of three Canadian cities that asking for it,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in his daily briefing. “Obviously the decision needs to be made by the NHL and the cities and the provinces in the jurisdiction. Canada is open to it as long as it is okay by the local health authorities.”
Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver are all hoping to be one of two hub cities that will host 12 teams of the 24 teams that remain alive in an expanded playoff format that is the result of the season being paused on March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Read the full story from the Star’s Kevin McGran here.
11:53 a.m.: Scientists at the University of Oxford said Tuesday that they had identified what they called the first drug proven to reduce coronavirus-related deaths, after a 6,000-patient trial in Britain showed that a low-cost steroid prevented the deaths of some hospitalized patients.
The steroid, dexamethasone, a well-known anti-inflammatory drug, appeared to help patients with severe cases of the virus: It reduced deaths by a third in patients receiving ventilation, and by a fifth in patients receiving standard oxygen treatment, the scientists said. They found no benefit from the drug for patients who did not need respiratory support.
Read more about the drug here.
11:22 a.m.: Ontario’s regional health units continue to report their lowest sustained period of new COVID-19 cases in months, according to the Star’s latest count.
Ontario saw an average of 231 cases reported in the last seven days, the lowest for any seven-day period since March and down more than 60 per cent from an average of nearly 600 cases a day reported in mid-April.
As of 11 a.m. Tuesday, the health units had reported a total of 34,270 confirmed and probable cases, including 2,579 deaths — up a total of 236 new cases since the same time Monday morning.
Meanwhile, the six new fatal cases reported in the last 24 hours is also in line with a downward trend that has seen the rate of deaths fall from a peak of 90 deaths in a single day, seen in early May.
Earlier Monday, the province reported that 413 patients are now hospitalized with COVID-19, including 98 in intensive care, of whom 70 are on a ventilator. Those numbers have also have fallen sharply since early May.
The province says its data is accurate to 4 p.m. the previous day. The province also cautions its latest count of total deaths — 2,538 — may be incomplete or out of date due to delays in the reporting system, saying that in the event of a discrepancy, “data reported by (the health units) should be considered the most up to date.”
The Star’s count includes some patients reported as “probable” COVID-19 cases, meaning they have symptoms and contacts or travel history that indicate they very likely have the disease, but have not yet received a positive lab test.
11:13 a.m. (updated): Quebec is reporting 27 additional deaths linked to COVID-19, bringing the provincial total to 5,269.
The number of confirmed infections in the past 24 hours was 92, bringing the total confirmed cases to 54,146.
The number of hospitalizations dropped to 718 while the number of patients in intensive care dropped to 77.
Meanwhile, the Quebec government announced today it plans to have all elementary and high schools reopen this fall.
Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge says junior colleges and universities will be able to offer hybrid classes.
11:10 a.m.: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government’s signature benefit for people whose jobs have vanished amid the COVID-19 pandemic will be extended by eight weeks.
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit pays up to $500 a week and was slated to last 16 weeks starting in mid-March, meaning that people who signed up for it immediately would soon run out.
Trudeau says the economy is recovering from the mass closures ordered to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus but there’s a long way to go.
Extending the CERB has been a demand from the New Democrats in exchange for the party’s support for the minority Liberals in an upcoming confidence vote.
The prime minister also announced the Canada-U.S. border will remain mostly closed for at least another month, until July 21.
To try to limit the spread of COVID-19 between the two countries, they have limited crossings to essential workers and trade since March 21.
The restrictions have been extended twice already, for 30 days at a time.
10:48 a.m.: Stage 2 of Ontario’s economic recovery plan contains numerous guidance documents for sectors cleared to resume or expand their operations.
The guidance prepared for restaurants and bars states that both singing and dancing are banned in the outdoor seating areas where customers are currently allowed to gather in limited numbers.
Documents state singing is also banned in child-care settings and discouraged in places of worship that were given the green light to open their doors across Ontario last week.
10:36 a.m.: A shortage of election workers because of coronavirus concerns has Alaska officials searching for solutions and warning the state could close some polling sites.
The shortage is particularly severe in Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, The Anchorage Daily News reported Sunday.
Alaska communities have up to three forthcoming elections. The statewide primary is set for Aug. 18, while municipal elections across much of the state, excluding Anchorage, will be Oct. 6. The national general election will be held Nov. 3.
Two months before the statewide primary, none of the state’s House districts have enough election workers.
10:27 a.m.: Spoiler alert: 2020 has been rough on the American psyche. Folks in the U.S. are more unhappy today than they’ve been in nearly 50 years.
This bold — yet unsurprising — conclusion comes from the COVID Response Tracking Study, conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago. It finds that just 14% of American adults say they’re very happy, down from 31% who said the same in 2018. That year, 23% said they’d often or sometimes felt isolated in recent weeks. Now, 50% say that.
10:22 a.m.: Researchers on Tuesday announced the first drug shown to reduce deaths among severely ill coronavirus patients, offering hope even as infection rates rose in Africa and Asia, and there were worrisome upticks of contagion in countries that had largely contained the virus.
The cheap, widely available steroid, called dexamethasone, reduced deaths by 35% in patients who needed treatment with breathing machines and by 20% in those only needing supplemental oxygen, the researches said in England. It did not appear to help less ill patients.
“This is an extremely welcome result,” one study leader, Peter Horby of the University of Oxford, said in a statement. “The survival benefit is clear and large in those patients who are sick enough to require oxygen treatment, so dexamethasone should now become standard of care in these patients. Dexamethasone is inexpensive, on the shelf, and can be used immediately to save lives worldwide.”
10:06 a.m.: A survey conducted in Italy on the psychological impact of coronavirus lockdowns on children has quantified what many parents observed during weeks cooped up at home: kids were more irritable, had trouble sleeping and for some of the youngest, wept inconsolably and regressed developmentally.
Those symptoms were more pronounced in families in which the parents were particularly stressed and in families with elderly relatives at high risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19, the national survey by the Giannina Gaslini Pediatric Hospital in Genoa in conjunction with the University of Genoa found.
9:41 a.m.: The parliamentary budget officer says new spending estimates tabled by the Trudeau Liberals don’t provide a complete picture of how much the government will spend on COVID-19-related aid.
The supplementary spending estimates detail roughly $81 billion in already approved spending and about $6 billion more in measures MPs are set to vote on.
But budget officer Yves Giroux notes in a report this morning that a number of measures promised by the government aren’t included because they don’t come out of what’s known as the consolidated revenue fund.
Left out of the estimates are cost details on the $45-billion wage subsidy program delivered through the tax system, and a loan program to small- and medium-sized businesses that will open applications to a wider number of companies on Friday.
9:34 a.m.: Peel police have confirmed they are investigating allegations of abuse at Camilla Care Centre, a long-term health care (LTC) centre in Mississauga.
“We were contacted in regards to allegations of abuse at a long-term health care centre in Mississauga,” Const. Danny Marttini confirmed. “It is being investigated. There is no additional information at this time.”
Camilla Care has one of the highest rates of COVID-19 deaths of any LTC in Ontario, with 67 recorded resident deaths as of June 15.
Weeks ago, the province announced it would be taking control of four LTCs that were the subject of a scathing Canadian Forces report. Camilla Care, which did not get visited by the military, was chosen as the fifth LTC to be taken under provincial control.
Despite this, Camilla has declared its COVID-19 outbreak, which began on March 30, over as of June 7.
9:14 a.m.: If you shopped at the Home Depot at Highway 7 and Yonge Street in Richmond Hill between May 30 and June 9, you may have been exposed to COVID-19, York Region Public Health says.
The health department is investigating 14 Home Depot employees who tested positive for COVID-19 at the store located at 50 Red Maple Dr.
While the risk to the general public is deemed low, anyone who visited this location and interacted with employees closer than two metres for more than 10 minutes is advised to seek testing at one of the region’s three assessment centres and self-monitor for 14 days after you visited the store, watching for symptoms of COVID-19.
8:55 a.m.: The wife of Ukrainain President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has been hospitalized with double pneumonia after contracting the new coronavirus, joining the ranks of several first ladies around the world who got infected with COVID-19 earlier this year.
Zelenskiy’s office said in a statement Tuesday that Olena Zelenska’s condition was stable and the president himself and the couple’s children tested negative for the virus on Monday.
Zelenska, 42, said she tested positive for the virus on Friday. In an Instagram post that day, she said she “felt good,” was receiving outpatient treatment and isolated herself from her family “in order not to put them in danger.”
Zelenskiy, also 42, has limited his contacts to a “very small circle” of people and started conducting meetings and talks via teleconference, but continued going to the office, as some of his duties can’t be fulfilled remotely, the president’s spokeswoman Yuliia Mendel told the Ukrainska Pravda news outlet.
8:39 a.m.: Provinces have been releasing plans for easing restrictions that were put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.
From gyms and movie theatres in Alberta to restaurants and bars in Saskatchewan, here is what some of the provinces have announced so far.
8:14 a.m.: Merchant ship crew members stranded at sea for months due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions could now start refusing to further extend their contracts and stop working, potentially disrupting global trade, the International Transport Workers’ Federation said late Monday.
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The ITF, a global federation of transport workers’ unions, said in a statement it would “now assist hundreds of thousands of seafarers to exercise their right to stop working, leave ships, and return home.”
With more than 80% of global trade by volume transported by sea, the world’s more than 2 million merchant seafarers play a vital role in keeping countries supplied with everything from raw materials and fuel to food and consumer goods.
But lockdowns and travel restrictions imposed by countries across the world to curb the spread of the new coronavirus are preventing crew members who have reached the end of their contracts from leaving the ships and returning home. Many have been on board, without the possibility of setting foot on land even briefly, for several months beyond their original contracts.
7:45 a.m.: There are 99,147 confirmed and presumptive cases in Canada (including 8,175 deaths, 61,042 resolved) as of 4 a.m. on June 16, according to The Canadian Press.
Note: The Star compiles its own numbers for Ontario, which were posted at the 11:22 a.m. time slot.
Quebec: 54,146 confirmed (including 5,269 deaths, 22,213 resolved)Alberta: 7,453 confirmed (including 151 deaths, 6,862 resolved)British Columbia: 2,745 confirmed (including 168 deaths, 2,395 resolved)Nova Scotia: 1,061 confirmed (including 62 deaths, 996 resolved)Saskatchewan: 683 confirmed (including 13 deaths, 629 resolved)Manitoba: 293 confirmed (including 7 deaths, 292 resolved), 11 presumptive
_ Newfoundland and Labrador: 261 confirmed (including 3 deaths, 257 resolved)
New Brunswick: 163 confirmed (including 2 deaths, 131 resolved)Prince Edward Island: 27 confirmed (including 27 resolved)Repatriated Canadians: 13 confirmed (including 13 resolved)Yukon: 11 confirmed (including 11 resolved)Northwest Territories: 5 confirmed (including 5 resolved)Nunavut: No confirmed cases
6:35 a.m.: Newfoundland and Labrador Health Minister Dr. John Haggie sings a familiar refrain each week when asked about changes in public health policy on COVID-19 from one day to the next: “There is no playbook.”
It’s a point stressed by health officials across the country and around the world as new information continues to develop about the deadly strain of coronavirus that has already killed more than 8,000 Canadians.
Perhaps the most striking change of policy in Canada came Friday, when the federal government announced airports will start testing airline passengers for fever as part of its multipronged screening process.
The practice of taking temperatures at borders during a pandemic has been used before, but its effectiveness is hotly debated.
Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, rejected the idea in the past — and she had good reason to. She was one of the authors of a 2005 study that examined the results of temperature screening for the SARS virus during the 2003 outbreak. Despite costing millions, the program didn’t detect a single case.
Newfoundland and Labrador Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald is also skeptical.
“The evidence on temperature screening is not unanimous, so there is still some debate as to the effectiveness of using such measures,” she said last week.
5:54 a.m.: Outside a back door to a New York hospital where the coronavirus hit like a hurricane, a half-dozen staffers gathered recently to look back, and look inward.
“I am still scared,” Dr. Gwen Hooley told her colleagues at Elmhurst Hospital, which was swamped with patients in late March as the virus rampaged through New York.
Physician’s assistant Diane Akhbari recalled her husband leaving food on the cellar stairs while she isolated herself for months for fear of infecting her family: “I felt like an animal,” she said, her voice cracking.
Co-workers talked about how terrifying it felt early on, not knowing whether they’d have enough protective gear. How one endured his own case of COVID-19 and others saw young and healthy people like themselves get critically sick. How colleagues discussed drawing up wills.
And how haunting it is to think it may all happen again.
5 a.m.: Shutting down a broad range of Alberta’s environmental monitoring over pandemic fears wasn’t necessary, says the head of a group responsible for such work.
Most monitoring could have been done safely, says Jay White, president of the licence-granting Alberta Society of Professional Biologists.
“We’re trained to deal with dangerous, toxic biological hazards in our day-to-day work,” White said Monday. “The virus is no different.”
Alberta’s own chief scientist says he wasn’t consulted before the government temporarily shut down much land, air and water-monitoring requirements in the oil and gas industry in what it said was an attempt to keep workers and communities safe from COVID-19.
It should have been up to the people who actually do the work to decide how safe it is, White said.
3:32 a.m.: A new water park in the Smoky Mountains foothills of Tennessee is preparing to open to visitors amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The 50-acre Soaky Mountain Waterpark in Sevierville said it’s slated to open June 27, with preview days on June 25 and 26 for guests of Wilderness at the Smokies and season pass holders.
Masks will be optional in the park and not allowed in or on water attractions. Social distancing requirements and other precautions will be in place.
1:44 a.m.: China increased testing and lockdown measures in parts of the capital Tuesday to control what appeared to be its largest coronavirus outbreak in more than two months.
The 40 new cases reported Tuesday included 27 in Beijing, bringing the city’s total to 106 since Friday.
Many of the recent cases have been linked to Beijing’s Xinfadi wholesale market and authorities have been testing market workers, anyone who visited the market in the past two weeks and anyone who came into contact with either group.
Fresh meat and seafood in the city and elsewhere in China was also being inspected on the unlikely chance that was how the virus spread.
Monday 10:40 p.m.: Mexico won’t send any more temporary foreign workers to Canada until it has more clarity on why two died due to COVID-19, the country’s ambassador to Canada said Monday.
That means as many as 5,000 temporary foreign workers expected to arrive in Canada in the coming months are being held back, for now.
“It’s so we can reassess with the federal authorities, provinces and farmers why this happened and if there is anything to correct,” Juan Jose Gomez Camacho said in an interview.
The two men — one died this month and the other in late May — were employed by different farms in the Windsor, Ont., area, a farming heartland in southwestern Ontario that has seen ongoing outbreaks.
The outbreaks were cited Monday as the reason Ontario Premier Doug Ford said the region can’t follow in the footsteps of others and loosen restrictions designed to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Monday 9:30 p.m: British Columbia’s COVID-19 restrictions are under further review this week, but the limit on gatherings to a maximum of 50 people will not change, says provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
Henry said Monday she is pleased with the results of B.C.’s reopening for schools and some businesses, but there is no official date for moving into the next phase, other than it is being considered this week.
“Maybe,” she said at a news conference when asked about moving to the third phase this week.
“We’re continuing to watch, looking at the numbers. But, you know, it’s not yes, we’re in phase three. It’s a gradual increase of the things that we’re doing.”
Monday 8:55 p.m.: The Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority, the provincial agency that governs Ontario’s retirement homes, has issued an order to revoke the licence of Rosslyn Retirement Residence, the site of Hamilton’s worst COVID-19 outbreak.
The Rosslyn is owned and operated by members of the Martino families, which also operate seven other retirement homes and residential care facilities in Hamilton, along with the Greycliff Manor retirement home in Niagara Falls. Brothers Aldo Martino and the late John Martino previously owned the Royal Crest Lifecare chain of care homes until it collapsed into bankruptcy in 2003, leaving Ontario taxpayers on the hook for $18 million.
Fourteen residents of Rosslyn have died from the outbreak and more than 60 residents had to be hospitalized when the home was evacuated on May 15.
A Hamilton Spectator investigation last week revealed horrifying conditions and alleged mismanagement at the home. Former staff members and families of former residents of the Rosslyn made shocking allegations of chronic problems with rodent and bedbug infestations, understaffing, poor living conditions, and a lack of proper care for residents with dementia.
Monday 7:24 p.m.: After seeing fewer than 200 new COVID-19 cases for the first time in more than two months on Sunday, Ontario’s regional health units reported a slight bump in cases Monday, according to the Star’s latest count.
As of 5 p.m. Monday, the health units had reported a total of 34,231 confirmed and probable cases, including 2,582 deaths, up a total of 211 new cases in 24 hours — up 32 cases from the previous day. Before Sunday, the last day with fewer than 200 new reported cases was March 26, back in the early days of rapid case growth before the COVID-19 epidemic first peaked in the province.
As has been the case in recent weeks, the overwhelming majority of new COVID-19 infections in Ontario continue to occur in the GTA; just 62 of the 211 cases reported Monday came outside in the region’s five health units. But the rate of new cases is also falling sharply in the Toronto area.
On Monday, Toronto Public Health reported fewer than 100 new cases for the fourth straight day. Before that streak, all but one of the previous 66 consecutive days had seen more than 100 reported infections.
Meanwhile, the 11 new fatal cases reported since Sunday evening is also in line with a downward trend that has seen the rate of deaths fall from a peak of 90 deaths in a single day, seen in early May.
Earlier Monday, the province reported that 419 patients are now hospitalized with COVID-19, including 104 in intensive care, of whom 69 are on a ventilator. Those numbers have also have fallen sharply since early May.
The province says its data is accurate to 4 p.m. the previous day.
Monday 4:21 p.m. The Ontario government is proposing all health units begin collecting race-based data on COVID-19.
The province announced the change today after saying earlier this month it was considering the move.
The health minister says the government has made the proposal after requests from community leaders and public health experts.
Monday 1:04 p.m. All regions of Ontario except for Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex will be in Stage 2 of the province’s phased reopening plan as of Friday.
Most areas of the province were allowed to enter the second stage last Friday, except for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, some regions that border the United States and those with COVID-19 outbreaks among migrant workers.
Premier Doug Ford announced today that the regions that can join them this Friday are: Durham, Haldimand-Norfolk, Halton, Hamilton, Lambton, Niagara and York.
Read More from the Star’s Queen’s Park Bureau Chief, Robert Benzie: Province easing COVID-19 restrictions in Durham, York and Hamilton, but Toronto and Peel will have to wait
Read More from the Star’s Josh Rubin: Toronto businesses frustrated as neighbours open sooner: ‘If this goes on another month, I’ll probably have to close’
Read more of Monday’s coverage.