Justin Trudeau says COVID case numbers are moving in the right direction, but hotspots remain

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At a June 29 press conference, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the federal government is in talks with the provinces and territories to extend the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program by another month.

The CECRA program, which hasn't been adopted as enthusiastically as the federal government and provinces would have liked, provides relief for small businesses experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. It offers unsecured, forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners to reduce the rent owed by small business tenants and meet operating expenses on commercial properties. 

Property owners must offer a minimum of a 75 per cent rent reduction for the months of April, May and June 2020.

If an agreement between the provinces and the federal government is reached, the program could be extended into July. 

Trudeau also announced that with the crisis coming under control, federal government officials will no longer provide daily updates. He also said that soon-to-be-released predictive modelling shows that although Canada's case numbers are moving in the right direction, the country is still home to significant "hotspots." 

"After a challenging spring, things are continuing to move in the right direction. The number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths are declining over time," he said. 

Trudeau said Canadians will need to remain vigilant and follow public health advice surrounding masking, handwashing and distancing in order to avoid a second lockdown. 

When asked about outbreaks in the U.S., Trudeau said the Canada/U.S. border will remain closed well into July and that decisions about the border closure will continue to be made in the coming weeks. 

Cover photo courtesy of The Canadian Press

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