Tennis players, pet owners and campers got some good news on Friday as the province inches ever closer to Alert Level 3.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald announced the reopening of outdoor tennis courts as of Friday, with restrictions in place.
“Players using outdoor tennis courts are required to bring and label their own equipment and are prohibited from sharing equipment with others,” said Fitzgerald.
“Individuals must maintain physical distancing at all times, but doubles tennis is permitted with members of your own double bubble. All common areas must remain closed.”
Pet groomers have also been permitted to open, effective Monday, May 25. Fitzgerald outlined additional measures needed to ensure the safe operation of grooming facilities.
“These operations must ensure enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols, they must have policies in place to ensure physical distancing and screen for potential COVID-19 exposure. Staff must wear appropriate personal protective equipment,” she said.
With 15 days of no new cases of COVID-19 reported in Newfoundland and Labrador, June 8 is the earliest possible date for the shift from Alert Level 4 to Alert Level 3.
Once Alert Level 3 is reached, limited overnight camping will resume, says Fitzgerald, but with plenty of restrictions in place to reduce the risk posed by the coronavirus.
“Access will be limited to self-contained units, including RVs and cabins, that have a water supply, holding tanks and personal washroom facilities, as long as they are in an area with at least 30 feet between occupied campsites,” she said.
“Tent camping will not be permitted in level three. Campground owners should have policies in place to ensure physical distance is maintained and offer contactless services where possible.”
All shared facilities — washrooms, clubhouses, etc. — will remain closed as part of the relaxed measures.
Acting Service NL Minister Tom Osborne announced a suite of relief for businesses struggling to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Friday, Osborne announced approximately $6 million in deferrals of fees through the 2020-21 fiscal year.
Among the changes announced Friday is the deferral of Workplace NL assessments for employers to Aug. 31 with no interest or penalties, the elimination of aquaculture licence fees and deferral of Crown land fees for aquaculture sites, a rebate of base fish processor and buyer licensing fees, a partial refund of vehicle registration fees for vehicles not being used during the pandemic and not requiring safety inspections of unused commercial vehicles over 4,500 kilograms.
Osborne says the government is also starting consultations with the business community on how to reduce regulations and “red tape” during the pandemic.
“The goal of the engagement portal is to provide an avenue for members of the business community to bring forward suggestions to the provincial government regarding red tape reduction initiatives that could provide relief for members not only during the COVID-19 restrictions, but beyond” said Osborne.
The portal will be available in June.
St. John’s Board of Trade chair Andrew Wadden welcomed the announcement, but said there’s still more help needed to guide the business community through the pandemic.
“Government continues to listen to the concerns of business owners,” Wadden stated in a news release.
“We urge the province to keep working with business to open the economy as safely and quickly as possible. Be flexible, and provide different approaches for different sectors. We are looking forward to further announcements, and information in relation to economic recovery.”