Surrey RCMP are warning parents and residents about a frightening incident at a park recently. Police said four teenage boys surrounded a 12-year-old girl and started harassing her around 6 p.m. Monday at Clayton Park. The group of boys reportedly began making sexual comments towards the girl, police said. She managed to run away and returned home where her family contacted the police. “These young men were described as wearing masks and they were all believed to be youths.” Anyone with information is asked to call Surrey RCMP or Crime Stoppers.

 

A Vancouver restaurant owner who is one of the two eateries that had their business licenses suspended by the city after operating in contradiction to public health orders says he’s deeply frustrated. Since restrictions on dine-in service went into effect on March 30, it’s been a tough go for local restaurants. And Federico Fuoco, the owner of Gusto, a Taste of Italy, says he feels governments “crushing” the people they serve. Fuoco says his other business, Federico’s Supper Club, has already closed up permanently, while Gusto is still operating and has 30 full-time and part-time employees. Since last Monday’s change to dining, some restaurants have continued to operate as takeout or patio only, while others opt to close their doors altogether. Evan Moffatt is a manager at Brewhall — just a few blocks away from Gusto — and he acknowledges restaurants opting to defy public health orders may be feeling pressure or doing it to make a statement but says he believes businesses should follow public health orders. Fuoco has said he is complying with the public health order and focuses on trying to get back to business. Meanwhile, Corduroy in Kitsilano, which is the other restaurant to receive a license suspension over the weekend — has now lost its liquor license according to B.C.’s Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth. The restaurant won’t even be able to sell takeout until April 19.

 

B-C provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says the COVID-19 outbreak sweeping through the Vancouver Canucks is a reminder the virus spreads very, very easily. Eighteen of the 22 players on the team’s active roster are now on the N-H-L’s COVID protocol list. Henry is disputing multiple reports that the Canucks’ outbreak is linked to the variant first identified in Brazil. Six of the team’s games have been postponed and it isn’t clear when Vancouver will return to the ice

 

A third wave of the pandemic in B-C is being fuelled by variants of concern, and the provincial health officer says the situation could get worse. Doctor Bonnie Henry says the variant first identified in the United Kingdom makes up a third of cases but that could rise to 60 per cent like in Ontario. However, she says the variant associated with Brazil has been increasing in B-C recently, with a lot of transmission among young people, including in Whistler, where visitors from elsewhere in Canada introduced that strain. The province reported one thousand 68 new COVID-19 cases
yesterday, including 207 new cases of variants, as well as three more deaths.

 

B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer says she has no plans to follow Ontario’s lead by shutting down schools in COVID-19 hot zones. Despite recording more than a thousand more cases and three deaths since the province’s COVID-19 update Monday, Dr. Bonnie Henry insists schools are still safe. She admits the province is about a month behind Ontario’s rampant spread of variants, but she says closing schools — at least across the Lower Mainland — is not a good idea. Saying “Cases go up when children are not in school and that’s a downside impact on families. So we need to find that way of safely keeping children in schools so that we can protect our communities — and that is something that we take very seriously — that we’ve put a focus on,” she says. Henry says the focus remains on making sure classrooms are safe, especially in Surrey, which consistently has the highest transmission rate

 

The European Medicines Agency says it has found a possible link between the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and a rare clotting disorder. But it says the benefits of the shot still outweigh risks. Based on its study, the European Medicines Agency is not putting any new restrictions on using the vaccine in people 18 and over. Health Canada has suspended use of the AstraZeneca shot in people under the age of 55

The federal and B-C governments say by October of next year, there will be seamless cellular coverage along the entire Highway of Tears. Seventy per cent of Highway 16 already has some coverage, but Ottawa and the province will each contribute about two-million dollars towards adding 12 cell towers and improving  connectivity at three rest stops between Smithers and Prince Rupert. Rogers Communications will cover the rest of the cost. Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert became known as the Highway of Tears more than two decades ago, a reference to the many Indigenous women who have gone missing or been murdered along the route since the 1970s.

The first domestically-produced N-95 masks are coming off the line in what the federal and Ontario governments call a step toward better pandemic protection for Canada now and into the future. The masks are being produced by 3-M Canada as part of a multi-million-dollar deal announced last August. Each government contributed 23.3-million-dollars towards the production expansion at the company’s plant in Brockville, about an hour south of Ottawa. For the next five years, the federal government will receive 30-million masks annually, and Ontario will get 25-million.

Vancouver’s mayor says a pilot project will continue to help people break the cycle of overdoses by connecting survivors with support services. Kennedy Stewart says the city is providing funding for a permanent position to lead the combined overdose response team, which pairs firefighters with staff from the Vancouver Coastal health authority. Vancouver Fire Captain Jonathan Gormick has been appointed to lead the program that he says has reached more than 150 people since 2019. Gormick says the team connects overdose survivors to a range of supports, from health care and housing to income assistance.

B-C health officials are reporting 997 new cases of COVID-19 and two more deaths linked to the illness. No new cases of variants of concern were reported today because no additional whole-genome sequencing has been completed since yesterday. The province says the number of active cases of COVID-19 stands at eight-thousand-728, including 330 people who are hospitalized. A statement issued today also says almost 20 per cent of those eligible for vaccination in B-C have received at least one dose.

 

The R-C-M-P say an alert to the public about a fake officer pulling someone over in the Boundary region led to complaints about real traffic stops. They say four people came forward after a warning last month about a suspected police impersonations. The force says it’s committed to sharing information to help protect the public — but it’s assessing its processes to see whether they can help reduce public uncertainty.

Delta’s outdoor pools are set to reopen for public swimming in time for the May long weekend, but patrons will have to pay to partake on weekdays beginning in July. At Monday’s meeting, Delta council endorsed a staff report recommending the city open the Ladner and North Delta outdoor pools for public swimming on weekends starting Saturday, May 22 before expanding to seven days a week on Monday, July 5. However, after offering free swimming for all Delta residents last summer, the city this year will resume charging the $3 entry fee on weekdays. (Admission Monday through Friday will still be free for Delta Youth Pass holders, and there will be no fee to swim on weekends and statutory holidays.)