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Coronavirus  

Defence chief says forces will be ready to help distribute COVID-19 vaccine

Forces ready on vaccine

The Canadian Armed Forces received formal orders last week to start planning for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, though the military’s top commander says preparations have been underway for longer — and that his force will be ready.

The planning directive issued last week by chief of the defence staff Gen. Jonathan Vance lays out in detail for the first time how the military expects to help with vaccine distribution.

It notes the possibility of having to pick up COVID-19 vaccine doses from the United States and Europe on short notice, and outlines concerns the military will be asked to help with distribution while also responding to floods and other emergencies.

The emergence of the directive comes ahead of an expected fight Thursday between the federal Liberal government and the Opposition Conservatives, who will introduce a motion in the House of Commons demanding details of Ottawa's vaccine rollout.

The Conservatives say Canadians need, and deserve, to know when they can expect to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and who can expect to receive the shots first. That includes how the government is setting up a distribution network.

"In the middle of this historic health crisis, this government should not be operating behind closed doors," Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole said Thursday.

"Before Christmas, Canadians deserve the hope, the hope that will come with a plan to roll out a vaccine to help us turn the corner on COVID-19 in the new year."

While that distribution plan is being led by the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canadian Armed Forces is expected to play a significant role — as outlined by Vance’s order on Nov. 27 establishing what has been called Operation Vector.

The directive was obtained by The Canadian Press and confirmed to be authentic by multiple sources, including the defence chief.

Though the directive was issued only last week, Vance said in an interview with The Canadian Press that Ottawa has been working for months on the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Those plans are now "well advanced," he said.

"We are as well poised as any country," he said. "And when the vaccines arrive, we'll be able to support the federal-provincial-territorial rollout plans. … The actual logistics of rolling it out, we are in the same position that our allies are in."

Vance’s order lays out a series of tasks for different parts of the military.

Those include flying doses "on short notice" from Spain, Germany, the U.S. and elsewhere "to designated points of distribution in Canada." It also means providing personnel to help with distribution in remote, northern and coastal communities.

Military planners are also preparing to have troops work at vaccine-storage facilities, deliver freezers and other medical supplies to various regions — all while standing ready to also respond to other emergencies.

"Track 1 vaccines are likely to be delivered to Canadians at the height of the second wave of the pandemic and in the midst of the spring 2021 thaw — a period of heightened flooding risk for many communities," Vance’s order reads.

It goes on to say that the "essential challenge" will be anticipating where to position troops and equipment "while preserving adequate capacity to surge in scale to respond to other unforeseen domestic emergencies."

Vance said orders will start flowing to different parts of the military for Operation Vector in the coming weeks so individual troops know exactly what their specific jobs will be in a given situation.



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The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Thursday, Dec. 3

COVID-19: latest numbers

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of Thursday Dec. 3, 2020.

Canada: 389,775 confirmed cases (67,564 active, 309,886 resolved, 12,325 deaths).The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers.

There were 6,307 new cases Wednesday from 79,492 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 7.9 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 42,309 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 6,044.

There were 114 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 615 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 88. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.23 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 32.79 per 100,000 people.

There have been 11,652,814 tests completed.

Newfoundland and Labrador: 340 confirmed cases (30 active, 306 resolved, four deaths).

There was one new case Wednesday from 319 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.31 per cent. Over the past seven days, there has been 16 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.77 per 100,000 people.

There have been 63,163 tests completed.

Prince Edward Island: 72 confirmed cases (four active, 68 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Wednesday from 354 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of two new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 61,037 tests completed.

Nova Scotia: 1,332 confirmed cases (127 active, 1,140 resolved, 65 deaths).

There were 17 new cases Wednesday from 2,340 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.73 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 89 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 13.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.69 per 100,000 people.

There have been 149,259 tests completed.

New Brunswick: 514 confirmed cases (119 active, 388 resolved, seven deaths).

There were six new cases Wednesday from 1,062 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.56 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 61 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is nine.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 0.9 per 100,000 people.

There have been 102,612 tests completed.

Quebec: 145,062 confirmed cases (12,740 active, 125,197 resolved, 7,125 deaths).

There were 1,514 new cases Wednesday from 9,764 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 16 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 9,632 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,376.

There were 41 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 210 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 30. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.35 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 83.97 per 100,000 people.

There have been 2,204,216 tests completed.

Ontario: 119,922 confirmed cases (14,526 active, 101,698 resolved, 3,698 deaths).

There were 1,723 new cases Wednesday from 42,779 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 4.0 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 12,039 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,720.

There were 35 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 144 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 21. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.14 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 25.39 per 100,000 people.

There have been 6,146,013 tests completed.

Manitoba: 17,384 confirmed cases (8,970 active, 8,072 resolved, 342 deaths).

There were 277 new cases Wednesday from 2,336 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 12 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,477 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 354.

There were 14 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 86 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 12. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.9 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 24.97 per 100,000 people.

There have been 351,645 tests completed.

Saskatchewan: 8,982 confirmed cases (3,970 active, 4,959 resolved, 53 deaths).

There were 237 new cases Wednesday from 1,342 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 18 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,935 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 276.

There were two new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 16 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.19 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 4.51 per 100,000 people.

There have been 263,604 tests completed.

Alberta: 61,169 confirmed cases (17,144 active, 43,464 resolved, 561 deaths).

There were 1,685 new cases Wednesday from 13,989 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 12 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 10,368 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,481.

There were 10 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 61 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is nine. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.2 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 12.83 per 100,000 people.

There have been 1,487,573 tests completed.

British Columbia: 34,728 confirmed cases (9,835 active, 24,424 resolved, 469 deaths).

There were 834 new cases Wednesday from 5,062 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 16 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,642 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 806.

There were 12 new reported deaths Wednesday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 98 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 14. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.28 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 9.25 per 100,000 people.

There have been 807,438 tests completed.

Yukon: 49 confirmed cases (19 active, 29 resolved, one deaths).

There were two new cases Wednesday from 63 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 3.2 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 10 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.45 per 100,000 people.

There have been 5,399 tests completed.

Northwest Territories: 15 confirmed cases (zero active, 15 resolved, zero deaths).

There were zero new cases Wednesday from 37 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 0.0 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 6,434 tests completed.

Nunavut: 193 confirmed cases (80 active, 113 resolved, zero deaths).

There were 11 new cases Wednesday from 45 completed tests, for a positivity rate of 24 per cent. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 38 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is five.

There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people.

There have been 4,345 tests completed.



BC's top doctor warns against non-essential travel

'Stay put' urges Dr. Bonnie

B.C.'s top doctor is urging British Columbians to "stay put" and avoid travel.

Dr. Bonnie Henry on Wednesday urged people to avoid travelling for non-essential purposes, noting an adult hockey team from the Interior went to Alberta and its members spread COVID-19 in their community when they returned.

"I know that people feel like, 'Oh it will be OK, we've not had any virus here, we'll be fine.' But this is just another cautionary tale that right now, you cannot take these types of licence from the restrictions that we've put in place for all of our safety," she said.

"Making an exception for yourself or for your team or for your recreational needs puts a crack in our wall, and we see that this virus can exploit that very easily at this time of year."

It's crucial that anyone coming to B.C. over the holidays follows public health rules, Henry added.

"I cannot stop you by an order (from) getting into your car or going on to a plane, but I am asking in the strongest of terms for us to stay put."

Henry also addressed what she called a small, vocal minority of people who are pushing back against public health rules.

"This is very real. Ask any of the families who have lost a loved one how real this is."

There are 8,941 active COVID-19 infections in B.C., including 337 people who are in hospital, and more than 10,200 people are being monitored after exposure to a known case.

Henry says COVID-19 cases have levelled off in the Fraser and Vancouver Coastal health regions, but they've been rising in the North, Interior and to a lesser extent on Vancouver Island.

She said there is some variability in how the illness is spreading in different areas, but social interactions are driving transmission across the province.

The illness is still spreading quickly, said Henry, and while health restrictions on social gatherings and other activities are set to end Monday, it's possible the rules could be extended.





Kamloops family sets up Christmas lights, donation box to collect toys for less fortunate

Using Xmas lights for good

A Dallas family is using their massive Christmas light display to help put toys in the hands of kids who might not see much under the tree this year.

The McNutts, led by 14-year-old Cassie, decided last year to collect clothes for local homeless via their display. They collected several truck loads.

"We worked with Out of the Cold shelter and we raised clothes for all the homeless people who didn't have any for Christmas because it was very cold," says the Valleyview Secondary student.

She checked the bin after school each day to find more.

"It felt like Christmas morning every time we got new clothes in the morning," she tells Castanet.

This year, they decided to join up with Christmas Amalgamated, which helps collect and distribute items for infants, children and youth. So far (they started Dec. 1), they've already collected athletic items, like basketballs and a long board, along with makeup and developmental toys.

"We wanted to make sure in a tough year like this that every kid was going to have a chance to have a present," says Don, Cassie's dad.

The lights are his doing. Each year, for about 15 years, the McNutts' display has grown. Don guesses he's got more than 12,000 lights plugged in right now, which he designed to honour frontline health-care workers.

"We want to make sure that they know we're thinking about them," he says.

People are invited to drop off new, unwrapped toys in the bin any time. The lights will go on each night as it gets dark and switch off around 10 p.m., except Christmas Eve when they'll be on late (and the McNutts may be outside waving).

If you'd like to donate but can't get out to 5215 Dallas Dr., Don can be reached at [email protected] (yes, that's the correct email). They also take e-transfers and will go out and buy needed items for Christmas Amalgamated with those funds.



Interior Health no longer has any COVID-19 patients in ICU

IH confirms 66 new cases

Finally, a bit of good news within the Southern Interior concerning COVID-19.

During a media briefing Wednesday afternoon, Interior Health chief medical officer Dr. Albert de Villiers indicated no patients with symptoms of the virus remained in intensive care.

All four patients identified on Tuesday had been released from intensive care sometime Tuesday night or earlier Wednesday.

There are still 18 patients being treated in hospital.

Dr. de Villiers says 66 new COVID-19 cases have been identified over the past 24 hours, bringing the total since the pandemic was declared to 1,899.

There are currently 570 active cases where people are self-isolating at home, and only three deaths from the virus.

He says the outbreak declared Monday at the Mountainview Village long-term care home in Kelowna has still been contained to just one resident and one staff member, while another outbreak at Orchard Manor, which affected just a single staff member, has been declared over.

An outbreak within the new tower construction site at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops has now grown to 13 cases.

Meantime, Dr. de Villiers complimented the work being done at long-term care homes within the IH region.

While a large number of deaths reported across the province from the virus have occurred within long-term care homes, he says the outbreak at Mountainview Village involved the first case involving a resident within IH since the pandemic began.

"That means we are doing something right, or the long-term care facilities are doing something right," he says.

"We are making sure that person is isolated and the staff member is not currently at work. We are making sure we test anybody else that was around them, that was in contact to make sure they aren't sick."

The facility is also stepping up cleaning procedures and making sure visitor restrictions are well executed.

"It looks as if we do have that situation under control, but it started recently, so as we know the virus can take up to two weeks to rear its head.

"We want to make sure we stay vigilant until we can declare it over."



Adult hockey team recently returned from Alberta with COVID-19

Hockey team spreads virus

An “old-timers” hockey team who recently travelled to Alberta has spread COVID-19 to dozens of people upon returning home to B.C.'s Interior.

During her press conference Wednesday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry disclosed the recent incident, but would not say where exactly the hockey team is from.

“We know that there are sports teams in B.C. that have travelled to other provinces despite the restrictions that we have put in place,” Dr. Henry said. “For example, there's a hockey team in the Interior that has travelled to Alberta and now there are dozens of people who are infected and it has spread in the community.

“I can tell you that it was several dozen families that were affected, several businesses that were affected, long-term care that was affected.”

Since Dr. Henry asked British Columbians to stop any non-essential travel in mid-November, the only long-term care homes in the Interior where COVID-19 has been identified has been in Kelowna, meaning the hockey team likely spread the virus in the Central Okanagan upon their return.

Dr. Henry called the incident a “cautionary tale,” and said she's seen several other similar incidents recently.

“For many adults it's a very important part of their socialization, but right now it is risky. Those types of things cannot happen and it meant that a number of the team came back and spread it to their family members and their work places and in their community," she said.

“Making an exception for yourself or for your team or for your recreational needs puts a crack in our wall, and we've seen that this virus can exploit this very easily this time of year.”

While no public health orders restricting travel has been put in place, Dr. Henry and Premier John Horgan have urged British Columbians to stay in their own community unless they are required to travel for work or medical needs.

The Interior has seen spiking COVID-19 cases in recent weeks and there remains 570 active cases in the region.



B.C. had 824 new COVID-19 cases, 12 deaths, in past 24 hours

834 new cases, 12 deaths

Another 834 British Columbians contracted COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, 66 of which came from the province's Interior.

The new cases bring the total positive tests in the province since the beginning of the pandemic to 34,728, and there remains 8,941 active cases – a new high in the province. Of these active cases, 570 are in the Interior Health region.

Another 12 people died from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the total deaths to 469. Ninety-eight British Columbians have died from the virus in the past week alone. 

There are now 337 people in the province hospitalized with the virus, 79 of whom are being treated in ICU. Hospitalizations have risen by one since Tuesday. In the Interior, 18 people are hospitalized, none of whom are being treated in ICU. 

Another 10,201 people in B.C. are self-isolating after coming into close contact with a COVID-positive person. 

Three new healthcare outbreaks were declared in the Fraser Health region and Vancouver Island, while several other outbreaks, including the one at Kelowna's Orchard Manor, have been declared over. There remains active outbreaks at 54 long-term care homes and seven acute care facilities, while 926 residents and 536 staff of long-term care homes have active cases of the virus. 

Two new community outbreaks were declared in the Fraser Health region Wednesday – at Surrey's Cove Shelter and Delta's Millennium Pacific Greenhouse.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also noted the United Kingdom has approved a COVID-19 vaccine, and she expects Canada to follow suit in the coming weeks. She said while this provides some light at the end of the tunnel, it remains important to limit travel and follow B.C.'s public health orders until the virus is under control.

Without providing details, she also said she would be putting in another public health order targeting adult indoor sports. She said details of the order would be posted on the public health order website later today. 



Revelstoke COVID cluster linked to non-essential travel: Horgan

Virus cluster linked to travel

Premier John Horgan reiterated the province's stance on non-essential travel Wednesday, after disclosing the large cluster of cases in Revelstoke stemmed from people travelling to the town for recreation.

Last week, Interior Health announced a cluster of 22 cases had been identified in the small ski town in recent days, and as of Tuesday, the cluster has grown to at least 46 cases. Thirty-two of the cases remain active and an exposure event linked to the cluster has been identified at Ecole de Glacier Elementary.

“The Revelstoke example is people travelling unnecessarily for recreation, that's not acceptable,” Horgan said during a press conference Wednesday. “It was a bad choice and we're living with those consequences.”

While no public health orders have been issued in B.C. that restricts travel, Provincial Health Officer said last month that British Columbians should not be travelling to other communities unless it's absolutely necessary.

“If you don't need to travel, you shouldn't be travelling,” Horgan reiterated.

“This is a critical, dangerous time for British Columbia, with respect to COVID-19. It's absolutely essential that we reduce our interactions with people who are not in our bubble or in our cohort or in our family or in our household unit. I don't know how more clear we can be on that.

“The second wave is well and truly upon us ... we have a lot of COVID in communities on the Island, in the Interior, in the North, in the Lower Mainland.”

While Interior Health is now disclosing the number of cases in Revelstoke, the province continues to refuse to disclose case numbers in most individual towns, citing privacy concerns. Revelstoke's numbers weren't disclosed until 22 cases had been confirmed, and transmission had already been occurring in the community.

But Horgan said the province has been warning British Columbians in all parts of the province since March that there is “no safe place” from COVID-19.



Health Canada to make decision on Pfizer vaccine approval soon, feds say

Vaccine decision soon

Canada is drawing closer to making a decision on a leading COVID-19 vaccine candidate, Health Minister Patty Hajdu said Wednesday as the federal government continued to face pressure to deliver on doses amid mounting cases and deaths.

In a series of Twitter messages, Hajdu described the United Kingdom's decision to authorize the vaccine made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech as "encouraging."

"Health Canada’s review of this candidate is ongoing, and is expected to be completed soon," she wrote.

"Making sure a COVID-19 vaccine is safe before approving it is Health Canada’s priority, and when a vaccine is ready, Canada will be ready."

The Liberal government has been facing criticism on vaccines since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau admitted last week that other countries with domestic vaccine production are likely to inoculate their citizens first before shipping doses to Canada.

On Wednesday, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said it was "completely wrong" that Canada no longer has the capacity to manufacture vaccines — something he blamed on both the Liberals and the previous Conservative governments.

Singh called for the creation of a new Crown corporation to restore the capacity to produce vaccines and other critical medications.

"We should be able to do it at home," he said.

Trudeau also came under fire from the Conservatives, who questioned why Canada is seemingly behind the United Kingdom in the vaccine process.

"Right now, as we speak, Health Canada is looking at four different vaccine candidates — candidates that are leading around the world and that we have signed for tens of millions of doses for," Trudeau said in response to a question from Conservative MP Michelle Rempel Garner.

Health Canada's chief medical adviser said last week that several vaccine candidates are under review, and the first could be approved sometime this month.

Dr. Supriya Sharma said at a briefing on Nov. 26 that the agency expected to make a decision on approval at around the same time as regulators in the United States and Europe.

On Wednesday, Health Canada reiterated in a statement that it was working with international regulators, including those in the United Kingdom, but would make its own decision.

"A vaccine would only be authorized in Canada following the completion of an independent review process assessing its safety, efficacy and quality," Health Canada said.

The race towards a vaccine is taking place against a backdrop of rising infections and deaths in many parts of the country.

Quebec hit a new single-day high of 1,514 infections on Wednesday, as well as 43 new deaths linked to the novel coronavirus.

The province's deputy premier, Genevieve Guilbault, announced strict new limits for the number of shoppers inside shopping malls and big-box stores to come into effect later this week, with a maximum capacity to be determined based on each store's surface area.

Cases and deaths were also high in Ontario, which reported 1,723 new infections and 35 lives lost to the virus.

In Manitoba, which reported 277 new cases and 14 deaths, chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said the health-care system remained under strain. Almost half of the 106 intensive care beds being used in the province are being used by people with COVID-19, he said.



Rate of increase of COVID-19 cases highest in B.C.'s Interior

Interior cases rising quickly

The rate of increase of new COVID-19 is highest in British Columbia's Interior than anywhere else in the province.

New detailed geographical data released by the BC Centre for Disease Control on Tuesday shows there was 420 new COVID-19 cases discovered in the Okanagan between Nov. 13 and 26, an 87 per cent increase from the previously reported two-week period.

Meanwhile, new COVID-19 cases in the Thompson Cariboo Shuswap region doubled its last reporting period, with 68 new cases identified. This region includes Revelstoke, where a cluster of 22 cases was reported back on Nov. 26. That cluster has since grown to at least 46 cases as of Tuesday.

While the data is supposed to be released every Thursday, the most recent data was delayed by several days due to a data reporting error found last week in the Fraser Health region.

The Northern Interior Health Service Delivery Area saw the largest increase in the rate of growth of recent cases, with 153 new cases discovered between Nov. 13 and 26. This is a 155 per cent increase from the last reporting period.

The only Health Service Delivery Area in the province where new cases have dropped since the previous reporting period is in the Kootenay Boundary area, where 13 new cases were found between Nov. 13 and 26, down from 27 over the two weeks prior.

While the rate of growth of COVID-19 has been highest across the Interior, the bulk of the 10,119 new cases in B.C. continue to come from the Fraser South area, which includes Surrey, Langley, Delta and White Rock. From Nov. 13 to 26, 4,781 new cases were identified in this region, while another 1,326 have come from Vancouver.

Close to a third of all of the province's COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic have been identified in the most recently reported two-week period. COVID-related deaths continue to climb, with 94 in that same period. Most recently, another 73 British Columbians have died from the virus since Nov. 26.

More recent Health Service Delivery Area data is expected to be released Thursday.



COVID-19 cluster at Kitimat LNG site climbs to 52 cases

Virus cluster at LNG site

Northern Health is reporting more COVID-19 cases at the LNG Canada work site in Kitimat.

The health authority said Tuesday nine more workers have tested positive for the virus since an outbreak was declared on Nov. 19.

That brings the total to 52 cases, including eight that are currently active.

Two people are self-isolating at the camp, while the others are isolating in their home communities, Northern Health said.

There have been 44 recoveries from the outbreak.



Vancouver Island resort’s mask sign goes viral, makes it to Hockey Night in Canada

Resort's sign goes viral

In the middle of a global pandemic, we all need to take steps to protect each other – and one of the easiest is to wear a mask. 

Oyster Bay Resorts in Campbell River has used humour to encourage anti-maskers to cover up.

“Wear the mask,” reads their letterboard sign. “It’s not like we’re asking you to wear a Flames jersey.”

The burn on the Vancouver Canucks' arch rivals was the work of Andy Peterson, a longtime Canucks fan.

A photo of the sign quickly made the rounds on social media, including Hockey Night in Canada's Instagram, where it has racked up over 12,000 likes.

“It’s amazing how much it’s taken off,” said Peterson. “To see it shared on the Hockey Night in Canada page was just surreal. It was the greatest thing ever. I couldn’t believe it.”

The sign has been a hit in person as well, with many people stopping to take pictures. Currently, the sign has a slightly different message on the opposite side.

“A guy pulled in here Saturday and said, ‘I’ve got a bunch of fans that are Leafs fans, can you change one side to Leafs?’ and I said sure!” said Peterson with a laugh. “So one side says Leafs and the other side says Flames.”

Peterson was quick to point out that it was all in good fun and tongue in cheek. But some Flames fans didn’t find the joke funny.

“You wouldn’t believe the malicious calls my wife has had to deal with at the front desk,” he said. “One woman called saying she was from Red Deer and she just screamed for five minutes about how offensive it was and ‘how dare you.’”

“Another guy called and wanted to know how much it was for four chalets over Christmas,” he added. “It was going to be a little over two grand and then he said, ‘Well you can ****ing kiss that goodbye, because I’m a Flames fan,’ and hung up.”

“I can’t believe people act like that and take it that seriously,” he said. “It’s a sign, dude.”



More Coronavirus articles

Interactive Map of Today's COVID-19 cases in Canada
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus COVID-19 Map
COVID-19 Okanagan Community Resources
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