Mon, 26 Oct 2020

TORONTO, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- Toronto, Canada's largest city, announced on Thursday that it has canceled all city-organized and city-sponsored events in the rest of this year to prevent the spread of the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic.

The cancellation "is based on public health advice and includes festivals and other large in-person gatherings held at outdoor sites managed by the city or other public locations, such as roads, parks and civic squares," according to the announcement.

However, the announcement does not include outdoor sport facility permits and activities; and other city facilities/sites that are permitted in Stage 3 of the Province of Ontario's Framework for Reopening and comply with the current gathering limit restrictions. Professional sporting events are also not included.

As many cultural organizations depend in large measure on revenues from their events, the city said it has created the Cultural Festivals Recovery Program (CFRP), and will provide 565,000 Canadian dollars(about 423,000 U.S. dollars) in support for canceled cultural events.

In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, virtually all major events across the country were canceled this year. This includes parades, festivals, large ethnic and religious celebrations, fairs, exhibitions and sporting events.

The loss of these events has been a huge economic blow to cities and communities, and to the organizations, mostly non-profit, that depend on such revenues.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday evening that the COVID-19 second wave has already begun in the country.

"The second wave isn't just starting, it's already underway. We're on the brink of a fall that could be much worse than the spring," said Trudeau in his evening address to the nation.

COVID-19 cases have jumped in Canada from about 380 cases per day in mid-August to 1,248 on Tuesday, prompting the Trudeau government to implore Canadians and public health policy-makers to redouble infection prevention efforts now or face a "very sharp and intense peak" in new COVID-19 cases that would likely lead to a return of national lockdowns.

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