Nfld. & Labrador

No new COVID-19 cases in N.L., as board of trade pushes for looser restrictions

Monday's new recovery marked a new COVID-19 milestone, as 1,000 people have now recovered from COVID-19 in the province.

Board of trade calls for entire province to move to Alert Level 2

There are now four active COVID-19 cases in Newfoundland and Labrador, and 122,146 people have now been tested. (Sherry Vivian/CBC)

For the fourth straight day, there are no new cases of COVID-19 being reported in Newfoundland and Labrador, and a new recovery has pushed the province to a new milestone: 1,000 total recoveries since the pandemic hit in March.

The province's last new case was reported Thursday, and the new recovery drops the active caseload to four, all in the Eastern Health region. One person is in hospital due to COVID-19.

To date, 122,146 people have been tested for COVID-19 in the province, up 146 from Sunday.

The province saw 21 people recover from the virus over the weekend. Newfoundland and Labrador also moved to Phase 2 of its vaccination plan, meaning anyone over the age of 70 can register to get their shot.

Monday's update was provided by email in place of the what had been a regular COVID-19 briefing on Mondays, one of three per week. With lower numbers, the provincial government is scaling back the number of weekly briefings, with the next one scheduled for Wednesday.

Move the whole province to Alert Level 2, says board of trade

In a media release issued Monday morning, the St. John's Board of Trade called on the Department of Health to move the entire province in Alert Level 2. Right now, the Avalon Peninsula is in Level 4, with the rest of the province in Level 3, with a reassessment of those levels expected by Friday.

Justin Ladha, chair of the St. John's Board of Trade, said businesses have proven they can safely operate within COVID-19 guidelines over the course of the pandemic but heightened restrictions have greatly affected businesses.

Moving to a lower level would allow the opening of hair salons, bars and in-person dining, all at a reduced capacity. But the possibility of skipping levels is something Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has spoken against in the past, telling the public to expect a "cautious transition" between levels in March.

The board of trade says it's grateful for the swift and effective work of public health officials but heightened health restrictions have been devastating for local businesses.

"Businesses throughout our community have demonstrated they can safely operate in accordance with public health measures," Ladha said. "Every day that a business can open its doors and serve customers is a day that matters."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from The Canadian Press

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