Nfld. & Labrador

No new COVID-19 cases in N.L. as tennis resumes, pet groomers set to reopen

The province has now gone 17 days without a new case of coronavirus, with outdoor tennis courts allowed to open and pet groomers set to reopen Monday.

3 active cases in the province as of Sunday

There are no new cases of COVID-19 in Newfoundland and Labrador Sunday. Sunday marks 17 straight days without a new positive case in the province. (NIAID-RML/Reuters)

It has been 17 straight days without a new case of COVID-19 in Newfoundland and Labrador, with pet groomers preparing to reopen Monday and tennis courts already getting the go-ahead to reopen on Friday.

According to a news release from the provincial government, there were no new cases on Sunday.

The province's total number of cases remains at 260. By region, there are 242 cases in the Eastern Health region, eight cases in the Central Health region, four cases in the Western Health region and six cases in the Labrador-Grenfell Health region.

There are three active cases of COVID-19 in the province, as 254 people have recovered from the virus and there have been three deaths.

By age, there are:

  • 22 people with the virus 19 and under.
  • 38 between 20 and 39.
  • 38 between 40 and 49.
  • 58 between 50 and 59.
  • 57 between 60 and 69.
  • 47 between 70 and above.

All three of the province's active cases are people in hospital, with one person remaining in intensive care. As of Sunday's release, 11,287 people have been tested for the virus — up 79 since Saturday's update.

The province is moving from holding its COVID-19 briefings every weekday to holding them on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with news releases on the other days of the week.

Groomers preparing to reopen

Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, the province's chief medical officer of health, announced Friday that outdoor tennis courts could open immediately, and pet grooming services can reopen to the public Monday.

The announcement left Tricia Stuckless, owner of Ooh La La Pet Spaw in Mount Pearl, scrambling to ensure the proper protocols are in place for Monday morning to keep employees, pets and their owners safe.

She says when clients arrive, they'll drop their pets into a quarantine area, removing leashes and collars, while she stands behind a barrier. Groomers will wear protective equipment like masks and gloves, along with goggles and face shields for baths. 

Stuckless, who has been doing emergency grooming appointments, said preparing to reopen has put her in debt.

"I'm looking at about four to five grand and that's just starting.… [I'm] definitely a little scared," she said.

Groomer Tricia Stuckless says demand for appointments is through the roof now that she'll be able to reopen Monday. (Submitted by Tricia Stuckless)

Stuckless is also down three employees, since some can't return for health reasons.

"I am looking to hire new staff. I think everybody is really still pretty scared and they're not really sure if it's safe yet," she said.

The phones here just never stopped.- Tricia Stuckless

Meanwhile, demand for appointments is skyrocketing. Stuckless said she had 50 messages on her answering machine Friday morning.

"Then I came in two hours later to find another 50 on my answering machine, and then at two o'clock when they announced that we were opening up Monday … the phone here just never stopped," she said. 

"I can't even get back to people with an appointment time because all I'm doing is answering, just writing down who needs an appointment, and who is most desperate."

Stuckless said she will work seven days a week for 12 hours a day to try to catch up on missed appointments, with severely matted animals for medically necessary grooming being scheduled first. She is asking for patience from her clients as she works through the backlog.

Tennis players 'raring to go'

Mike Meaney, head professional and technical director for Tennis Newfoundland and Labrador, says it didn't take them long to spring into action once the province announced tennis could resume Friday.

Rules put in place by the provincial government say tennis players must label their own equipment and are prohibited from sharing equipment with other players.

Eva-Lynn Rice of Paradise, 9, is excited to get back on the court at the Riverdale Tennis Club. (Submitted by Lori Rice)

Meaney taught his first private lesson Sunday morning to Eva-Lynn Rice at the Riverdale Tennis Club.

"She's nine years old, finished playing in the Atlantic championships a couple of months ago," said Meaney. "She's just raring to go."

He said they don't share rackets, and balls will be marked with the coach's initials, then picked up at the end of practice. 

He said players and coaches will practise physical distancing.

"There won't be a whole lot of up close and personal coaching. Sometimes you have to direct the player by use of feel," said Meany. "Some of those methodologies will have to be kind of out the window, at least for the foreseeable future." 

Tennis players will be prohibited from sharing equipment when courts reopen. One way players have decided to tell who owns what is by putting initials on the ball, signalling who has touched it. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

Meaney said their proposal to the government requesting courts reopen was sensible, and he's glad courts have reopened.

"I've been suffering financially, as well. But you know, I'm just happy to be getting back out there." he said. "I just enjoy working with kids."

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