Why can I get a haircut, but not see my friends? Your COVID-19 questions answered
Here's what you're asking us today about the coronavirus pandemic
The information in this article was current at the time of publishing, but guidelines and advice can change quickly. Check with your local public health unit for the most-current guidance, and find the latest COVID-19 news on our website.
We're answering your questions about the pandemic. Send yours to COVID@cbc.ca and we'll answer as many as we can. We'll publish a selection of answers every weekday online, and also put some questions to the experts during The National and on CBC News Network.
So far we've received more than 30,000 emails from all corners of the country. Your questions have surprised us, stumped us and got us thinking, including a number about restaurant reopenings including this one from Eli R:
Why are restaurant and kitchen staff not wearing masks?
Another sector that's getting the go-ahead to reopen, with restrictions, in several provinces is the restaurant industry, although in Manitoba and Quebec, restaurants will be open for take-out, delivery, patio and walk-up service only. So why aren't kitchen and other restaurant staff wearing masks or other protective gear if they're serving the public?
Many are wearing masks, but it's not mandatory.
The coronavirus is not food-borne, and the chance of transmission through food preparation is quite low. Frequent hand-washing, particularly before or after handling food and containers, can further mitigate the risks.
You can read more about COVID-19 and food in earlier editions of the FAQ.
Dr. Peter Lin, CBC medical specialist and family doctor, suggests kitchen staff should keep two metres apart and customer-facing personnel should also maintain physical distancing and wear masks.
The national organization Restaurants Canada says it's working to ensure that food service operators are kept up to date on guidance from the government.
Read more about how restaurants across Canada are handling COVID-19.
Why is it okay to get a haircut, but not visit with friends and family?
As some provinces start reopening next week, Oreleen L., from Manitoba, wonders why it's safe to get a haircut, but not to visit with friends and family.
As far as hair salons go, yes, as of May 4 you can get a haircut in Manitoba; however, hair stylists and barbers must follow restrictions before they can open. These include:
- Staff and clients must use the self-screening tool before booking an appointment.
- Employees must stay home when ill with COVID-19 symptoms.
- Clients are screened by telephone before an appointment is booked and are not seen if they have COVID-19 symptoms.
- Appointment times are staggered to allow for physical distancing, and clients should attend alone, without friends or family.
In provinces like New Brunswick, where hair stylists are still waiting for the go-ahead to reopen, some salons are putting up plexiglass barriers to comply with physical distancing rules, in the hope that they will be able to see customers again soon.
Oreleen L. also wants to know why she can't visit family and friends. According to a Manitoba provincial spokesperson, visiting with family has never been prohibited in the province, but limited contact with others helps flatten the curve.
"Social distancing guidelines remain in place and work by limiting the number of people that you and your family come into close contact with," the province says.
Is Canada looking into using remdesivir?
The U.S. is fast-tracking approval of a drug to help treat COVID-19 called remdesivir, which top health official Dr. Anthony Fauci said, has a "clear cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery," after favourable results of a clinical trial.
We've had several people, including JP L., ask whether Canada will be using this antiviral drug as a treatment.
Remdesivir, which impairs the coronavirus's ability to replicate, was initially used to treat Ebola, but is not officially approved for use in Canada. Yet, some hospitals are getting access to it through "individual compassionate use."
What does this mean? Health Canada has a program, which allows particular, unapproved drugs to be used in unique cases. Health Canada states the makers of remdesivir, Gilead, is transitioning to this "provision of emergency access" but can no longer accept more requests due to "an overwhelming demand."
In an email to CBC News, Gilead said it is ramping up production but did not specify how much remdesivir would be sent to Canada.
WATCH | Vik Adhopia on The National about remdesivir's clinical trial:
Can I move during the pandemic?
Today is May 1, meaning rent and moving are on the minds of many, including Pauline B., who wonders if she can change residences during the pandemic.
The short answer is yes, there are no rules preventing it. But remember, the less you stay at home, the more your risk to potential exposure climbs.
"It's a tough time to be undertaking a move," said Dr. Samir Gupta, respirologist and assistant professor at the University of Toronto.
He explains that moves often require a lot of exposure to various surfaces, such as door knobs and handles, which are some of the riskiest forms of transmission of the coronavirus. He urges those moving to be aware of how many surfaces they touch and to maintain good hand hygiene.
"Be very cognizant of handwashing," he said. "We say it again and again but it really is the very best way for someone to protect themselves."
Some of the movers we contacted are also taking extra precautions, including giving crews hand sanitizer and instructing them to physically distance whenever possible.
We're also answering your questions every night on The National. Last night, an infectious disease specialist answered your questions about the COVID-19 pandemic, including whether airborne transmission is possible. Watch below:
Thursday we answered questions about vaccine development and wearing masks over beards.
Keep your questions coming by emailing us at COVID@cbc.ca.