In this second wave what’s essential?

A list of FAQ’s from the Premier’s office on the Stay at Home Order

So here we are in the midst of another stay at home order from the provincial government. Apparently our numbers warrant this drastic action. So be it.

There are differences from the previous lockdown we had roughly this time last year. The first time we went into lockdown, the government issued a definitive list of what and what was not essential services. What businesses could justify staying open.

If you look above, this time it’s more of a wish washy, if you feel you’re essential then you’re essential attitude. Why this murky grey zone? The provincial conservative government, is returning to a tried and true tropism of conservatism. The rural parts of the province are so different and unique from those effete liberal elites in Toronto.

Only, I can’t for the life of me see what is so uniquely essential for Timmins that isn’t essential for Toronto. Or vice versa. In fact would that be a great litmus test to determine what is truly essential or not? What can you not live without in Toronto and Timmins? Grocery stores, hardware and building supply stores, pharmacies, gas stations etc would clearly make the list. Restaurants would be included in that list as well. Outside of that, what else would be considered essential to live?

Of course, since we are in lockdown all services would be restricted to curbside pick up, or take out. But we’ve all been doing that for so long it’s not anything shocking by now. By not putting definitions in their orders, we’re just leaving everything open to interpretation. And isn’t that how we got into this predicament in the first place?

What the Toronto BBQ fiasco tells us about ourselves…

The in the latter half of November, it appeared that a plague of misinformation and conspiracy fuelled anti-masking may have taken root here in Canada. By now the story of the lone restauranteur who decided to defy public health guidelines because of a google search he did gained national headlines.

However, that turned out not to be the case. The restaurants on the front lines, the ones who’s livelihoods are being threatened with bankruptcy, the ones with a lot to lose due to these restrictions, didn’t flock to his support.

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Doug, would you like some waffle with those ribs?

If you live in the GTHA, then everyone is aware of Adamson BBQ’s supposed defiant stand against COVID-19 regulations. Restauranteur Adam Skelly, posted to his Instagram his plans to defy Toronto’s lockdown order and open his restaurant for full service yesterday. His justification for defying the rules? Well it’s apparently buried in his Google search history.

Regardless, his actions drew out the crowd you’d suspect. The conspiracy driven and selfish of the GTA. The ones who don’t care about you or I? Or the loved ones we haven’t been able to see because we all have stronger fortitude to see our selves through this pandemic than they do.

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The 905er talks wine in Niagara

Paradise Lost? The 905er Podcast

They didn't pave Paradise. Instead the City of Hamilton released 24 billion litres of untreated sewage into it. Thursday's episode covers three 905 stories: the latest changes of direction on our schools and an education minister with egg on his face; $5 million for Burlington City Hall's front yard; a new stinky mess in Cootes Paradise. But don't worry, the rotting mass of odiferous gunk is 'just algae', although that algae may be a product of damage caused by the sewage spill. Joel and Roland roll up their sleeves and dive in, so you don't have to. Thanks to those who help us put this together: Thanks to our patrons! You can join them at Supporting the 905er with a monthly donation enables us to do this podcast, to make it better and better, and to make sure it reflects your priorities. Please consider joining our growing team. The Quadrafonics: fantastic opening and closing tunes! Don’t forget to check out, even if you get the podcast delivered to your automatically. We post additional news and stories there when we can, and welcome submissions and ideas for additional content.  
  1. Paradise Lost?
  2. "They Don't Know How The System Works" – Andrea Grebenc and Patrick Murphy Speak Frankly About Provincial Education Mistakes
  3. Parks and Vaccination: failures of logic and imagination by multiple levels of government
  4. San Grewal of The Pointer talks about the politics of the 905.
  5. 50 Shades of Grey – Is Ontario Heading Into A Third Lockdown?

Covid-19 has upended a lot of norms in our lives. Most impacted has been the tourism and hospitality sectors. Where business was most often conducted face to face and in more intimate and comfortable surroundings, the entire industry has been forced to throw out old business models and invent new ones.

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Is this a path forward for restaurants?

This is a terrific opinion piece in the New York Times today. As many long time readers of my site know, I’m very passionate about the survival of the hospitality sector. However, I am also a realist. I don’t believe there is a return to the way things were in the past.

The pandemic is forcing our restauranteurs to innovate and find new models for success. This column in the Times I think shows a path forward. Some of the circumstances are different from here in Canada. However, one of the good things is that the help that will be needed to facilitate the transition is mostly still in place here in Canada. Wage subsidy, rent relief and financial help for people are a part of our lives now in Canada. If we play this right, the industry just might survive.

A woman prepares a cake in a restaurant kitchen

How to Save Restaurants

By Priya Krishna of the New York Times

One of the great things about living in The 905

After less than 40 min in possibly the world’s longest drive thru line, you’d find yourself here.

I like to think that every community have key events that mark the calendar year. Social events that mark the beginning of one season and the start of another. Here in Burlington, the change of season with the start of summer and the end are signified by two events.

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Small things can add up quickly

Summer is coming to an end. Patios were often filled with families and friends enjoying the great weather we had. If you strolled by parks, you’d hear the laughter of kids playing and running. That first take of the situation would lead one to be convinced that we’d indeed surpassed the pandemic. We had adjusted our lifestyle and beaten COVID-19.

What if I told you that was a lie? Things are not okay. By many accounts they won’t get any better any time soon. The weather is about to get colder. In Canada we know what that means, we tend to retreat indoors seeking warmth and fellowship. In the age of COVID-19 though, that is a recipe for disaster. Patios are going to be shut down soon, schools are starting up, and we haven’t seemed to make any adjustments for what life will look like this fall.

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The season of change is upon us.

The seasons are about change and rebirth. It is part of life that we all accept. As we enter into the fall, we begin to prepare for change once again. That change this year, is unprecedented as we continue to struggle with life with COVID-19.

For parents around the world, they are struggling to adapt to a new school environment. The school year comes with new risks to us all. Federally, the government is preparing to end many of the programs it put in place at the start of the pandemic. CERB is ending, and the CEWS is ending in December.

Criticism still abounds in the government’s response to the pandemic. Arguments exist that the supports were a failure to begin with. Destined to fail. Erin O’Toole, newly minted Conservative Party leader, has made the argument that jobs should have been prioritized over handing money to people directly.

The problem I find with these arguments is they are suited to a time prior to COVID-19. As we inch closer and closer to the inevitable second wave, it is becoming apparent that consumer confidence isn’t there. The restaurant industry is still facing significant closures, and this week the CNE expressed concerns it’s not going to be able to survive after this year.

New thinking is required to get us through this pandemic. The programs the federal government put in place, were helpful to stem the tide and prevent a mass collapse of our economy. However, we have reached the stage where we need to seriously rethink how this all works. Jobs are not returning on mass to displaced workers. Major sectors of the economy are on shaky ground. Propped up by government supports.

It is apparent that the supports cannot stay forever as they exist right now. However, the economy and society cannot survive without them. Something new will be required. Whether that is a UBI, a modified EI structure or something different, it remains to be seen.

A few weeks ago, I spoke with Jason Cassis on my podcast The 905er. He’s a restauranteur in Hamilton. He’s innovating his way out of this pandemic. We need to allow folks like him to innovate our economy and way of life. Instead of struggling to preserve an old way that no longer serves us as long as COVID-19 exists.

We are a smart and industrious people. We can’t be afraid of change. Things are going to change indeed as we find a way to live through this pandemic.

In case you missed it, I’ll leave a link to the podcast below here for you to listen to.

The 905er Logo

The 905er Episode 5 is ready to listen to!

This weeks episode was a bit of a change of pace. Still fascinating nevertheless. If you’ve been a long time reader of my site, you’ll know that the hospitality industry holds a special place in my heart.

We spoke with Jason Cassis owner of Equal Parts Hospitality in Hamilton. While other restaurants are shutting down or barely staying afloat, he is taking the initiative to open a new concept restaurant. A virtual kitchen called Mamma Rossa, which serves exclusively delivery and catering options to customers.

It was a fascinating and in my opinion really uplifting discussion. The pandemic has provided new opportunities for entrepreneurs to take advantage of. We’ll need that innovation and risk taking spirit to transform our economy into a post-COVID19 model.

Have a listen on your favourite podcast app and subscribe by clicking on the link here.

Or listen here:

Nominee for most boneheaded tweet of the year is…

Donna Shelly, MPP for Flamborough-Glanbrook tweeted a photoshopped pic of herself having dinner at the Aberdeen Tavern in Hamilton.

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