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Ontario to lower hydro rates as COVID-19 outbreak forces more to work from home

An Ontario government source says the premier will announce Tuesday that hydro rates will be temporarily lowered as many people work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The source told CBC Toronto it will be done by moving all of the current time-of-use pricing to off-peak rates.

As first reported by the Globe and Mail, it’s expected families will save more than $20 per month, small businesses will save $150 and farms will save more than $300.

The new pricing structure will be in place for 45 days and is expected to cost the government about $162 million.

Non-essential businesses to close

Meanwhile, the closure of all non-essential businesses in Ontario to help curb the spread of COVID-19 will take effect later today.

Premier Doug Ford announced the closures Monday to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

The government says that Ontarians will still have access to grocery stores and pharmacies, and their power and telecommunications will continue to run.

Businesses that support IT infrastructure service providers, power generation, natural gas distribution and clean drinking water will also stay open.

Beer, wine and liquor stores have been given the green light to continue operations, as have gas stations, taxis and vehicle repair businesses.

Ontario reported 78 new COVID-19 cases Monday — the largest increase in a day so far — bringing the provincial total to 503, including six deaths and eight cases that have fully resolved.

Updated numbers from the province are expected around 10:30 a.m. ET and again at 5:30 p.m.

Ford will speak to the media from Queen’s Park at 1:00 p.m. He will be joined by Minister of Health Christine Elliott and Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines Greg Rickford and Finance Minister Rod Phillips.

You can watch a livestream of that news conference in this file.

Grocery store employee tests positive for COVID-19

The parent company of Real Canadian Superstore said late Monday that an employee at its location on Gibb Street in Oshawa location has tested positive for COVID-19.

In an email to PC Optimum members, Loblaw Companies Limited executive chairman Galen Weston said the location will be closed for a “deep-clean” and that the company is in contact with public health officials.

“To keep our stores safe, we will partner with public health to identify and support any colleagues who should self-isolate. They will be instructed to stay home and we will pay them in full,” Weston said.

CBC

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