Roundup: Cda’s 10,000th COVID death, tax break for accommodation owners, driver kills social-justice advocate, theatres in peril, tales of the supernatural

As of yesterday (Oct. 29), Nova Scotia has four known cases of COVID-19, with no new cases revealed in the latest update. So far, Nova Scotia has had 110,723 negative test results, 1,102 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and 65 deaths.

Nationally, the federal government is reporting 27,259 active cases of COVID-19, including 9,188 in Quebec, 7,578 in Ontario, and 4,921 in Alberta. The death toll recently topped the 10,000 mark, and now stands at 10,074.

Tax relief for hotel, motel, and inn owners
Yesterday, the provincial government announced the Tourism Accommodations Real Property Tax Rebate Program, which promises a 25% rebate on 2020–21 commercial property tax for hotel, motel, and inn owners.

Geoff MacLellan

“We know that hotels, motels and inns have immediate cash flow needs because of the decline in visitors due to COVID-19,” says business minister Geoff MacLellan in a press release. “They are facing commercial tax bills assessed on the previous year’s revenues with a significantly reduced ability to pay.”

To be eligible, a business must be a “roofed accommodation” as defined in the Tourist Accommodation Registration Act, be registered as a host under the act, have more than five rooms, and not owe any taxes. The business also must, for April 1–Oct. 31, 2020, have incurred revenue loss for room accommodation of more than 30% compared to same period the previous year.

New operations that weren’t in business before April 1, 2020 “may” still get a rebate if they show lower than 50% occupancy rate since opening.

The giving season
As Christmas approaches, a Truro woman is working to make sure those in need in her community aren’t left behind, as she prepares 100 stockings full of gifts and essentials.

“They are everyday people who are struggling,” she says. “They are marginalized. They’re sharing rooms. They don’t have money for food. Most don’t have families at Christmastime… For some, all they get at Christmas is a stocking.” Raissa Tetanish shares her story, and details on how you can help, for Hub Now.

A truck driver struck and killed Bob Mertens on Oct. 1, 2020.

Lunenburg Co. loses a social-justice advocate
Bob Mertens’s bike was a vehicle for social justice. The 64-year-old cabinetmaker from Lunenburg Co. was often on two wheels, on international cycling tours to raise money for good causes. “Every time I heard from Bob, as he was coming back from one epic cycling tour or readying for the next,” says Alex Neve from Amnesty International.

Mertens was on that same bike on a rural road on Oct. 1, when a truck driver hit and killed him. As police continue to investigate, his family mourns.

“An uncompromising activist doesn’t always fit comfortably in his world, but we were very proud of him,” says his wife Catherine. “He would think that a ‘legacy’ was too grand an idea for him. He was fun, he loved his kids and his home life, he loved to ride his bike… He would want us to try to be kind to each other and accord everyone the dignity they deserve.” Keith Corcoran reports for LighthouseNow.

Community theatres may never recover
The small local theatre groups that comprise so much of Nova Scotia’s arts scene are facing an existential crisis without the government financial support that is flowing into other sectors, supporters warn.

“We lost our revenue overnight, close to 80%, once the theatres were shut down,” says Festival Antigonish managing director Reema Fuller. “And without emergency help to recover from those kinds of losses and try to figure out how to reopen, we’re left with a lot of questions and uncertainty.” Drake Lowthers has the story for The Reporter.

Spooky city
Monsters, ghosts, and murder most foul—Halifax has a rich history of supernatural legends. As Halloween looms, we light a candle, clear the cobwebs, and tiptoe into the archives to retrieve a Katie Ingram collection of the city’s supernatural tales.

You may know of the Citadel’s ghosts or the downtown’s haunted buildings, but have you heard of the sea monster that terrified the city’s early European settlers?

Three separate groups of people saw it near the current site of Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Witness William Barry told the Nova Scotian “he saw the head distinctly, and at one time eight coils of his body above the water, and is persuaded that he is at least 60 feet in length.”

Read more in Ingram’s Halifax Magazine story, originally published October 2016.

Need to know
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This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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