Roundup: Masking continues in schools and at many businesses, child poverty stats paint grim picture, South Shore MP backs Charest for Conservative leadership

Many Nova Scotians, like Pictou retail worker Johanne Doyle, are continuing to mask as COVID rages.

Plus: A sweet legacy — Chef Mandy Wingert’s journey from her grandmother’s kitchen to international acclaim

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to spread in the province and across the country, masking will remain mandatory in Nova Scotians public schools until at least Victoria Day, education minister Becky Druhan announced yesterday.

“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve worked with Public Health to keep kids in schools,” she says in a press release. “Our approach has allowed us to keep schools open for most of the year and allowed our students to continue in-person learning.”

Tim Houston’s government ended most masking requirements last month, but many Nova Scotian businesses are still using the protection, as medical experts recommend.

Johanne Doyle is a worker at Seaside Treasure Trove in Pictou, one of many businesses where staff continue to mask. “I just feel more comfortable with the tourist season coming on,” she says. “We’ve seen a lot of tourists already. We’re a small business. We can’t afford to have anyone out … You get used to them. I think I feel more comfortable wearing it than not wearing it.” Steve Goodwin has more for the Pictou Advocate.

The World Health Organization tallies 1,046,031 confirmed new cases of COVID globally in the last 24 hours. The provincial government withholding daily data, so it’s difficult to know how many Nova Scotians are ill, but infectious diseases researcher Dr. Tara Moriarty recently estimated that Nova Scotia has about 16,000 new cases per day, more than tenfold the government’s lab-confirmed figures.

So far, COVID has killed 6,185,242 people worldwide, including 38,095 people in Canada and 263 Nova Scotians

Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton

Child poverty stats paint grim picture
At a recent Port Hawkesbury council meeting, Jim Mustard, from the Raising the Villages advocacy group, shared details about the extent child poverty in the region.

Mustard told council that in western Cape Breton, 30 per cent of children are considered vulnerable when entering school, and the child poverty rates on the island are 26 per cent, with the number in We’koqma’q First Nation at 44 per cent.

Port Hawkesbury Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton cautions that the numbers were gathered pre-pandemic and could now be “magnified.”

“Vulnerability is more than a poverty-related statistic,” she says. “It would more likely be developmental delays, and other challenges, with kids entering the school system.”

Jake Boudrot has the story for the Reporter.

Local MP backs Charest for Conservative leadership
South Shore representative Rick Perkins is backing former Quebec premier Jean Charest for the federal Conservative leadership, citing “concerns” about some of frontrunner Pierre Poilievre’s policy views.

Poilievre is running a scorched-earth campaign, noted for harsh criticism of the government and even other Conservatives who don’t share his views, while Charest promises a different style.

“A lot of Canadians who are not involved in politics are watching this leadership race because they sense there’s something about the future of this country that is going to be decided here, and that question is are we going to go down the route of American-style politics or are we going to stay Canadian,” Charest says. “The other part is Canadians are looking for an adult in the room; the country is badly divided right now, and this party has a special responsibility to be a national alternative.”

Keith Corcoran interviews him for LighthouseNow.

Today, Mandy Wingert is sous chef at Shannex Parkland. Photo: LinkedIn

A sweet legacy
When she was three years old, Mandy Wingert stood at her grandmother’s side, watching her make poppy seed strudel. When another task pulled the woman away, the toddler decided to help.

When her grandmother returned, she discovered young Mandy had somehow worked her little hands into the dough, finished preparing it, added the filling, and rolled it up for baking. 

Her grandmother was astonished: “How did you ever know how to do that?” 

It was the start of a culinary journey that would lead Wingert to kitchens and competitions around the world, and a career feeding residents in a local care home.

Dorothy Grant shares her story in this new Unravel Halifax post.

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