Coronavirus: US-Canada border closed to non-essential trips
The U.S.-Canada border will be closed to all non-essential travel in both directions Friday night, according to the Canadian government. Both countries have been in talks this week to negotiate a mutual halt to tourism and family visits but leaving the flow of trade intact, the Associated Press reported. U.S. flights headed to Canada will indeed fly as scheduled, though passengers will face screening. Those arriving must self-isolate for 14 days and anyone exhibiting symptoms won't be allowed to enter Canada. The closure comes after U.S. and Mexican officials announced they were working on a similar "non-essential" travel ban along the southern border.
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Calif. Gov. Newsom orders new state guidelines to fight pandemic
Californians will be greeted Friday morning by a new set of guidelines designed to help combat the spread of the coronavirus. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a statewide order Thursday, directing all California residents to stay home and limit the spread of the virus within the state. In the order, Newsom identified 16 critical infrastructure sectors — including those providing food, healthcare and energy — that will remain open, adding that Californians can still go outside and pick up food and essentials. The order, among the nation's most restrictive to date, was announced hours after Newsom unveiled an alarming projection claiming more than half the 40-plus million people in his state will contract COVID-19 in the next eight weeks.California is the nation's most populous state and has the largest economy.
Olympic flame arrives in Japan but will the Games go on?
The Tokyo Olympics are under serious pressure due to coronavirus, but the iconic Olympic torch arrived in Japan Friday on a flight from Greece. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Tokyo organizers and the IOC have repeatedly said the Olympics will open as scheduled on July 24, a stance that has come under fire from athletes. In an interview with the New York Times, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said the organization is “of course” considering alternatives if COVID-19 makes it impossible to hold the Games, but that cancellation is not one of them. The official start of the four-month torch relay around Japan is set to begin on March 26.
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Bed Bath & Beyond closing half of its stores. Will yours stay open?
Bed Bath & Beyond is the latest retailer to announce it is temporarily closing 800 stores due to the coronavirus pandemic. But at the same time, the New Jersey-based company is keeping approximately 700 locations open because they sell essentials including health care, cleaning supplies and food. The firm said in a statement to USA TODAY that its website will be updated by mid-morning Friday with a list of stores that are open with limited hours and which are closed. "Our mission is to make it easy for our customers to feel at home and we remain committed to delivering for them, however we can, during this difficult time," CEO Mark Tritton said in a statement.
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Pandemic pick-me-up: Hallmark Channel serves up Christmas movie marathon
Amid the unrelenting gloom of the coronavirus pandemic, Hallmark Channel figures we all need a little Christmas now. The network is rolling out reruns of its Christmas movies to spread some holiday cheer while people are stuck inside due to self-isolation and social distancing. The marathon kicks off Friday at noon with 2015's "A Christmas Detour" starring Candace Cameron Bure. The lineup of feel-good flicks continues through Sunday, ending with "Christmas in Rome" starring Lacey Chabert (6 p.m. EDT/PDT).
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coronavirus pandemic, Olympic flame: 5 things you need to know Friday