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Canada’s COVID-19 supports have come to an end. Businesses say they still need help

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Canadian business owners and advocates say the expiry of federal COVID-19 benefit programs this weekend comes too soon. They argue uncertainty about future pandemic waves remains high.

As of Saturday, all of the most recent supports announced last fall, including the targeted wage and rent subsidy programs and the $300-per-week Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit, are no longer available despite what owners say is still an urgent need. “The supports have been the only reason I’m open still,” said Summer Baird, owner of the Hintonburg Public House restaurant and bar in Ottawa. “With every new wave or new variant, there’s a lot of uncertainty, because they’re telling everyone to stay home and only go out if they need to still.

And yet we’re expected to be open fully and run a normal business, which doesn’t really make much sense to me.” Read more: Small businesses plea for more debt help amid 6th COVID-19 wave Although restrictions on dining out have been mostly lifted in Ontario and every other province, Baird says her sales remain between 40 and 60 per cent of what she was pulling in before the pandemic.

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18-year-old drums for Pearl Jam as Matt Cameron continues COVID recovery
Pearl Jam were joined on drums by an 18-year-old at their Oakland, California show this weekend – see footage below.The Seattle legends’ drummer Matt Cameron is out of action on the band’s current tour after testing positive for COVID, so they’ve been enlisting stand-in drummers.Pearl Jam were joined by a fan on drums at their Oakland show on Thursday (May 12), with touring member and former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer also stepping in on drumming duties for a series of tracks including Neil Young’s ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’, ‘Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town’, ‘Why Go’ and ‘Corduroy’.With Cameron still isolating, Saturday’s (May 14) show also saw the band recruit another stand-in drummer for a song.Kai Neukermans joined the band for 2013 song ‘Mind Your Manners’, and told the San Fransisco Chronicle that, after hearing that Cameron was unavailable to play the show, he texted Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder‘s daughter Olivia, who he had met on a previous occasion.He was then invited to send a video of him drumming along to a Pearl Jam track, which he skipped school to do, and ended up on stage at the Oakland Arena.Fan-shot footage sees Vedder telling the crowd during the show: “Everybody this is Kai; Kai this is everybody! You’re leading the band, brother.”See footage below.Last week, Pearl Jam honoured Foo Fighters’ late drummer Taylor Hawkins during their LA concert at The Forum by performing 2005 song ‘Cold Day In The Sun’.The original version of the track featured Hawkins on lead vocals and, for the Seattle band’s performance of it, Cameron took on singing duties.Cameron and Hawkins previously worked together in the band Nighttime Boogie Association, releasing two songs together