Provinces continue to emerge from COVID-19 shutdown
Health & Safety Canada COVID-19 editor pick Province Reopening
Toronto, Peel enter Stage 2 of the reopening framework today
Provinces and territories across Canada have been releasing plans for easing restrictions that were put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Here is what some of the provinces have announced so far:
Newfoundland and Labrador
The province entered “Alert Level 3” on June 8 in its five stage reopening plan. It means groups of up to 20 people are now permitted, as long as they observe physical distancing. Up to 19 people are allowed on public transit.
Private health clinics, such as optometrists and dentists, can open, as well as medium-risk businesses such as clothing stores and hair salons.
Travel within the province is also permitted, including to second homes, parks and campgrounds. And 11 government service centres will reopen to offer in-person services that can be booked by appointment, including written tests, driver exams and identification photos.
During Level 4 some businesses such as law firms and other professional services were allowed to reopen along with regulated child-care centres, with some restrictions.
Outdoor games of tennis were allowed to resume, though players must bring their own equipment and not share it.
Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said the province could move to the next alert level by as soon as today (June 22nd).
At Level 2, businesses with performance spaces and gyms are to reopen, while Level 1 would represent “the new normal.”
Provincial campgrounds reopened June 15 at reduced capacity to ensure a minimum of six metres between individual sites. Private campgrounds had already been given the green light to reopen, but only at 50 per cent capacity. They must also ensure public health protocols are followed, including adequate distancing between campsites.
Licensed child-care centres and family daycare homes also reopened across Nova Scotia on June 15.
On May 29, Premier Stephen McNeil announced a new gathering limit of 10 people, doubling the limit of five that was imposed in late March. The limit is the same indoors and outdoors, with exceptions for outdoor weddings and funeral services which can have 15 people.
Nova Scotia has allowed summer day camps for children to open as long as they have a plan to follow public health measures.
Most businesses ordered shut in late March were allowed to reopen on June 5. The list of businesses includes bars and restaurant dining rooms, hair salons, barber shops, gyms and yoga studios, among others.
Some health providers were also able to reopen, including dentistry, optometry, chiropractic and physiotherapy offices.
McNeil earlier said there would be no return to school this year.
Prince Edward Island
The province moved into the third phase of its reopening plan June 1, which allows such things as in-house dining at restaurants, small groups to participate in recreational and some sporting activities and libraries to reopen. Phase three also allows gatherings of up to 15 people indoors and 20 people outdoors and the reopening of child-care centres.
As well, family and friends can visit residents at long-term care homes. The visits require an appointment and must take place outdoors.
Prince Edward Island Premier Dennis King said people wanting to travel to seasonal residences could apply, and would be put through a risk assessment before approval. Seasonal residents were also to be tested for COVID-19 before completing two weeks in self-isolation after arriving in the province.
Under Phase 2, non-contact outdoor recreational activities were permitted, and retail businesses could reopen with physical distancing and select health-service providers.
Priority non-urgent surgeries resumed on May 1.
The P.E.I legislature resumed May 26.
New Brunswick moved to the yellow phase of its COVID-19 recovery plan on May 22, allowing barbers and hair stylists to reopen as well as churches and fitness facilities. Dental care, massage, chiropractors and other “close contact” businesses and services could also reopen.
But the Campbellton region, which extends from Whites Brook to the Belledune, had to take a step backwards to the “orange” level on May 27. Residents were told to once again avoid contacts outside their two-household bubble. Non-regulated health professionals and personal service businesses that opened May 22 also had to close again. And people should only be travelling in and out of Zone 5 for essential reasons.
Further restrictions were lifted on June 5. Outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people were allowed, as well as indoor religious services of up to 50 people, low-contact team sports and the opening of a long list of facilities including swimming pools, gyms, rinks, water parks, and yoga and dance studios.
Under New Brunswick’s latest recovery rules, Canadian residents can now visit family members or properties they own in the province, provided they self-isolate for 14 days — or the duration of their visit if it is less than two weeks.
As well, New Brunswick residents no longer need to self-isolate when returning from work in another Canadian province or territory.
All organized sports will resume with appropriate physical distancing and sanitizing. Overnight camps will reopen and indoor visits will resume at long-term care facilities for one visitor at a time, or two if one of the visitors needs help.
The cap on the number of people who can gather in controlled venues — including churches, swimming pools and rinks — has been lifted, but crowd numbers will be limited by the ability to maintain physical distancing.
Masks in any building open to the general public are required except for children under the age of two, children in daycare and people who cannot wear face coverings for medical reasons.
Retail businesses, offices, restaurants, libraries, museums and seasonal campgrounds were earlier allowed to reopen providing they had clear plans for meeting public health guidelines.
The final phase, which officials have said will probably come only after a vaccine is available, is to include large gatherings.
Quebec reopened several sectors and relaxed the rules for indoor gatherings Monday, particularly impacting the Montreal area.
Restaurants can reopen in the greater Montreal and Joliette areas while indoor gatherings of up to 10 people from three households are now permitted in these regions, like elsewhere in Quebec.
Gyms, arenas, cinemas, concert venues and places of worship may reopen across the province with a maximum capacity of 50 people for indoor gatherings.
Day camps across the province reopened Monday, with physical distancing. Sleep-away summer camps won’t be allowed to reopen until next year.
Residents of long term care homes that don’t have active COVID-19 cases were earlier allowed to receive visitors inside, meet people outdoors and participate in group activities.
They were also allowed to leave the facilities unaccompanied and remain out for more than 24 hours. Beginning Friday, volunteers and hairdressers will also be allowed inside the facilities.
On May 25, some retail businesses reopened in the greater Montreal area, while retail stores outside Montreal reopened on May 11.
Parks and pools have also been allowed to reopen across the province with certain restrictions.
Sports teams resumed outdoor practices on June 8, and matches can resume at the end of the month. That includes baseball, soccer and any other sports that can be played outdoors.
Quebec’s construction and manufacturing industries have resumed operations with limits on the number of employees who can work per shift. Elementary schools and daycares outside Montreal reopened on May 11, but high schools, junior colleges and universities will stay closed until September.
Elementary schools in the greater Montreal area are to remain closed until late August.
Courthouses across the province were permitted to reopen on June 1, with limited seating capacity and Plexiglas barriers protecting clerks and judges.
Camping is now allowed outside the Montreal and Joliette regions, as are cottage rentals.
Checkpoints set up to slow the spread of COVID-19 came down on May 18 in various parts of Quebec, including between Gatineau and Ottawa.
Ontario’s two most heavily populated regions will see more businesses open their doors today as Toronto and Peel move into the next stage of the province’s COVID-19 recovery plan.
The two regions officially enter Stage 2 of the pandemic reopening framework, joining nearly all the rest of the province that began ramping up activities on June 19.
Windsor-Essex remains the only region not cleared to move to the next phase, due to stubbornly high COVID-19 case numbers on farms in the region.
Businesses given the green light to resume operations in Toronto and Peel today include hair stylists, pools and tour guide services.
Restaurants are also allowed to reopen their patios for dine-in service, though no one is yet allowed to be served indoors.
Meanwhile, the limit on social gatherings increased from five to 10 provincewide. Restrictions on wedding and funeral ceremonies across the province were also eased. The number of people allowed to attend an indoor ceremony is restricted to 30 per cent capacity of the venue, while outdoor events are limited to 50 people. However, the number of people allowed to attend all wedding and funeral receptions remains at 10.
Ontarians can resume visiting loved ones in long-term care homes, as long as they test negative for COVID-19.
All construction has resumed, with limits also lifted on maintenance, repair and property management services, such as cleaning, painting and pool maintenance.
Golf courses can reopen though clubhouses can only open for washrooms and take-out food. Marinas, boat clubs and public boat launches can also open, as can private parks and campgrounds for trailers and RVs whose owners have a full season contract, and businesses that board animals.
Short-term rentals including lodges, cabins, cottages, homes and condominiums were allowed to resume operations on June 5.
The Ontario government says students will likely return to school in September with a mix of in-class and remote learning, though boards will develop various scenarios, depending on how COVID-19 is spreading at that point. Premier Doug Ford said there won’t be a one-size-fits-all approach in schools, but parents provincewide will have the option of sending their children back to class or keeping them learning remotely.
Ontario schools are to remain closed for the rest of the current school year.
This summer’s Honda Indy Toronto has been cancelled.
Several more restrictions were eased in Manitoba on Sunday.
Restaurants and bars no longer have to operate at half capacity, however tables will have to be two metres apart or have a physical barrier in between them. Non-smoking bingo halls and video lottery terminal lounges can also reopen at 50 per cent capacity.
Child care centres and retail stores can return to normal capacity, and people arriving in Manitoba from the other western provinces, northern territories and northwestern Ontario no longer have to self-isolate for 14 days.
Larger public gatherings are also allowed.
Instead of a cap of 25 people indoors and 50 outdoors, people can fill up to 30 per cent of the capacity of any venue as long as they can be split into groups of 50 indoors or 100 outdoors. Each group must be able to enter and exit separately.
On June 1, the province eased a ban on people visiting loved ones in personal care homes. Homes can now offer outdoor visits with a maximum of two guests per resident. Visitors will be screened upon arrival and must practice physical distancing.
Amateur sports and recreation programs, as well as bowling alleys, have been allowed to resume operations.
Elementary and high schools will not reopen this school year.
Saskatchewan moved into the next phase of its reopening strategy Monday.
Under Phase 4.1 camping in national parks can resume, but by reservation only.
Youth camps can reopen, but for day use only, and with guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19, including the constant disinfection of play structures and monitoring of children for coronavirus symptoms.
Outdoor sports like soccer, softball and flag football can resume, though full-contact sports remain prohibited, as does competitive play, tournaments and inter-provincial travel for games.
Shared equipment must be disinfected frequently, while congratulatory gestures, such as high fives and handshakes, are not permitted.
Saskatchewan’s outdoor swimming pools and spray parks can reopen with physical distancing, maximum capacity, and stringent cleaning rules in effect.
Though they can now do so, some municipalities, including Regina and Saskatoon, have said they won’t be reopening their outdoor pools right away.
The province is also doubling the allowable size of indoor public and private gatherings to 30 people where space allows for two metres between participants
The third phase of Saskatchewan’s reopening plan started June 8 with the province lifting a ban on non-essential travel in the north.
More businesses were also allowed to reopen, including places of worship and personal care services such as nail salons, tattoo parlours and gyms.
Up to 150 people or one-third the capacity of a building, whichever is less, can attend church services, including weddings and funerals.
Outdoor graduations can be held with a maximum 30 graduates per class and an overall attendance of 150 people. The previous limit was 15 people indoors and 30 people outdoors.
Restaurants and bars can open at half capacity, with physical distancing between tables, and child-care centres can open their doors to a maximum of 15 kids.
The second part of Phase 4 is expected to include reopening guidelines for indoor pools, rinks, libraries, museums, galleries, movie theatres, casinos and bingo halls. A date for Phase 4.2 has yet to be announced.
In Phase 5, the province will consider lifting restrictions on the size of public gatherings.
The Saskatchewan government says students will return to regular classes in September.
In Alberta, everything from gyms and arenas to spas, movie theatres, libraries, pools and sports activities got the green light to reopen on June 12.
More people were also allowed to book campsites and sit in restaurants at the same time.
Fifty people can now gather indoors and up to 100 can congregate outside.
Among the other activities allowed to go ahead are casinos and bingo halls, community halls, instrumental concerts, massage, acupuncture and reflexology, artificial tanning and summer schools.
Major festivals and sporting events remain banned, as do nightclubs and amusement parks. Vocal concerts are not being allowed, given that singing carries a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission.
Alberta aims to have students back in classrooms this September though Education Minister Adriana LaGrange says a final decision will be made by Aug. 1.
The provincial government allowed a partial reopening of the B.C. economy starting May 19.
The reopening plans are contingent on organizations and businesses having plans that follow provincial guidelines to control the spread of COVID-19.
Parents in B.C. were given the choice of allowing their children to return to class on a part-time basis starting June 1. The government said its goal is for the return of full-time classes in September, if it’s safe.
Under the part-time plan, for kindergarten to Grade 5, most students will go to school half time, while grades 6 to 12 will go about one day a week.
Conventions, large concerts, international tourism and professional sports with a live audience will not be allowed to resume until either a vaccine is widely available, community immunity has been reached, or effective treatment can be provided for the disease.
Although Nunavut still has no confirmed cases of COVID-19, the territory did implement a wide range of public health measures to keep residents safe.
Some have since been relaxed.
Gyms and pools are available for solo workouts and lap swims.
Dental, physiotherapy, massage and chiropractic clinics, as well as offices and stores can open with appropriate safety measures.
Individuals may visit galleries, museums and libraries, and daycares are open.
Outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people are permitted. Territorial parks and municipal playgrounds may reopen.
The Northwest Territories announced on May 12 a three-phase reopening plan.
The plan includes more gatherings and the possible reopening of some schools and businesses. However, the territory’s borders remain closed indefinitely to non-residents and non-essential workers.
There are several requirements that must be met before any measures are relaxed: there must be no evidence of community spread; travel entry points in the territory are strong and secure; risks are reduced from workers coming into the territory; and expanded community testing is available.
In the Yukon new guidelines have been released for long-term care facilities that will allow for visits with one designated person at a pre-set location outdoors.
The territory also said bars with an approved health and safety plan could reopen at half capacity under certain other restrictions starting June 19.
Travel restrictions will be lifted between Yukon and B.C. after July 1 under the second phase of the territory’s pandemic restart plan. After that date, travellers between the province and territory will no longer be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
The territory says monitoring the status of neighbouring jurisdictions will determine if it’s safe to further lift restrictions.
Territorial parks and campgrounds have also reopened.
Two households of up to 10 people in total are currently able to interact with each other as part of a “household bubble.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 24.
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