A look at how provinces plan to emerge from the COVID-19 shutdown
By The Canadian PressCOVID-19 Updates Features COVID-19 social distancing
Provinces and territories 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
On July 3, Newfoundland and Labrador joined the other Atlantic provinces in lifting travel restrictions within the region.
Residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island can now travel to any of the other three provinces without self-isolating for 14 days after arriving.
Visitors from provinces and territories outside the region are still required to self-isolate for 14 days and adhere to local entry requirements. However, once the self-isolation period has passed, those visitors will also be allowed to travel within the Atlantic region.
The premiers of Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick have also hinted restrictions could soon be lifted for visitors from the rest of Canada if all goes well.
The province has also said it would begin allowing provincial historic sites to reopen, starting July 4. All sites will have one-way flow patterns for visitors, with designated entrance and exit doors where possible.
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.
Eleven government service centres reopened 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.
At Level 2, businesses with performance spaces and gyms are to reopen, while Level 1 would represent “the new normal.”
Nova Scotia and the other Atlantic provinces lifted travel restrictions within the region on July 3.
Residents of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island can now travel to any of the other three provinces without self-isolating for 14 days after arriving.
The province has also increased the limits on gatherings organized by recognized business or community organizations. That includes weddings, funerals, cultural events, concerts, festivals, dance recitals and faith-based gatherings, which, as of July 3, increased to 250 people if they’re outdoors and 200 — with maximum 50 per cent capacity — if they’re indoors. In either case, physical distancing is still required.
The province announced on June 26 that all bars and restaurants could resume operating at full capacity and serve customers until midnight. However, establishments must continue to adhere to physical distancing rules.
The province is also allowing private campgrounds to operate at 100 per cent capacity. Provincial campgrounds reopened June 15 at reduced capacity to ensure a minimum of six metres between individual sites.
All public pools can now reopen with physical distancing for lane swimming and aquafit classes.
These events do not include family gatherings, which remain limited to a 50-person maximum with physical distancing.
The province earlier announced that Nova Scotians could start gathering in close social groups of up to 10 without physical distancing.
Licensed child-care centres and family daycare homes reopened across the province on June 15.
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.
The province has said there will be no return to school this year.
Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island and the other Atlantic provinces lifted travel restrictions within the region on July 3.
The province has now moved into Phase 4 of its reopening strategy.
Households can gather in groups of up to 15 indoors and up to 100 people can congregate in larger venues. People can also gather for religious services of up to 50, or up to 100 in larger churches.
More personal services are also available and casinos are reopening.
Under Phase 3, which began June 1, in-house dining at restaurants was allowed. Small groups were permitted to participate in recreational and some sporting activities and libraries got the green light to reopen. Gatherings of up to 15 people indoors and 20 people outdoors and the reopening of child-care centres were also allowed.
As well, family and friends could once again visit residents at long-term care homes, though the visits require an appointment and must take place outdoors.
People wanting to travel to seasonal residences can apply to do so, and will be put through a risk assessment before approval. Seasonal residents will 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 and the other Atlantic provinces lifted travel restrictions within the region on July 3.
Its premier has also hinted restrictions could soon be lifted for visitors from the rest of Canada if all goes well.
The province 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’s 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 can resume with appropriate physical distancing and sanitizing. Overnight camps can reopen and indoor visits can 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 can’t wear face coverings for medical reasons.
Retail businesses, offices, restaurants, libraries, museums and seasonal campgrounds were earlier allowed to reopen providing they have 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.
Premier Francois Legault says masks will be mandatory for all public transit users as of July 13.
Legault says following a two-week grace period ending July 27, anyone without a mask will not be permitted onto a public transit system anywhere in the province.
Quebec reopened several sectors and relaxed the rules for indoor gatherings on June 22, 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 can reopen across the province with a maximum capacity of 50 people for indoor gatherings.
Day camps across the province have also reopened, 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 for more than 24 hours. Volunteers and hairdressers were also 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 courts will resume in-person proceedings today (July 6) after being shuttered for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ministry of the Attorney General has said courtrooms will reopen gradually, with the goal of having all courtrooms operational by November 1.
Torontonians riding public transit must now wear face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19 — the new rule going into effect July 2.
Toronto city council voted to make wearing masks mandatory in public indoor settings, with the bylaw coming in to effect on July 7.
Mayor John Tory says the temporary bylaw will not affect social gatherings.
Mayors from the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area asked Premier Doug Ford to make masks mandatory across Ontario, but the premier rejected the idea.
Ferry service between Toronto and the Toronto Islands resumed on June 27 but at only 50 per cent capacity to allow for physical distancing.
The Toronto Zoo also reopened and the province said it was loosening some restrictions around indoor sports and fitness to enable amateur and professional athletes to train.
Ontario’s two most heavily populated regions had more businesses open their doors on June 24 as Toronto and Peel moved into Stage 2 of Ontario’s pandemic reopening framework.
All regions of the province except the southwestern communities of Leamington and Kingsville have now officially entered Stage 2.
Businesses given the green light to resume operations in Toronto and Peel 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 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 has 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.
This summer’s Honda Indy Toronto has been cancelled.
Several more restrictions were eased in Manitoba on June 21.
Restaurants and bars no longer have to operate at half capacity, however tables must 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’s top doctor says his advice on wearing masks to protect against COVID-19 could change in the coming months.
Wearing a mask in Saskatchewan isn’t mandatory now, but chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab says it may become a rule if there’s an uptick in transmission rates.
Saskatchewan is expanding its COVID-19 guidelines for visitors to long-term care homes. Starting July 7, health officials say residents of long-term care homes can have two family members or support persons for visits, with one person allowed in the facility at a time.
Patients in intensive care and those receiving palliative care can have two people present at the same time, as long as they keep physical distance.
Visitors are expected to follow health-care guidelines, such as wearing masks, to protect others against the spread of COVID-19.
Saskatchewan moved into the latest phase of its reopening strategy on June 22.
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.
British Columbia announced on June 30 that it would allow visitors in to long-term care homes.
Government health restrictions were eased to permit one designated person to see a long-term care resident after being limited to virtual meetings or phone calls since March.
The province allowed hotels, motels, spas, resorts, hostels and RV parks to resume operating on June 24.
Premier John Horgan said the province has been successful at flattening the curve on COVID-19, which means it can ease more health restrictions and gradually move into the third phase of its reopening plan.
He said the province is able to open more industries, institutions and recreation areas, but gatherings must remain at 50 people or less.
The government allowed a partial reopening of the B.C. economy starting May 19.
The reopenings 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.
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.
Nunavut, which now has one presumptive case of COVID-19, implemented a wide range of public health measures to keep residents safe. But 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 50 people are permitted while indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people. Territorial parks are being reopened for outdoor activities only and municipal playgrounds have also reopened.
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.
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.
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.”
Travel restrictions between Yukon and B.C. were lifted July 1 under the second phase of the territory’s pandemic restart plan. Travellers between the province and territory are no longer required to self-isolate for 14 days.
Residents of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut can now enter Yukon without quarantining, as long as they travel directly from one of the territories or through B.C.
All residents of Canada who live outside Yukon, B.C., the Northwest Territories and Nunavut must self-isolate for 14 days in Whitehorse when they arrive in the territory.
News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2020.
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