Provinces 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
Newfoundland and Labrador announced on May 29 that “bubbles” that had been limited to two households could invite six additional people into their circle.
Small gatherings for funerals, burials and weddings had already been allowed with a limit of 10 people following physical distancing rules. However, parties or other social gatherings are still banned.
Outdoor games of tennis have been allowed to resume, though players must bring their own equipment, and not share it.
Pet grooming services began operating May 25, with companies ordered to ensure their employees have personal protective equipment.
Municipal parks, golf courses and driving ranges can open and recreational hunting and fishing are permitted.
The province is in “alert level four” in its five-level reopening plan, allowing some businesses such as law firms and other professional services to reopen along with regulated child-care centres, with some restrictions.
At Level 3, private health clinics, such as optometrists and dentists, will be allowed to open, as well as medium-risk businesses such as clothing stores and hair salons. Overnight camping will also be permitted at level three, though there’s no word yet when that will happen.
At Level 2, some small gatherings will be allowed, and businesses with performance spaces and gyms are to reopen.
Level 1 would represent “the new normal.”
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.
Physical distancing of two metres is still be required, except among members of the same household or family “bubble.” The limit is the same indoors and outdoors, with exceptions for outdoor weddings and funeral services which can have 15 people.
The gathering limit also applies to arts and culture activities such as theatre performances and dance recitals, faith gatherings, and sports and physical activity. Businesses such as theatres, concerts, festivals and sporting activities also have to adhere to the 10-person limit.
McNeil said private campgrounds can also open, but only at 50 per cent capacity and they must ensure public health protocols are followed, including adequate distancing between campsites.
Provincial campgrounds are scheduled to open June 15 at reduced capacity to ensure a minimum of six metres between individual sites.
McNeil has announced that most businesses ordered shut in late March will be allowed to reopen June 5, as long as they have a plan that follows physical distancing protocols.
The list of businesses includes bars and restaurant dining rooms, hair salons, barber shops, gyms and yoga studios, among others.
Some health providers will also be allowed to reopen, including dentistry, optometry, chiropractic and physiotherapy offices. Veterinary services can also operate along with some unregulated professions, such as massage therapy, podiatry and naturopathy.
McNeil earlier announced there would be no return to school this year, and a decision on reopening daycares would be made by June 8.
Trails and provincial and municipal parks can now reopen along with garden centres, nurseries and similar businesses, but playground equipment is still off limits.
Public beaches have reopened along with outdoor activities like archery, horseback riding, golf, paddling, boating and tennis, with the proviso that social distancing and hygiene be maintained.
Sportfishing is permitted and people can attend boating, yacht or sailing clubs for the purpose of preparing boats for use.
Drive-in religious services are now allowed, if people stay in their cars, park two metres apart and there are no interactions between people.
Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island has extended its public health emergency until June 14.
On May 29 Premier Dennis King also announced that people wanting to travel to seasonal residences must submit an application beginning June 1, and those will be put through a risk assessment before approval. Seasonal residents will also be tested for COVID-19 before completing the two weeks they must spend in self-isolation after arriving in the province.
King said that beginning June 1, the Island would move into the third phase of its reopening plan, which will allow such things as in-house dining at restaurants, small groups to participate in recreational and some sporting activities and libraries to reopen. Phase three will also allow gatherings of up to 15 people indoors and 20 people outdoors, organized recreational activities and the opening of child-care centres.
As well, family and friends will be allowed to visit residents at long-term care homes. The visits will be by appointment only and must take place outdoors.
Under phase 2, non-contact outdoor recreational activities were permitted, while retail businesses were told they could reopen when they’re ready. Precautions, such as physical distancing remain in place.
Priority non-urgent surgeries and select health-service providers, including physiotherapists, optometrists and chiropractors, resumed on May 1.
The P.E.I legislature resumed May 26.
All 27 of the province’s confirmed cases have recovered from the virus.
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 were also allowed 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 up May 22 also had to close again. And people should only be travelling in and out of Zone 5 for essential reasons.
Restrictions in the yellow phase of the province’s recovery plan will be lifted beginning June 5. The activities include outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people, 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.
Licensed daycares started reopening May 19. Children don’t have to wear masks or maintain physical distancing, but are being kept in small groups.
Anyone who has travelled outside of New Brunswick will not be allowed to visit early learning and child-care facilities for 14 days.
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 resumption of elective surgeries was also part phase two of the province’s reopening plan.
Phase one, which started on April 24, allowed limited play on golf courses as well as fishing and hunting. Post-secondary students were allowed to return if it was deemed safe by the school, and outdoor church services were again permitted, providing people remain in their vehicles and are two metres apart.
The final phase, which will probably come only after a vaccine is available, will include large gatherings.
Quebec began allowing outdoor gatherings with a maximum of 10 people from three families with social distancing in place as of May 22.
On May 25 some retail businesses reopened in the greater Montreal area. Quebec reopened retail stores outside Montreal on May 11.
Day camps across the province will be allowed to open as of June 22, with physical distancing and other COVID-19 health measures in effect. That means smaller groups of children and frequent handwashing. As for sleep-away summer camps, they won’t be allowed to reopen until next year.
Lottery terminals are also reopening after being shut down on March 20 with sales moving to online only.
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 will remain closed until late August.
Premier Francois Legault says public health conditions haven’t been met in the area hardest hit by the coronavirus, so Montreal daycares will also remain closed until at least June 1.
The good news, he says, is that hairdressers, nail salons and other personal care businesses will be able to open in the Montreal area on June 15.
Meanwhile, 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 began its first stage of reopening May 19 including lifting restrictions on retail stores and surgeries.
The province says workplaces can begin to reopen but working from home should continue as much as possible.
The Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario says the profession is currently in Stage 2 of its three-phase reopening plan. Dentists had previously only been allowed to practice emergency or urgent care on patients in-person, but can now offer other essential services with enhanced precautions.
All construction can resume, and limits will be lifted on maintenance, repair and property management services, such as cleaning, painting and pool maintenance.
Most retail stores that have a street entrance can reopen with physical distancing restrictions, such as limits on the number of customers in a store and providing curbside pickup and delivery.
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.
Other businesses and services included in the stage one reopening include regular veterinary appointments, pet grooming, pet sitting and pet training; libraries for pickup or deliveries; and housekeepers and babysitters.
Premier Doug Ford earlier announced that Ontario schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year.
Meanwhile, this summer’s Honda Indy Toronto has officially been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Manitoba government has lifted its one-month limit on people’s prescription drug supplies, allowing people to again get prescriptions filled or refilled for 90 days.
Its health offices, including dentists, chiropractors and physiotherapists can also reopen. Retail businesses can reopen at half occupancy providing they ensure physical spacing.
Museums and libraries can reopen, but with occupancy limited to 50 per cent.
Playgrounds, golf courses and tennis courts have reopened as well, along with parks and campgrounds.
On May 22 the province began allowing groups of up to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.
The province also plans to ease a ban on people visiting loved ones in personal care homes. By June 1, homes will be allowed to offer limited, outdoor visits with a maximum of two guests per resident. Visitors will be screened on their arrival and will have to continue to practice physical distancing.
Community centres, seniors clubs and tattoo parlours are also getting the go-ahead. In all cases, there will be limits on customer capacity and rules for physical distancing.
Bars, tattoo parlours, dine-in restaurants, fitness clubs and pools will be allowed to reopen June 1 under limited capacity.
Elementary and high schools stopped in-class instruction in March and will not reopen this school year. But they will be allowed, as of June 1, to offer tutoring or student assessments in small groups. Some extracurricular sports and other activities can restart.
At universities and colleges, some specific instruction such as labs and arts studios will be able to resume for up to 25 students and staff at a time.
Amateur sports and recreation programs, as well as bowling alleys, are on the list to resume operations.
A ban on non-essential travel to the province’s north is also being eased as of June 1. Southern residents will be allowed to travel directly to cottages, campgrounds and parks, but are being told to avoid visiting northern communities.
Youth and adult sports will resume along with film productions. And outdoor religious services will be allowed with no crowd limits if people stay in their vehicles.
Movie theatres and casinos must remain closed. Concerts, professional sporting events and other large public gatherings won’t be considered until at least September.
Manitoba has extended a province-wide state of emergency until mid-June, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Saskatchewan government’s five-phase plan to reopen its economy started May 11 with dentists, optometrists and other health professionals allowed to resume services. Phase 1 also includes reopened golf courses and campgrounds.
Under phases 2 and 3 the province says restaurants, gyms and nail salons can start reopening on June 8. Restaurants will be allowed to operate at half capacity and restrictions will also lift on some personal care services, childcare centres and places of worship.
The government also plans to increase its 10-person gathering limit to 15 people indoors and to 30 for those outdoors. The increase wasn’t supposed to happen until a later date.
Phase 4 could see arenas, swimming pools and playgrounds opening.
In Phase 5, the province would consider lifting restrictions on the size of public gatherings.
Alberta has completed the first phase of its economic relaunch. Retail shops, restaurants, day cares, barber shops, hair salons, farmers markets and places of worship have reopened with some conditions.
Outdoor gatherings are currently limited to 50 people, and indoor gatherings to 15.
The next phase is scheduled to begin June 19 with the reopening of stage and movie theatres, spas and services like manicures, pedicures and massages.
Alberta earlier increased the limit for outdoor gatherings to 50 people – up from 15.
It allowed some scheduled, non-urgent surgeries to start on May 11.
Service provided by dentists, physiotherapists and other medical professionals are also permitted. Golf courses reopened May 2, though pro shops and clubhouses remain shuttered.
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. Hotels, resorts and parks will follow in June.
Parents in B.C. will be given the choice of allowing their children to return to class on a part-time basis in June. The government says 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. A mix of online and classroom post-secondary education is planned for September.
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.
The Northwest Territories announced on May 12 a reopening plan that contains three phases, but the government didn’t say when it would be implemented.
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.
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.
Yukon has been gradually easing pandemic restrictions since May 15 with dine-in restaurants, day cares and recreational centres reopening.
Territorial parks and campgrounds will open for the summer next week.
Two households of up to 10 people in total are currently able to interact with each other as part of a “household bubble.”
The territory’s reopening plan outlines five phases including a period after a vaccine is available.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 30, 2020