COVID-19 restrictions were relaxed in much of Quebec Monday and Ontario announced that its reopening plan will be moved ahead as health indicators there continue to improve.
The Ontario government said it will begin loosening restrictions on businesses and outdoor gatherings as of Friday. It had originally planned to begin the first step of the reopening plan on June 14.
The new rules will allow gatherings of up to 10 people. Some outdoor dining, as well as outdoor fitness classes, outdoor religious services and camping will also be allowed to resume.
As the province reported 525 new cases of COVID-19 and 15 additional deaths, Premier Doug Ford thanked residents in a statement for their “enormous sacrifices’’ and credited the success of the province’s vaccine campaign for the early reopening.
The Ontario government said 72 per cent of adults in the province had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Sunday night, well above the 60 per cent goal set for the reopening date.
In New Brunswick, the news was less promising as the province announced a delay in reopening after failing to meet its vaccination target. Health officials had aimed to administer at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine to 75 per cent of eligible residents by the end of Monday.
However, Premier Blaine Higgs said only 70.3 per cent of those eligible to receive a vaccine had done so by Monday morning. Higgs said the province will need another four or five days to meet its target and begin the first phase of its reopening plan, adding that all health-protection restrictions will remain in place until the target is reached.
In Montreal, residents were able to dine inside restaurants Monday for the first time in eight months, as Quebec’s largest city, its northern suburb of Laval and several other municipalities became the last parts of the province to move out of its highest pandemic alert level.
Other Quebec regions saw restrictions relaxed further today, including three that are now at the province’s lowest alert level, as the province announced 194 new cases of COVID-19 and three more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus.
In Nunavut, health officials announced fully vaccinated travellers will be exempt from the territory’s 14-day isolation requirement starting June 14.
Travellers will have to apply for an exemption and show proof of vaccination, chief public health officer Dr. Michael Patterson said.