A look at how provinces plan to emerge from COVID-19 shutdown

A look at how provinces plan to emerge from COVID-19 shutdown

Provinces have begun to release 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 plans to loosen some public health restrictions in a series of five “alert levels.” The move to level four on May 11 will allow some medical procedures to resume as well as low-risk activities, such as golf, hunting and fishing. Low-risk businesses including garden centres and professional services, such as law firms, will be able to reopen under level four. Alert level four is to remain in place for at least 28 days. At level three, private health clinics, such as optometrists and dentists, will be permitted to open, as well as medium-risk businesses, such as clothing stores and hair salons. At level two, some small gatherings will be permitted, and businesses like performance spaces and gyms will be allowed to open. Level one will represent “the new normal.”

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Prince Edward Island

The Renew P.E.I. Together plan calls for the restart of priority non-urgent health-care services on May 1, including certain elective surgeries and select health-service providers, including physiotherapists, optometrists and chiropractors. Also to begin May 1 are outdoor gatherings and non-contact outdoor recreational activities of no more than five individuals from different households. Screening is to continue at points of entry and all people coming into P.E.I. will be required to isolate for 14 days.

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New Brunswick

Premier Blaine Higgs put the first phase of his four-phase reopening plan into action April 24. It allows limited play on golf courses as well as fishing and hunting. Two families are allowed to interact as part of a so-called “two-family bubble.” Post-secondary students can return if it’s deemed safe by the school, and outdoor church services can be held, if people remain in their vehicles and are two metres apart. The second phase, which could begin within two to four weeks would see resumption of elective surgeries, and reopening of daycares, offices, restaurants, ATV trails and seasonal campgrounds. The third phase would allow regular church services, dentistry work and reopened fitness centres. The final phase, which would probably come only after a vaccine is available, would include large gatherings.

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Quebec

Premier Francois Legault has set May 11 as reopening day for schools and daycares outside greater Montreal. The city is to follow suit on May 19. Legault says attendance won’t be mandatory. High schools, junior colleges and universities are to remain closed until September. Quebec aims to open retail stores outside Montreal by May 4 while those in the greater Montreal region are to reopen May 11. The construction industry is to completely start up May 11, while manufacturing companies are to resume operations the same day with initial limits on the total number of employees who can work per shift.

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Ontario

Premier Doug Ford released a three-step plan on April 27, but did not include a timeline. Stage 1 could include opening select workplaces that could modify operations such as providing curbside pickup or delivery, opening parks, allowing for more people at certain events such as funerals, and having hospitals resume some non-urgent surgeries. Stage 2 could include opening more businesses, opening more outdoor spaces, and allowing some larger public gatherings. Stage 3 would include having all workplaces open and further relaxing rules on public gatherings — though large ones such as sporting events and concerts would still be restricted.

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Saskatchewan

The Saskatchewan government released on April 23 a five-phase plan to reopen parts of its economy. Lifting of some measures could start May 4, with dentists, optometrists and other health professionals allowed to resume services. Phase 1 also includes reopened golf courses and campgrounds. Phase 2 would give the green light to retail businesses and salons. Restaurants and gyms could open in Phase 3 but with limited capacity. 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.

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Manitoba

May 4 is the day Manitoba plans to allow reopening of health offices, including dentists, chiropractors and physiotherapists. Retail businesses to reopen at half occupancy as long as they can ensure physical spacing. Restaurants to reopen patios and walk-up service. Museums and libraries to open doors, but occupancy to be limited to 50 per cent. Playgrounds, golf courses and tennis courts can reopen along with parks and campgrounds. A second phase of the plan is to begin no earlier than June 1. That’s when restaurants to be allowed to open indoor dining areas and non-contact children’s sports to resume. Mass gatherings such as concerts and major sporting events will not be considered before September.

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Alberta

Alberta plans to allow some scheduled, non-urgent surgeries to start May 4. Dentists, physiotherapists and other medical professionals will be allow to open along with golf courses. On May 14, retail businesses, such as clothing, furniture and bookstores, will be allowed to reopen gradually. Cafes and restaurants with no bar service will also be allowed to reopen at half capacity. The second phase of Alberta’s plan includes potential kindergarten to Grade 12 classes, with restrictions, and movie theatres and theatres, again, with restrictions. The third phase includes nightclubs, gyms, pools, recreation centres and arenas all with restrictions. There is no timeline for the final two phases.

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British Columbia:

The province hasn’t released its reopening plan, but Premier John Horgan is promising details next week.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 30, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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