Provinces will slowly reduce restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19, in a May 11, 2020 story. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

More COVID-19 restrictions being lifted across the country

Some significant steps will be taken today in the slow process of lifting restrictions imposed to limit the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada.

Quebec, which accounts for more than half of the country’s novel coronavirus cases, is reopening elementary schools and daycares outside the Montreal area.

Students will be subject to physical distancing and frequent handwashing while school officials follow public health guidelines for cleaning and disinfection.

Attendance, however, is not mandatory, and two school boards have told The Canadian Press that most of their students will be staying home for now.

Quebec is also allowing most retail stores outside Montreal to open today, but pushed back the opening date for schools and other businesses in the hard-hit metropolis to May 25 as case numbers there remained high.

Meanwhile, Ontario is allowing non-essential retail stores to open for curbside pickup today, after letting hardware and safety supply stores to reopen on the weekend.

It’s also opening its provincial parks, though visitors must adhere to physical distancing rules and park camping grounds, beaches and playgrounds will remain closed.

Alberta is also planning to allow some retail stores to open this week, while Saskatchewan and Manitoba began to gradually reopen last week.

British Columbia is phasing in the reopening of its economy with certain health services, retail outlets, restaurants, salons and museums resuming some operations in mid-May.

On the other side of the country, Newfoundland and Labrador is allowing some medical procedures to resume today, 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 can also reopen.

As of this morning Canada had recorded 68,848 confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, including 4,871 deaths and 32,109 cases resolved.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 11, 2020.

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