Saskatchewan moves to Phase 4.1 of its reopening strategy today, which allows camping in national parks to resume, but by reservation only, in a June 22, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Quebec, Saskatchewan and Manitoba easing more COVID-19 restrictions

Quebec, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are all easing more of the restrictions they implemented to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Quebec, which accounts for just over half of Canada’s COVID-19 cases, is reopening several sectors today, impacting the Montreal area in particular.

Restaurants can open again in the greater Montreal and Joliette areas while indoor gatherings of up to 10 people from three households are now permitted in these regions, as they have been elsewhere in Quebec since last week.

Day camps, along with gyms, arenas, cinemas, concert venues and places of worship can reopen across the province with a maximum capacity of 50 people for indoor gatherings.

Meanwhile, Saskatchewan moves to Phase 4.1 of its reopening strategy today, which allows camping in national parks to 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, and no high-fiving or handshakes are allowed.

Saskatchewan’s outdoor swimming pools and spray parks can also reopen with physical distancing, maximum capacity, and stringent cleaning rules in effect.

However, 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.

Manitoba moved to relax more of its restrictions yesterday.

Restaurants and bars no longer have to operate at half capacity, however, tables must be two metres apart or have a physical barrier between them.

Non-smoking bingo halls and video lottery terminal lounges can also reopen at half capacity.

Child care centres and retail stores can return to normal capacity, and people arriving in Manitoba from other western provinces, northern territories and northwestern Ontario no longer have to self-isolate for 14 days.

Larger public gatherings are also permitted. People can now 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.

By the end of Sunday Canada’s COVID-19 case total stood at 101,337, including 8,430 deaths and 63,886 cases resolved.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 22, 2020.

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