As of May 14, most Canadian provinces announced plans to begin re-opening businesses and easing restrictions following imposed lockdowns for COVID-19. A list of reopening plans and what restrictions are being loosened by province is listed below. At the time of writing Nunavut, Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nova Scotia did not have reopening plans in place.
Reopening date: May 19 marks the first phase of its reopening plan
What does this mean: Any business with retail entrances with street entrances can open as long as they continue to practice physical distancing. All construction projects will resume and essential workplace restrictions will no longer exist. The reopening includes golf driving ranges, recreational services at marinas, rod and gun clubs and cycling tracks as well as allowing for individuals sports to resume. Lastly, all media operations will be allowed to re-open their doors, and non-essential professional workers conducting research will be allowed to continue their work, as per normal. Some public services such as surgeries, children’s treatments and the libraries can resume to work. Homecare workers will be allowed to return to work, too.
What isn’t changing: Bars and restaurants will continue to be closed for dine-in services, but can offer take-out options. For education purposes, schools and universities will remain closed and continue to offer online classes. Childcare centres, concert venues, gyms, casinos, malls, movie theatres and any large attraction will still remain closed.
Recommendations from officials: The key for many businesses according to Premier Doug Ford is “businesses should open only if they’re ready,” meaning that physical distancing and proper cleaning protocols need to be intact to ensure COVID-19 does not spread.
From the health perspective, Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, said public health officials will assess the situation and make their calls based on how many positive coronavirus cases occur.
“If it’s going widespread and we see that it cannot be monitored, then we’d have to make a decision,” he said.
Reopening date: May 4, retail business outside the Montreal area can open as long as they have a street-front entrance
What does this mean: Quebec’s plan to reopen their economy is being dubbed as the most drastic, as they first moved to open schools and daycare centres outside Montreal. Like Ontario, Quebec announced a plan to resume sporting activities within the province, as long as they are limited to two people. Retail businesses in Montreal will also be allowed to resume operations permitted if they have street front entrances by May 25. Checkpoints which were installed to limit travel are being removed and access to cottage country is now permitted.
What isn’t changing: Quebec never shut down essential businesses like landscaping, mining and construction during the pandemic. Any places for large gatherings are still not permitted to open, as shopping malls, cathedrals and concert venues remain close. Post-secondary schools remain closed, while schools in Montreal likely will not open until September.
Recommendations from officials:
As the province has already opened its society, Premier Franocis Legault said he intends to closely pay attention to data and will heed the advice of his health officials if numbers start to rise.
"We will follow the situation very closely and take a data-driven decision," he said.
Currently, the province is testing around 9,000 people a day, well below its target of 14,000, which Director of Quebec public health, Dr. Horracio Arruda pointed to as a key cog for understanding how well easing the restriction was going.
“This massive screening effort is very important to the context of lifting lockdowns, which has already begun,” he said.
Reopening date: May 14th, Provincial Parks were reopened
What does this mean: The province will allow its hospitals to resume elective surgeries, as well as other medical services such as dentistry, physiotherapy, massage therapy and chiropractors will be allowed to reopen their doors. In the retail sector, hair salons and other personal service places will be allowed to . While restaurants who have room to incorporate proper physical distancing measures can open their lobbies again. In the public sector, museums, art galleries and libraries will open, and the province’s acclaimed parks will be open for daily use.
What isn’t changing: Schools will open with a staggered return on June 1. Universities will remain closed until the fall semester. Hollywood North has not been given the go ahead to reopen, as plans to start film productions will likely not begin until June or July. The province is expecting to keep major concert and sport venues closed for at least a year.
Recommendations from officials: A hotspot for tourism and travel, Premier John Horgan is urging British Columbians to stay local and not travel to other parts of the province.
“Let’s stay close to home, this is not the time for a road trip to another community for a hike, or a holiday,” he said.
In regards to expanding social circles, which the province has okayed, B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is reminding British Columbians to remain cautious and practice good hygiene.
"That is the challenge we're all going to face. We've never done this before and we all need to try and do our best," she said.
Reopening date: May 14
What does this mean: Retail businesses ranging from clothing stores, book stores, barber shops and farmers markets will be allowed to reopen. The restaurant industry will be allowed to operate at 50% of the dine-in capacity. In the healthcare sector, non-urgent surgeries which were scheduled are allowed to go under the knife. In the public sector, museums and art galleries will be allowed to let visitors in. The province is also taking the rare step to allow places of worship to open, as long as they maintain certain rules and don’t exceed the 15-person gathering limit.
What isn’t changing: Post secondary schools will continue on with online classes, while K-12 schools may re-open for summer school or the fall. All sporting events, concerts and any place of mass gathering will remain closed. The gathering limit is set to 15.
Recommendations from officials: When it comes to staying safe and ensuring Alberta doesn’t get a large upswing in positive COVID-19 cases, Premier Jason Kenney said Albertans need to do their part.
“Government can provide rules and guidance but at the end of the day, it's the responsibility of each and every one of us to protect ourselves, our families and the wider community," he said.
As Alberta reopens, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the province's chief medical officer of health is warning people of the risk of infection and a second wave.
"The more that we all together can follow the advice, can keep distant, can wear masks and wash our hands, the less likely we will see a sudden spike and increase in cases,” she said.
Reopening date: May 4
What does this mean: The province of Manitoba reopened for business and is prepared for summer allowing for restaurants to open their beloved patios . Retail businesses will also open their once-shuttered doors, while in the public sector, museums, art galleries and libraries can reopen. Southern Manitobans will be able to travel to their cottages and visit campgrounds and recreation sites. While on the medical side non-urgent surgery, diagnostic procedures, therapy and some other medical services can start to see patients in person. Malls have also been given the go-ahead to reopen, but many are removing their dine-in seating.
What isn’t changing: Public gatherings will still be restricted to 10 people or less. Currently, schools will remain online as the province said they will continue to evaluate the situation. Large gathering venues such as sporting and concert venues will be closed until at least the fall.
Recommendations from officials: To ensure the spread of COVID-19 remains low as the province eases restrictions, Premier Brian Pallister urged Manitobans to continue following protocols.
“We must remain diligent in maintaining physical distancing and practising good hygiene, but our gradual, levelled approach will help us safely restore our service,” he said.
While Manitoba has seen its cases decline Dr. Brent Roussin, the province’s chief medical health officer is advising people from different households not to meet up, and to be wary of a second wave.
“I just want to remind Manitobans that we’re not done with this virus,” he said.
Reopening date: May 4
What does this mean: The province is expanding medical services such as dentistry, optometry, physical therapy, opticians, podiatry, occupational therapy and chiropractic treatment to begin seeing patients again. The province also allowed for outdoor activities including fishing, boating, and golfing to begin.
What isn’t changing: Businesses with large clientele such as restaurants, gyms and childcare centres will not be allowed to open. The limit of 10 people at a gathering remains in effect. . The province is expecting to keep major concert and sport venues closed for the foreseeable future.
Recommendations from officials: While Saskatchewan has laid out arguably the most detailed reopening plan, Premier Scott Moe is reminding businesses to do their part to keep the curve flat.
“All businesses and public venues will be required to continue following physical distancing and cleaning and disinfection practices to protect both employees and customers,” he said.
With a very segmented approach to reopening their economy, Saskatchewan's Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab has advised that each step is contingent on the curve remaining flat.
“We will carefully monitor COVID-19 case numbers and adjust the plan as required,” he said.
Reopening date: May 8th
What does this mean: As the province embarks on more than a week of no positive tests, they’ll be re-opening retail business, restaurants, childcare and office buildings. Hospitals and medical clinics are now allowed to see patients for elective surgeries and other non-emergency health services. Gatherings which have proper physical distancing measures in place can be done with 10 or fewer. The province has reopened outdoor golf courses, tennis courts, fishing, hunting and camping. Some post secondary schools can re-open, while outdoor church services will be permitted.
What isn’t changing: The province will not be reopening fitness facilities or permitting team sports at this time. Larger venues for concerts and sports are also closed. Personal services businesses such as nail and hair salons remain closed. People not living in New Brunswick with cabins cannot access their summer homes.
Prince Edward Island
Reopening date: May 1
What does this mean: Prince Edward Island reopened outdoor activities for its residents allowing for golfing, marinas, fishing to start. While those in the construction or homecare construction can restart their business. The province will also be expanding their health care by allowing certain elective surgeries and allowing health service providers to begin seeing patients. The social gathering limit has been extended to 10.
What isn’t changing: Visitor restrictions to long term care and hospitals are still strictly being enforced. While for students, the province has not reopened schools and will instead opt for home-based learning.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Reopening date: May 11
What does this mean: The province will be expanding it’s medical procedures past COVID-19 and allow surgeries to resume. Outdoor recreation activities such as golf, fishing and hunting can continue. Businesses like law firms and garden centres can reopen, and to support workers, daycare service will resume. The gathering limit has been expanded to 10 people.
What isn’t changing: Retail stores not deemed as essential services, remain closed, but can offer curbside pickup. Mass gathering places like bars, cinemas and sporting venues will stay closed. Restaurants are not permitted to allow in-person dining, and personal service such as spas and hair salons are to remain shuttered.