The 'new normal' begins: Where each province and territory stands with reopening
TORONTO -- With continued signs that parts of the country are making progress in the battle against COVID-19, some Canadian provinces have loosened lockdown restrictions and entered second and third phases of reopening the economy.
Throughout May, people in Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island were among the first to visit barber shops and hair salons for the first time in more than two months. Retail stores, gyms, and church services are permitted again in some provinces, while other areas of the country consider slowly expanding "household bubbles" and outdoor gatherings.
It’s the beginning of a "new normal" in Canada. But the changes won't be uniform as the pandemic's impact varies across the country. Officials won't move forward with new phases of reopening where the numbers don't support a loosening of restrictions. In May, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam warned of an increasing "quarantine fatigue" in Canada, saying that "we’ll need to pace ourselves" during reopening.
"This is quite a difficult period," she said. "Some things are easing up, and there is this exuberance of maybe getting out there. [It] means that people may forget to do all the core public health measures."
CTVNews.ca has compiled a guide on where each province and territory stands in reopening their economies, what will be open and which restrictions will remain in place.
Current state: British Columbia announced May 6 that a variety of businesses and services will reopen starting May 19, but Premier John Horgan said the government will be ready to reverse course if COVID-19 cases begin to spike.
Horgan said May 15 that students will be given the option to return to their classrooms part-time starting June 1. Officials stressed returning to school will be voluntary and new protocols will be in place to promote physical distancing. The government says its goal is for full-time classes to resume in the fall. A mix of online and classroom post-secondary education is planned for September.
What's open: The province says restaurants, cafes, retail stores, salons and barbershops, libraries, museums, art galleries and child care can reopen May 19. Elective surgeries, dentistry, chiropractic sessions, physiotherapy and in-person counselling will also be allowed to resume. Indoor gym facilities that offer services such as weight training, gymnastics, martial arts, yoga and dance studios can reopen May 19 if they meet physical distancing requirements. Provincial parks will be open for day use as of May 14.
Starting May 16, gatherings with two to six guests will be allowed for dinner parties and backyard barbecues, as long as there's a strict understanding that no one will socialize if they have any symptoms of COVID-19.
Hotels, resorts and overnight camping in some parks will open in June if virus transmission remain low in addition to movie theatres in July.
Many businesses were never ordered to close during the pandemic, although some chose to of their own volition. Officials did not recommend the closure of outdoor recreation facilities including golf courses, city parks or playgrounds but those that voluntarily closed are now allowed to open back up. B.C.'s essential services are listed here.
Can I travel?: No, B.C. residents are being urged to avoid all non-essential travel outside of the province. People entering from another country must self-isolate for 14 days. Public transit services have been reduced. Provincial health officials also caution against taking any inter-provincial trips.
Remaining restrictions: B.C. Premier John Horgan announced April 29 that he has extended the provincial state of emergency for another two weeks and public health orders remain in effect.
Starting May 16, gatherings with two to six guests will be allowed for dinner parties and backyard barbecues, as long as there's a strict understanding that no one will socialize if they have any symptoms of COVID-19. The ban on gatherings of more than 50 people remains in place. The province will not allow concerts, conventions and other large gatherings until there is wide distribution of a vaccine, community immunity has been reached, or effective treatment can be provided for the disease.
Current state: The provincial government started its "relaunch strategy" for Alberta on May 1. Premier Jason Kenney said in a news conference on April 30 that Albertans have "acted responsibly" in recent weeks and the province can begin the first of three reopening phases.
Alberta announced May 13 that the province will move ahead with phase one of its plan starting May 14, but COVID-19 restrictions will remain in place for Calgary and Brooks. Kenney said that, if the first stage of reopening goes well, the next phase, which includes the reopening of movie theatres and spas, could begin June 19.
What's open: As of May 1, provincial parks can reopen, but just for hiking, as with some boat launches, off-leash dog areas and golf courses, excluding on-site pro shops, clubhouses and restaurants. Non-urgent elective surgeries, dental hygiene and physiotherapy resumed May 11.
Reopening expanded on May 14 with the opening of some retail stores, such as clothing, furniture and bookstores, museums, art galleries, daycares, summer camps and hair salons. Cafes and restaurants with no bar service will also be allowed to run at half capacity. The limit for outdoor gatherings has increased to 50 people -- up from 15.
Calgary and Brooks will join the rest of the province reopening some parts of the economy May 14 with retail stores, daycares and farmers markets. The opening of hairstyling services and restaurants in these areas has been pushed back until May 25, and day camps, summer school and places of worship are delayed until June 1.
Can I travel?: No, Albertans are being urged to avoid all non-essential travel outside of the province. People entering from another country must self-isolate for 14 days. Bus service between Calgary and Edmonton has been cancelled, but local public transit continues.
Remaining restrictions: Group camping is still restricted at provincial parks, but the government is expected to start opening campsites by June. For the most part, schools will not be part of the province's immediate relaunch strategy, but "some limited reopening on a trial basis" may be possible.
Current state: The first phase of Saskatchewan's five-phase reopening began May 4. Premier Scott Moe says the dates of the later phases will be determined through monitoring COVID-19 cases in the prior phases.
What's open: The first phase of the plan reopens medical services, including dentistry, optometry, physical therapy, opticians, podiatry, occupational therapy and chiropractic treatment. The first phase will also allow low-risk outdoor recreational activities including fishing, boating, golf courses and campgrounds starting May 15.
Phase two will begin June 8, with retail stores, restaurants, beauty salons and gyms reopening. Restaurants will be allowed to operate at half capacity and restrictions will also lift on some personal care services, childcare centres and places of worship. The government also plans to increase its 10-person gathering limit to 15 people indoors and to 30 for those outdoors.
Can I travel?: No, Saskatchewan residents are being urged to avoid all non-essential travel outside of the province. People entering from another country must self-isolate for 14 days. As of yet, Saskatchewan has not imposed any domestic travel restrictions. The government does recommend that people self-monitor for symptoms if they have travelled outside of Saskatchewan, but within Canada.
Regina and Saskatoon's transit agencies are running under enhanced safety protocols.
Remaining restrictions: There are some long-term restrictions that will remain in place including school closures, visitor restrictions at some health-care facilities, travel restrictions and mandatory self-isolation orders. Public and private gatherings will still be capped at a maximum of 10 people.
Current state: Manitoba's multi-phase plan to reopen non-essential businesses began May 4. Premier Brian Pallister said Manitoba will halt the reopening and re-evaluate its strategy if the province sees a spike in cases during or at the end of phase one or any future phases.
On May 11, the one-month limit on people's prescription drug supplies will be lifted. Residents will be allowed to get prescriptions filled or refilled for 90 days, which was the previous limit.
What's open: Elective surgeries have resumed and health offices, including dentists, chiropractors and physiotherapists are allowed to reopen. Retail businesses and other non-essential businesses including museums and libraries can reopen at half occupancy as long as they ensure physical distancing. Restaurants may reopen for patio or walk-up services only, albeit at half capacity. Playgrounds, golf courses, tennis courts, parks and campgrounds have also reopened.
Health officials announced May 20 that portions of the second phase of Manitoba's reopening plan will begin May 22 with the limit on gatherings being raise to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors. As of May 29, long-term care homes will be allowed to offer limited, outdoor visits with a maximum of two guests per resident. Visitors will be screened on their arrival and will have to continue to practise physical distancing.
The province announced May 27 that phase two of its reopening plan will start June 1. The second phase will include expanding the types of businesses that can reopen including pools, spas, gyms, and bars with restaurants allowed to reopen indoor dining at 50 per cent capacity. Non-contact children's sports will be allowed and occupancy limits at outdoor recreation facilities will be lifted. There will also be a limited reopening of schools to allow for tutorial days for one-on-one learning.
Can I travel?: No, Manitobans are being urged to avoid all non-essential travel outside of the province. People entering from another country, province or territory must self-isolate for 14 days. The province has also established checkpoints at main highways and airports to provide guidance about COVID-19 to travellers. Travel to remote communities within the province is prohibited.
Remaining restrictions: Pallister extended Manitoba’s state of emergency on May 15 for an additional 30 days. Public gatherings such as church services, weddings and funerals will continue to be restricted to 10 people. Concerts and major sporting events will not be considered before September. Schools remain closed, as do many recreation centres, pools, arenas, and libraries.
Click on province for more information.
Current state: On April 27, the Ontario government unveiled its three-phase plan to reopen. It's unclear which parts of the province will open first, and specific dates have not been included in the plan. The plan is laid out in a series of stages, which government officials said are necessary to ensure a return to normal is made safely. However, even after the reopening is completed, physical distancing measures will be continued.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford unveiled April 30 more than 60 labour guidelines businesses will need to follow to protect employees and customers from the spread of COVID-19 as the province works towards reopening.
Ontario revealed more details of its reopening plan on May 14 with the resuming of construction projects and the reopening of more businesses starting May 19. The government said the first stage of the reopening plan will focus on workplaces that are well-positioned to follow public health advice and maintain physical distancing.
What's open: A small list of mostly seasonal businesses were allowed to reopen on May 4. This included garden centres that offer delivery and curbside pick-up only, landscaping companies, automatic car washes and auto dealerships.
Ontario announced that garden centres and nurseries are allowed to reopen to the public on May 8 ahead of Mother’s Day with hardware stores and safety supply stores reopening May 9. Retail stores with a street entrance will be allowed to reopen on May 11 for curbside pick-up only. Businesses that reopen must follow strict safety guidelines from the provincial government.
Provincial parks will reopen May 11, however camp grounds, beaches and playgrounds inside the parks will remain closed. Other campsites are open. Golf courses can reopen as of May 16, with clubhouses open only for washrooms and restaurants open only for take-out. Marinas, boat clubs and public boat launches are also allowed to reopen for recreational use. Businesses that board animals, such as stables, may allow boarders to visit, care for or ride their animal.
Starting May 19, retail stores outside of shopping malls with street entrances can begin reopening with physical distancing measures. Construction projects and elective surgeries will also resume at this time. Other businesses and services included in the stage one reopening include veterinary offices, pet grooming, pet sitting, libraries for pickup or deliveries, housekeepers and babysitters.
Can I travel?: No, Ontarians are being urged to avoid all non-essential travel outside of the province. People entering from another country must self-isolate for 14 days. In a press conference on April 29, Ford asked people in neighbouring provinces, as well as the U.S., not to visit Ontario. As of yet, Ontario has not imposed any inter-provincial travel restrictions. Transit is still running within the province but on a reduced schedule.
Remaining restrictions: The Ontario government announced May 27 that it has extended all emergency public health orders in the province until June 10. The emergency order, first introduced on March 17, includes the closure of non-essential businesses and prohibits public gatherings of more than five people. Concerts and sporting events will also be restricted for the foreseeable future. Publicly funded schools will be closed until at least May 31.
Officials also announced May 19 that publically-funded schools will remain closed until September.
Current state: Quebec Premier Francois Legault announced May 14 that elementary schools in the Montreal region would not reopen until September. Legault said the COVID-19 situation in Montreal, including the number of deaths and hospitalizations, remained too precarious.
On April 27 he had announced that the province would begin reopening elementary schools and daycares outside of Montreal on May 11. Legault said attendance won't be mandatory. High schools, junior colleges and universities in the province will not reopen until September.
What's open: On May 4, retail businesses outside the Montreal area will be allowed to reopen. This excludes stores that are in shopping malls. On May 11, the construction sector and manufacturing companies can also reopen with limits on the number of employees who can work per shift. The reopening of non-essential stores and businesses in the Montreal area, which was scheduled to begin May 11, has been pushed back for the second time to May 25. Daycares in the Montreal region are expected to reopen June 1. Day camps will open as of June 22 across the province. Overnight summer camps won't be allowed reopen until next year.
Quebec officials announced May 13 that certain non-team, non-contact sports can resume May 20 including tennis, golf, cycling, track, outdoor swimming, canoeing and kayaking, climbing, fishing and horseback riding, among others. The province will allow groups up to 10 people from a maximum of three households to gather outside starting May 22. Indoor gatherings are not yet permitted.
Can I travel?: No, Quebecers are being urged to avoid all non-essential travel outside of the province. People entering from another country must self-isolate for 14 days. Quebec officials announced April 29 that the province will gradually remove checkpoints set up to prevent non-essential travel into the province and between its regions starting May 4. The checkpoint on the border between Ottawa and Gatineau was removed May 18.
Montreal public transit is running with physical distancing measures in place, but those with possible COVID-19 symptoms are asked not to ride.
Remaining restrictions: Companies that are able to retain employees by telecommuting are encouraged to do so. Quebecers must continue to comply with provincial health instructions, including physical distancing and hand washing, to limit the risks associated with the spread of the virus.
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
Current state: Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball announced April 30 that the province will loosen some public health restrictions starting May 11. The province says restrictions will be eased in a series of "alert levels" descending from five with the current level expected to remain in place for at least 28 days.
What's open: The province entered "alert level four" in its reopening plan on May 11 with low-risk activities such as golf, hunting and fishing permitted and some businesses, including garden centres and professional services like law firms, reopening. Daycare services will be expanded to support any workers returning to these jobs. Outdoor games of tennis can resume, though players must bring their own equipment and not share it. Pet grooming services can begin operating again May 25. Households can socialize again, but only with one other household.
At Level 3, private health clinics, such as optometrists and dentists, will be permitted to open, as well as medium-risk businesses including clothing stores and hair salons. At Level 2, some small gatherings will be allowed, and businesses with performance spaces and gyms will be allowed to reopen.
Can I travel?: No, Newfoundland and Labrador residents are being urged to avoid all non-essential travel outside of the province. People entering from another country, province or territory must self-isolate for 14 days. The province amended the Public Health Protection and Promotion Act May 4 implement a travel ban barring anyone but permanent residents and workers in key sectors from entering the province.
Public transit is running on reduced service and buses are limited to only nine passengers at a time.
Remaining restrictions: Schools remain closed until September. Small gatherings for funerals, burials and weddings are permitted with a limit of 10 people following physical distancing rules.
Current state: New Brunswick loosened some of its physical distancing measures April 24, after its seventh straight day with no new cases of COVID-19. However, officials confirmed on May 6 that schools would be closed for the remainder of the school year.
On May 8, the province moved into the second phase of its reopening plan by resuming elective surgeries and other non-emergency health services, including dental, physiotherapy, optometry and massage therapy, along with the reopening of retail stores.
On May 22, the province entered the "yellow phase" of its reopening plan, the final phase before the fourth "green phase," which will only be triggered when a vaccine is introduced. The third phase allows for the reopening of more businesses and the loosening of more restrictions on social activities.
What's open: As of May 22, barbers, hair stylists, spas, estheticians, manicurists, pedicurist, tattoo artists, and other personal service businesses can resume in-person services as long as physical distancing measures are respected between appointments. Non-regulated health professionals are also permitted to resume business.
Previously, retail businesses, offices, restaurants, libraries, museums, parks, beaches, ATV trails and seasonal campgrounds were permitted to reopen as long as physical distancing measures were in place. Elective surgeries have also resumed, universities and colleges can open parts of their campuses for students in certain circumstances, and drive-in religious services can be held again so long as people stay in their cars, parked two metres apart. Hunting, fishing and golf is permitted as of April 24. Licensed daycares can begin reopening May 19, and while children will not have to wear masks or maintain physical distancing, they will be separated into small groups.
As of May 22, a "household bubble" can be extended to "close friends and family." Previously, households could only invite one other household into a "two-family bubble." Indoor gatherings are permitted but should be limited to no more than 10 people.
On May 29, more restrictions will lift. Low-contact team sports will resume. Gyms, yoga studios, dance studios, rinks, pool halls, bowling alleys, swimming pools, saunas and waterparks will be allowed to reopen. Outdoor gatherings of 50 or fewer will be permitted with physical distancing in place. Religious services, wedding and funerals of 50 or fewer will also be permitted. Elective surgeries and other non-emergency services will increase.
Can I travel?: No, New Brunswickers are being urged to avoid all non-essential travel outside of the province. People entering from another country, province or territory must self-isolate for 14 days. Provincial peace officers are stationed at each of the seven interprovincial land entry points in the province 24-7. Starting May 29, temporary foreign workers will be allowed to enter the province, but the workers will still have to be quarantined for 14 days once they arrive in New Brunswick.
Local transit officials have warned against non-essential travel on their routes.
Remaining restrictions: Large gatherings such as festivals and concerts are prohibited through Dec. 31, 2020, but that is subject to change.
Current state: Nova Scotia began easing some public health restrictions around COVID-19 on May 1, including the reopening of parks and trails, and allowing fishing and gardening. The province says it is developing a plan to further lift public health restrictions, but there's no set timeline.
Premier Stephen McNeil said May 20 that Nova Scotia will reopen its economy all at once instead of in stages. He said this could happen in early June but the number of new COVID-19 cases caused by community transmission must drop to few or no cases for at least two weeks before an economic recovery plan is implemented.
What's open: Provincial and municipal parks and trails have reopened, but playground equipment is still off limits. Nova Scotians are allowed to use and visit community gardens while garden centres can reopen. Drive-in religious services are allowed, as long as people stay in their cars, parked two metres apart. Archery, equestrian, golf, driving ranges, paddling, sailing, fishing, boating and tennis at outdoor facilities can resume and beaches are allowed to reopen as of May 16. Day surgeries and short-stay surgeries can resume May 25.
Officials announced May 15 that households can socialize, but only with one other household in a "two-family bubble."
Can I travel?: No, Nova Scotians are being urged to avoid all non-essential travel outside of the province. People entering from another country, province or territory must self-isolate for 14 days. The province has implemented checkpoints at every major entry point and anyone entering is being stopped and questioned. Public transit in Halifax is on reduced hours and ferries are restricting the number of passengers.
Remaining restrictions: Beaches and campgrounds remain closed to the public. Nova Scotia's state of emergency public health orders remain in effect after extending the order until at least May 17. Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil announced May 8 that students would not return to school this year. A decision on whether daycares will reopen will be made by June 8.
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
Current state: The province began easing some public health measures imposed amid the COVID-19 pandemic on May 1, in the first phase of its four-phase plan. On May 22, phase two began with some retail businesses reopening. Phase three will begin on June 1 and allow gatherings of up to 15 people indoors and 20 people outdoors, the resuming of organized recreational activities, child care centres and dine-in services at restaurants.
Designated schools reopened May 11 to students who typically receive individualized support from educational assistants and youth service workers.
What's open: As of May 22, retail outlets, greenhouses, barber shops, hair salons, massage therapists, acupuncturists, pet groomers, car washes, pest control businesses, cleaning and restoration services, construction and repair services were permitted to reopen with physical distancing in place.
Elective surgeries, reopening medical services including physiotherapists, optometrists and chiropractors, construction services, and child care for essential service workers resumed May 1. Non-contact outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, cycling, golfing, shooting ranges, fishing and boating are also allowed. Child care centres, whether unlicensed or licensed, are permitted to reopen and operate under safety guidelines. The P.E.I. legislature can resume May 26.
Outdoors, members of one household are permitted to gather with up to 10 people from different households with physical distancing in place. Indoors, those gatherings are limited to five people from different households.
On June 1, restaurants will be permitted to open for indoor dining with public health restrictions in place.
Can I travel?: No, Islanders are being urged to avoid all non-essential travel outside of the province. People entering from another country, province or territory must self-isolate for 14 days with the exception of essential service workers and flight crews. Screening continues at all points of entry. Canadian seasonal residents of Prince Edward Island will be able to apply to travel to the island beginning June 1. Public transportation is only recommended for commuting to work, medical appointments and shopping for essentials.
Remaining restrictions: A ban on mass gatherings will be reviewed on an ongoing basis. Visitor restrictions remain in place at long-term care facilities.
Current state: The first phase of Yukon’s five-phase reopening plan began May 15 with businesses that were ordered to close allowed to reopen. No dates are attached to the forthcoming phases. Premier Sandy Silver said stricter measures may be reintroduced if COVID-19 cases begin to rise.
What's open: Yukon hospitals began offering elective and non-urgent services again in May. Businesses that were ordered to close can reopen as of May 15 with a government-approved operation plan following public health measures. Territorial parks and campgrounds can reopen June 4.
Families can begin to visit each other's homes under the "housing bubble" model with up to two households forming a combined unit to visit each other exclusively in groups up to 10.
Can I travel?: No, Yukoners are being urged to avoid all non-essential travel outside of the territory. People entering from another country, province or territory by road or air must self-isolate for 14 days. Residents must have a detailed self-isolation plan. Yukon is closed to visitors, but residents are allowed to travel throughout the territory more easily.
Remaining restrictions: Yukon's state of emergency public health orders remain in effect. Bars and restaurants won't be allowed to reopen for dine-in services until the chief medical officer of health lifts restrictions. The territory's K-12 schools will continue with online learning until next school year. Contact sports are prohibited until a vaccine is developed.
Current state: The Northwest Territories announced its three-phase reopening plan May 12 with the first phase starting May 15 and the second phase beginning mid-to-late June. Before any measures are relaxed, health officials said there must be expanded testing to determine no evidence of community spread, travel entry points must be secure, and the risks from workers coming into the territory must be reduced.
What's open: Some businesses including massage therapy clinics, chiropractors, museums and art galleries were cleared to reopen May 15, if they have public health measures in place. Outdoor sports, with the exception of rugby, can proceed. Beaches and community gardens can reopen and day camps can proceed. Elementary, middle and high schools can reopen with limited class sizes. All other non-essential businesses remain closed. The N.W.T.'s essential services are listed here.
Every household is now allowed to gather with two families inside their homes with no more than 10 people in a home at a time. Outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people are permitted as long as people maintain two metres apart.
Can I travel?: No, residents of the Northwest Territories are being urged to avoid all non-essential travel outside of the territory. People entering from another country or elsewhere in Canada must self-isolate for 14 days in Yellowknife, Inuvik, Hay River or Fort Smith. No N.W.T. resident is allowed to self-isolate in a small community. All travel into the territory is prohibited indefinitely with the exception of those transporting essential goods and essential service workers.
Remaining restrictions: The N.W.T.'s state of emergency public health orders remain in effect.
Current state: Nunavut has not announced any plans to reopen its economy, but an early easing of restrictions is expected to start on June 1, according to health officials. As of May 21, there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the territory. A case reported April 30 was later deemed a false positive.
What's open: All non-essential businesses remain closed. Nunavut's essential services are listed here.
Can I travel?: No, Nunavut residents are being urged to avoid all non-essential travel outside of the territory. Only Nunavut residents and critical workers are allowed into the territory. Residents who have been in the south must self-isolate at government-designated quarantine sites in Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa or Yellowknife before they are allowed to return.
Remaining restrictions: Nunavut's state of emergency public health orders remain in effect.
Vizualization by CTVNews.ca's Mahima Singh. With files from CTVNews.ca's Jonathan Forani and The Canadian Press.