People enjoy a warm day in a park in Montreal, Saturday, May 2, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

People enjoy a warm day in a park in Montreal, Saturday, May 2, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Looser COVID-19 rules mean more activity, but there may be some confusion

Quebec is letting retail stores outside the Montreal area reopen Monday

People in some provinces will enjoy more freedom Monday as restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic are loosened. But the change appears set to leave some workers looking for child care, some employers looking for workers, and many people trying to figure out a new regimen for going about their daily routine.

Manitoba is allowing many non-essential businesses, restaurant patios, museums, campgrounds and other facilities to reopen in one of the more aggressive restart-the-economy plans. At all venues, there will be rules in place to limit crowd gatherings and keep things sanitary in order to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Businesses that had been forced to close because of the pandemic learned last Wednesday, with just a few days notice, that they will be allowed to open at reduced capacity and with strict requirements for physical distancing between customers, hand sanitizer dispensers and more.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business said some of its members are worried their employees may not come back right away for a variety of reasons, such as fear of catching COVID-19 or because they cannot find child care with Manitoba’s schools still closed.

“There’s definitely going to be quite a few staff that are staying home and employers that are going to be having staff shortages,” Jonathan Alward, the federation’s director in Manitoba, said.

READ MORE: Under mounting pressure, Henry says reopening B.C. will happen ‘safely, slowly, methodically’

Some hair salons have said they will not open immediately because they need time to acquire enough hand sanitizer, masks and other gear. A small clothing boutique posted on social media that it was scrambling to find a way to ensure customer and worker safety in the narrow floor space.

There are also new rules at Manitoba campgrounds opening this week. One is that campers can use washrooms and outhouses, but they’ll have to bring their own toilet paper from home.

Manitoba’s conservation and climate minister, Sarah Guillemard, said there will be signage at park entrances to remind people of the rules, which also include 10-person limits on gatherings and a requirement to fill up at gas stations close to home instead of near the camp site.

“Social media will also be updated to help remind people, before they leave their home community, what they would do to prepare to go and enjoy the great outdoors,” Guillemard said Friday.

Alberta started allowing golf courses to reopen on the weekend, and has told dentists, physiotherapists and other medical professionals they can start operating again Monday. Non-essential retail stores will begin to open May 14.

The Saskatchewan government is allowing dentists, optometrists and other medical providers to restart Monday, and is also opening fishing shoreline areas and boat launches.

Quebec is letting retail stores outside the Montreal area reopen Monday. Those in the Montreal area will have the right to operate a week later.

Ontario announced Friday that it would allow some largely outdoor-based businesses and workplaces to open up starting Monday, though with certain restrictions in place.

The province’s reopening list includes garden centres for curbside pickup, lawn care and landscaping companies, auto dealerships by appointment, automatic and self-serve car washes, and a broad list of essential construction projects. Golf courses and marinas will be allowed to start to prep for the season, but not yet open to the public.

Back in Manitoba, restaurant patios will also be allowed to operate as of Monday, although at reduced capacity.

The province’s chief public health officer said the aim of the province’s reopening plan is not just about the economy — it’s also about letting people resume parts of their normal lives and connect with others while still protecting them from the spread of COVID-19.

“We need to still be cautious about this virus, but at the same time, we realize we have to start reopening things,” Dr. Brent Roussin said at his daily briefing Friday.

“This virus isn’t the only thing that affects people’s health.”

— With files from Ian Bickis.

Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CanadaCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

District of Vanderhoof municipal office. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Vanderhoof district rejects FOI request for business name

Officials will release more information about the restaurant on May 21

Audrey McKinnon is seeking the NDP nomination for the federal riding of Cariboo-Prince George. (Twitter)
Audrey McKinnon puts name forward for NDP for federal election

McKinnon preparing for a contested nomination for Prince George-Cariboo riding

Michael Rees at his studio on the first floor of the old Burrard Market Square building. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Painter and print-maker showcased at Vanderhoof Street Art Show

Michael Rees uses narrative in a majority of his work

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has suspended indoor dining at restaurants and pubs until at least April 19 in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. sets new COVID-19 daily record with 1,293 cases Thursday

New order allows workplace closures when infections found

The new 3,500 hectare conservancy in Tahltan territory is located next to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (BC Parks Photo)
New conservancy protects sacred Tahltan land near Mount Edziza Provincial Park

Project is a collaboration between Skeena Resources, conservation groups and the TCG

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
UVic, women’s rowing coach deny former athlete’s allegation of verbal abuse

Lily Copeland alleges coach Barney Williams would stand close to her and speak aggressively in the sauna

Librarian Katie Burns with the Fraser Valley Regional Libraries poses for a photo in Chilliwack on June 18, 2019. Monday, April 12, 2021 is Library Workers’ Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 11 to 17

Library Workers Day, That Sucks! Day, and Wear Your Pyjamas to Work Day are all coming up this week

Robinson Russ, 37, was fatally stabbed on April 4, according to a statement from police. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police name victim following city’s fourth homicide of 2021

Robinson Russ, 37, was fatally stabbed Sunday in the Downtown Eastside

A man wears a face mask past the emergency department of the Vancouver General Hospital. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Calls for stricter action in B.C. as COVID-19 variants projected to climb

Jens von Bergmann says the province has taken a ‘wait and see’ approach when early action is needed

Vancouver’s park board general manager issued a new order Friday restricting tents and other temporary structures from being set up in Strathcona Park after April 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver park board issues order to restrict tents in Strathcona Park

The order issued Friday restricted tents and other temporary structures from being set up after April 30

Most Read