A much anticipated new phase in the COVID-19 pandemic starts today with several provinces beginning the process of slowly loosening some of their lockdown restrictions.
Quebec, which accounts for more than half of Canada’s coronavirus cases, including deaths from the illness, is reopening retail stores outside Montreal while those in the greater Montreal area are to reopen on May 11.
Ontario, the other epicentre for the virus, is allowing a small list of mostly seasonal businesses to reopen, including garden centres with curbside pick-ups, lawn care and landscaping companies, and automatic car washes.
Manitoba’s museums, libraries and retail businesses — including restaurant patios — can re-open today, though at only half capacity. The province, along with Saskatchewan and Alberta, are also letting non-essential medical activities, such as dentistry and physiotherapy to resume.
British Columbia has yet to release its reopening plan, however, Premier John Horgan is promising details this week.
The Maritime provinces, where COVID-19 caseloads have been trending downward, began relaxing some restrictions over the past week, primarily in the areas of public health services and outdoor recreation.
Meanwhile, Newfoundland and Labrador plans to loosen some of its public health and recreation restrictions on May 11.
It must be noted that even though some lockdown restrictions are being eased, physical distancing rules and guidelines still apply.
Canada has now recorded 59,474 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 3,682 deaths and 24,921 cases resolved.
The Canadian Press