As COVID-19 vaccination rates increase and case numbers drop across the country, the provinces and territories have begun releasing the reopening plans for businesses, events and recreational facilities.
Most of the plans are based on each jurisdiction reaching vaccination targets at certain dates, while also keeping the number of cases and hospitalizations down.
Here’s a look at what reopening plans look like across the country:
Newfoundland and Labrador:
The province’s reopening plan begins with a transition period during which some health restrictions, like limits on gatherings, will loosen.
Requirements for testing and self-isolation lifted entirely for fully vaccinated Canadian travellers on Canada Day, while those requirements will ease over the next few months for travellers with just one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
If case counts, hospitalization and vaccination targets are met, the province expects to reopen dance floors as early as Aug. 15, and lift capacity restrictions on businesses, restaurants and lounges while maintaining physical distancing between tables.
As early as Sept. 15, mask requirements for indoor public spaces will be reviewed.
Nova Scotia is further reducing COVID-19 public health orders this week, and the province’s top public health doctor is calling on citizens to stop hesitating on getting the Moderna vaccine.
Nova Scotia will begin its fourth phase of reopening on Wednesday.
Dr. Robert Strang says the decision is tied to strong COVID-19 vaccine uptake and low, new daily case numbers.
Under the new rules, retail stores can operate at full capacity, churches and other venues can operate at half capacity or with a maximum of 150 people, and up to 50 people can attend outdoor family gatherings.
Other restrictions that will end on Wednesday include capacity limits for dance classes, music lessons and indoor play spaces.
Organized sports practices, games, league play, competitions and recreation programs can involve up to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors without physical distancing.
Day camps can operate with 30 campers per group plus staff and volunteers, following the day camp guidelines. In addition, professional and amateur arts and culture rehearsals and performances can involve up to 25 people indoors and 50 outdoors without physical distancing.
Meanwhile, fully vaccinated residents of long-term care homes can now have visitors in their rooms and visit their family’s homes, including for overnight stays.
New Brunswick has moved into Phase 2 of its reopening plan, having reached its goal of having 20 per cent of people 65 or older vaccinated with two doses of a COVID vaccine.
Premier Blaine Higgs says the change opens travel without the need to isolate to all of Nova Scotia after opening to P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Travellers from elsewhere in Canada who’ve had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine can enter the province without the need to isolate, while those who haven’t had a shot must still isolate and produce a negative test before being released from quarantine.
Other changes allow restaurants, gyms and salons to operate at full capacity as long as customer contact lists are kept.
In the third phase, the province will lift all COVID-19 restrictions.
Prince Edward Island:
Prince Edward Island has dropped its requirement that non-medical masks be worn in public indoor spaces.
Chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison says masks are still encouraged to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and businesses are free to adopt stricter rules.
Officials say those who serve the public, such as in restaurants, retail stores and hair salons, should continue to wear a mask.
All health-care facilities will continue to require masks until 80 per cent of eligible P.E.I. residents are fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, the province has allowed personal gatherings to increase so that up to 20 people can get together indoors and outdoors. Restaurants are allowed to have tables of up to 20. Special occasion events like backyard weddings and anniversary parties of up to 50 people hosted by individuals are permitted with a reviewed operational plan.
The province projects that on July 18 organized gatherings hosted by a business or other organization will be permitted with groups of up to 200 people outdoors or 100 people indoors.
On Sept. 12, the province expects physical distancing measures to be eased, as well as allowing personal and organized gatherings to go ahead without limits.
Quebec’s government has removed capacity restrictions in retail stores across the province and reducing the two-metre physical distancing health order to one metre.
Quebecers from separate households are now required to keep a one-metre distance from one another indoors and outdoors instead of two metres.
The previous two-metre distance now applies only at places characterized by physical activity or singing.
The ceiling on customers at retail businesses also rises today, with sports venues allowed to accommodate 50 spectators indoors and 100 outdoors
Fans and those attending theatres or other performance venues must keep at least one empty seat between each other, and wearing a mask in public spaces remains mandatory.
All of Quebec is now at the lowest green alert level under the province’s COVID-19 response plan as public health restrictions continue to ease.
Last month, the province permitted gyms and restaurant dining rooms to reopen. Supervised outdoor sports and recreation are also allowed in groups of up to 25 people.
Quebec ended its nightly curfew on May 28. It also lifted travel bans between regions and increased the number of people allowed to attend sporting events and festivals to 3,500.
Ontario will move to Step 3 of its reopening plan on Friday, five days ahead of schedule. It will allow for more indoor activities including restaurant dining and gym use, while larger crowds will be permitted for outdoor activities. But masking and physical distancing rules will remain in place.
The province is currently allowing outdoor concerts, open-air movie screens and performing arts shows under Stage 2.
Audience capacity is capped at 25 per cent of the outdoor space or seating area, with organizers required to have the maximum capacity restrictions visibly posted within the outdoor space. All tickets must be sold as reserved seats.
Other measures also allow musicians to perform at indoor concert venues for a limited number of reasons.
Live streaming shows are permitted, however, the performances cannot host any spectators.
Indoor venues can hold band rehearsals with certain distancing and safety measures in place.
Restrictions have been lowered for the film and TV industry as well. In particular, a cap of 50 performers on a set is being eliminated, though studio audiences are still not allowed.
Indoor cinemas and public concerts still won’t be permitted with capacity restrictions until the third stage.
The Manitoba government says new COVID-19 public health orders will come next week.
Current health orders ban most indoor social gatherings and require museums, theatres and casinos to remain closed.
Restaurants and bars are limited to 25 per cent capacity indoors and 50 per cent on patios. Hair salons, gyms and indoor sports can resume operating, but with capacity restrictions. Hair and nail salons, as well as barber shops, are available by appointment only.
Outdoor gatherings on private property are capped at 10 people and groups in public areas are limited to 25.
The number of worshippers at faith services are also capped.
Businesses, such as casinos and movie theatres, will remain closed. They are expected to open at later stages of the plan this summer.
Saskatchewan has now removed all public health orders — and that includes the province-wide mandatory masking order, as well as capacity limits on events and gathering sizes.
Premier Scott Moe says the province decided to go ahead with full implementation of Step 3 of its Reopening Roadmap because 70 per cent of residents over the age of 18 and 69 per cent of those over 12 have now received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Despite the lifting of the health orders, Regina and Saskatoon say they will still keep up extra cleaning in municipal facilities.
All remaining COVID-19 restrictions were lifted on July 1.
There are no longer limits on weddings, funerals or bans on indoor social gatherings. In addition, there are no more limits on gyms, sports or fitness activities, no more capacity limits at restaurants, in retail stores or in places of worship.
Anyone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 will still be required to self-isolate and protective measures at continuing care centres may remain.
The overall requirement for masks in public indoor spaces has ended, but masks may still be required in taxis, on public transit and on ride shares.
Some remaining COVID-19 health restrictions in continuing-care centres are also being eased.
The province says it will no longer limit the number of visitors, since vaccination rates are rising and there have been few cases in care homes.
Visitors will still need to be screened for COVID-19 symptoms or known exposure, and masks will still be required in common areas.
The province recommends that people wear a mask at all times when visiting a care home if they have not been fully vaccinated, including children under 12.
Limits on dining and recreation activities have been eliminated, and residents won’t be required to be screened if they are re-entering the building or go into quarantine if they have gone off site.
The province took the next step in its reopening plan on Canada Day when most COVID-19 restrictions were removed and outdoor gatherings of up to 5,000 people got the go ahead.
Restaurants and pubs no longer have limits on the number of diners, but people are still not allowed to mingle with those at other tables. Masks are no longer mandatory and recreational travel outside the province can resume.
Casinos and nightclubs are open for the first time in 16 months, but some barriers remain in place and socializing between tables is not allowed.
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says some businesses may want people to continue wearing masks for now, and everyone should comply with those requirements or face the potential of fines.
Meanwhile, visitors to long-term care homes will soon be allowed to see loved ones without COVID-19 restrictions. Dr. Henry says the return to unscheduled visits will begin July 19, but staff will be required to report whether they have been immunized.
All COVID-19 restrictions are expected to be removed on Labour Day.
Public health orders affecting what is allowed to open vary by community.
Restrictions in Iqaluit were eased on July 2. Travel restrictions in and out of Iqaluit have been lifted. A household can now have up to 10 people in their home and up to 50 people can gather outdoors.
Theatres and restaurants can also open at 25 per cent capacity or 25 people, whichever is less.
Meanwhile in Kinngait and Rankin Inlet, outdoor gatherings are limited to 100 people and those indoors are restricted to a household plus 15 people. Restaurants and bars are allowed to open for regular business at 50 per cent capacity, and there must be a two metre distance between tables, with no more than six people seated or around each table.
Up to 25 people are allowed in a business that is following an approved COVID-19 plan. Households can have up to 10 people with a maximum of five guests from another household.
Non-essential travel outside the territory is not recommended, and leisure travel into the territory is not permitted.
The territory is no longer requiring masks to be worn in public places in Yellowknife and three other communities.
Chief public health officer Dr. Kami Kandola says it’s still a good idea to wear a mask indoors when there is a crowd, poor ventilation, or shouting or singing.
Bars and restaurants are allowed to operate at full capacity with restrictions, while social bubbles have increased to 20 people. Social gatherings indoors of up to 20 people are allowed with physical distancing, while outdoors up to 100 people can gather. Organized gatherings, such as festivals or weddings, of up to 200 people are allowed with physical distancing.
Camp and recreational programs are allowed to have 20 participants indoors with physical distancing and mask wearing; and 100 participants outdoors with physical distancing. Gyms and recreation centres can operate with up to 200 people with physical distancing.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 13, 2021.
The Canadian Press