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

Cowichan Tribes members line up at a drive-up clinic on Wednesday, Jan. 13 to receive the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the region. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
BCAFN condems racism against Cowichan Tribes after COVID-19 outbreak

“Any one of us could do everything right and still catch the virus”: Regional Chief Terry Teegee.

Dr. Shannon Waters, the medical health officer for the Cowichan Valley Region, is reminding people to stay the course with COVID-19 measures. (File photo)
‘Stay the course’ with COVID measures, Island Health reminds

Limit social activity, wash hands, wear a mask, and isolate if you feel sick

Cowichan Bay tennis player Grace Haugen takes part in an exhibition at the South Cowichan Lawn Tennis Club in 2019, which also included Canadian legends Frank Dancevic and Daniel Nestor. Haugen has committed to further her career at the University of Montana starting next fall. (Citizen file)
Cowichan Bay tennis player prepares for next step in her journey

Grace Haugen commits to University of Montana

Police and fire crews at work at a fire scene at Mount Prevost School (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Classes cancelled for Mount Prevost students today

Second school fire in five days for North Cowichan schools

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

A still from surveillance footage showing a confrontation in the entranceway at Dolly’s Gym on Nicol Street on Friday morning. (Image submitted)
Troublemaker in Nanaimo fails at fraud attempt, slams door on business owner’s foot

VIDEO: Suspect causes pain and damage in incident downtown Friday morning

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Nursing staff at West Coast General Hospital celebrate the announcement of a $6.25-million expansion of the emergency department that will start in March 2021. (File photo)
B.C. health ministry commits $6.25M to hospital expansion in Port Alberni

Plans for larger emergency department have been on hold since 2015

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Most Read