Provinces have been releasing plans for easing restrictions that were put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Here is what some of the provinces have announced so far:
Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador lifted some of the public health restrictions imposed to slow the spread of COVID-19 on May 11. The province has entered “alert level four” in its five-level reopening plan, allowing some businesses such as law firms and other professional services to reopen along with regulated child-care centres, with some restrictions. Small gatherings for funerals, burials and weddings are also permitted with a limit of 10 people following physical distancing rules. Municipal parks, golf courses and driving ranges can open and recreational hunting and fishing are permitted. Officials are reminding people that the new rules do not allow for parties or other social gatherings.
The province is loosening restrictions in a series of “alert levels” descending from five. The current alert level is to remain in place for at least 28 days. At Level 3, private health clinics, such as optometrists and dentists, are to be permitted to open, as well as medium-risk businesses such as clothing stores and hair salons. At Level 2, some small gatherings will be allowed, and businesses with performance spaces and gyms are to reopen. Level 1 would represent “the new normal.”
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil has announced there will be no return to school this year. He also says a decision on whether daycares will reopen will be made by June 8. Nova Scotia has eased some public health restrictions, however, directives around physical distancing and social gatherings remain in place. Trails and provincial and municipal parks can now reopen, but playground equipment is still off limits. Garden centres, nurseries and similar businesses can open, and while golf driving ranges can open, courses remain closed. Sportfishing is permitted and people can attend boating, yacht or sailing clubs for the purpose of preparing boats for use. Drive-in religious services are now allowed, as long as people stay in their cars, park two metres apart and there are no interactions between people.
Prince Edward Island
P-E-I is accelerating its Renew PEI Together plan. Phase two of the plan will still begin May 22 as scheduled, but the third phase will now begin June 1 instead of June 12. Phase three will allow gatherings of up to 15 people indoors and 20 people outdoors, organized recreational activities and the opening of child care centres and in-room dining. Members of a household can currently gather indoors with up to five other people. Other precautions, such as physical distancing remain in place. Screening also continues at points of entry into the province and all people coming into P.E.I. are required to isolate for 14 days. Priority non-urgent surgeries and select health-service providers, including physiotherapists, optometrists and chiropractors, resumed on May 1. The Renew P.E.I. Together plan also allows outdoor gatherings and non-contact outdoor recreational activities of no more than five individuals from different households.
New Brunswick’s education minister says licensed daycares can begin reopening May 19. Children won’t have to wear masks or maintain physical distancing, but they will be in small groups. Anyone who has travelled outside of New Brunswick will not be allowed to visit early learning and child-care facilities for 14 days. Meanwhile, the province has allowed more businesses and services to reopen. Retail businesses, offices, restaurants, libraries, museums and seasonal campgrounds can do so under certain conditions. Those include having an operational plan that explains how they are meeting public health guidelines including physical distancing, hand hygiene and allowing staff to remain home when ill. Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people are also allowed if physical distancing is respected. The resumption of elective surgeries is also part of the province’s phase two of its reopening plan.
The third phase will allow regular church services, dentistry work and the reopening of fitness centres. The final phase, which will probably come only after a vaccine is available, will include large gatherings. Phase one, which started on April 24, allowed limited play on golf courses as well as fishing and hunting. Post-secondary students were allowed to return if it was deemed safe by the school, and outdoor church services were again permitted, providing people remain in their vehicles and are two metres apart.
Quebec reopened retail stores outside Montreal on May 11. Lottery terminals are also reopening after being shut down on March 20 with sales moving to online only. Quebec’s construction and manufacturing industries have resumed operations with limits on the number of employees who can work per shift. Elementary schools and daycares outside Montreal reopened on May 11, but high schools, junior colleges and universities will stay closed until September. Elementary schools in the greater Montreal area will remain closed until late August. Premier Francois Legault says public health conditions haven’t been met in the area hardest hit by the coronavirus, so Montreal daycares will also remain closed until at least June 1. Officials haven’t made a firm decision about retail businesses, which are scheduled to reopen May 25. Meanwhile, checkpoints set up to slow the spread of COVID-19 are coming down on May 18 in various parts of Quebec, including between Gatineau and Ottawa.
Ontario is set enter its first stage of reopening on May 19 including lifting restrictions on retail stores and surgeries. The province says workplaces can begin to reopen, but working from home should continue as much as possible. All construction can resume and limits will be lifted on maintenance, repair and property management services, such as cleaning, painting and pool maintenance. Most retail stores that have a street entrance can reopen with physical distancing restrictions, such as limits on the number of customers in a store and providing curbside pickup and delivery. Golf courses can reopen though clubhouses can only open for washrooms and take-out food. Marinas, boat clubs and public boat launches can also open, as can private parks and campgrounds for trailers and RVs whose owners have a full season contract, and businesses that board animals. Other businesses and services included in the stage one reopening include regular veterinary appointments, pet grooming, pet sitting and pet training; libraries for pickup or deliveries; and housekeepers and babysitters. Ontario has previously announced that publicly funded schools will be closed until at least May 31.
The Saskatchewan government’s five-phase plan to reopen its economy started May 11 with dentists, optometrists and other health professionals allowed to resume services. Phase 1 also includes reopened golf courses and campgrounds. Phase 2 will give the green light to retail businesses and salons. Restaurants and gyms could open in Phase 3, but with limited capacity. Phase 4 could see arenas, swimming pools and playgrounds opening. In Phase 5, the province would consider lifting restrictions on the size of public gatherings.
The Manitoba government has lifted its one-month limit on people’s prescription drug supplies, allowing people to again get prescriptions filled or refilled for 90 days. Its health offices, including dentists, chiropractors and physiotherapists can also reopen. Retail businesses can reopen at half occupancy providing they ensure physical spacing. Restaurants can reopen patios and walk-up service. Museums and libraries can also reopen, but with occupancy limited to 50 per cent. Playgrounds, golf courses and tennis courts reopened as well, along with parks and campgrounds. A second phase is to begin no earlier than June 1. That’s when restaurants would be allowed to open indoor dining areas and non-contact children’s sports would resume. Mass gatherings such as concerts and major sporting events will not be considered before September. Meanwhile, Manitoba has extended a province-wide state of emergency until mid-June, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Alberta has increased the limit for outdoor gatherings to 50 people — up from 15. The province allowed stores, restaurants, daycares and hair salons to reopen across much of the province on May 14. But hair salons and restaurant dining rooms can’t reopen in Calgary and Brooks until May 25. Restaurants can only open at half capacity. Premier Jason Kenney says if the first stage of reopening goes well, the next phase — which includes movie theatres and spas — could go ahead on June 19. Alberta allowed some scheduled, non-urgent surgeries to start on May 11. Service provided by dentists, physiotherapists and other medical professionals are also permitted. Golf courses reopened May 2, though pro shops and clubhouses remain shuttered.
The provincial government is allowing a partial reopening of the B.C. economy starting May 19. The reopening plans are contingent on organizations and businesses having plans that follow provincial guidelines to control the spread of COVID-19. Hotels, resorts and parks will follow in June. Parents in B.C. will be given the choice of allowing their children to return to class on a part-time basis in June. The government says its goal is for the return of full-time classes in September, if it’s safe. Under the part-time plan, for kindergarten to Grade 5, most students will go to school half time, while grades 6 to 12 will go about one day a week. A mix of online and classroom post-secondary education is planned for September. Conventions, large concerts, international tourism and professional sports with a live audience will not be allowed to resume until either a vaccine is widely available, community immunity has been reached, or effective treatment can be provided for the disease.
The Northwest Territories announced on May 12 a reopening plan that contains three phases, but the government didn’t say when it would be implemented. The plan includes more gatherings and the possible reopening of some schools and businesses. However, the territory’s borders remain closed indefinitely to non-residents and non-essential workers. There are several requirements that must be met before any measures are relaxed: there must be no evidence of community spread until today; travel entry points in the territory are strong and secure; risks are reduced from workers coming into the territory; and expanded community testing is available.
The territory’s reopening plan outlines five phases including a period after a vaccine is available. The plan’s “restart” phase began May 15, with businesses that were ordered to close allowed to reopen as long as they submit an operational plan. Two households of up to 10 people in total are also able to interact with each other as part of a “household bubble.” But bars and restaurants that offer dine-in services won’t be allowed to reopen until the chief medical officer of health lifts restrictions. The territory’s borders also remain closed but residents are allowed to travel throughout Yukon more easily.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 17, 2020
Family says 'back and forth' between N.S. and Ottawa over shooting probe 'unreal' – paNOW
Premier Stephen McNeil has said he wants Ottawa to lead a public inquiry because the areas of key jurisdiction — such as the protocols followed by the RCMP — are federal.
However, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hasn’t committed his government to overseeing an inquiry, saying only it will “work with the government of Nova Scotia” to get answers.
The letter from Dobson is signed by the entire O’Brien family and says, “the back and forth about who’s responsible for an inquiry is unreal.”
It says mistakes were made at both the provincial and federal levels: “We need answers, we need answers to heal, we need answers so we can find a way to live in this new normal that we’ve been forced into.”
The letter adds that authorities should be trying to learn from one of the worst mass killings in Canadian history.
“What’s the hold up in the inquiry? Why hasn’t this happened yet? Where are we in the investigation? Was someone else involved? Why can’t we get any answers at all 40 days in?!” it asks.
“The fact that anyone of us has to ask these questions is all very concerning and only makes everyone feel, inadequate, unimportant and unsafe.
“Please for the people of our province, for the people of our country, for the people who have lost someone so dear to their hearts, find a way to let us start to heal.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 1, 2020.
Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press
New Brunswick reports one new case of COVID-19 at nursing home as tests and calls to 811 spike – CTV News
Another resident of Manoir de la Vallee, a long-term care home in Atholville, N.B., has tested positive for COVID-19.
New Brunswick public health said Tuesday that the person is in their eighties. The new case increases the number of active cases to 13 – all of them stemming from a doctor who travelled to Quebec for personal reasons and failed to self-isolate upon his return. Five of the 13 new cases are residents at Manoir de la Vallee.
The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 133, but 120 had recovered before the Campbellton cluster emerged.
Five patients are hospitalized with one in an intensive care unit. As of Tuesday, 30,666 tests have been conducted.
“We are pleased to see how all our partners have come together to help us manage the situation,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province’s chief medical officer of health. “We have 14 days ahead of us to see how things unfold. In the meantime, I ask New Brunswickers to continue to demonstrate their compassion, kindness and patience throughout the province.”
For many health-care workers and Campbellton residents, it’s going to be a long 14 days as they wait and see how many more people will be infected by the most recent outbreak.
About 5,000 people in that zone have been tested since Friday and 300 are self-isolating.
“I would say the majority of them have been tested, but even if they tested negative, they still have to remain home for the next 14 days,” said Dr. Russell. “We’ve seen cases where the person tested negative in the morning and then they tested positive that evening.”
As for the doctor, Vitalite Health Network said last week that the doctor has been suspended and on Tuesday, the college of physicians and surgeons says no further action has been taken yet — but acknowledged the rumours in a statement:
“There has been no action on his license because he was suspended by the hospital and consequently can’t practice anyway. Nor is there an urgent need for us to act on our own, but we are keeping an eye on things, trying to distinguish between reality and fiction.”
There was also a reminder from health officials that New Brunswick’s borders are not completely closed.
In May, an average of 5,600 vehicles crossed every day during the week.
About 90 were turned away because their travel was deemed not essential.
“The problem is, if somebody does something dumb and goes off to some other place where they shouldn’t be and gets infected, you can’t legislate against that,” said Ken McGeorge, an advisor with the Special Care Home Association. “But you have to keep re-enforcing and the special care homes are doing a good job at that.”
Calls to 811 have spiked
Calls to 811 have spiked since Thursday, but despite the increase in testing, public health says there are enough testing kits to go around.
As of Monday 133 tickets have been issued for non-compliance with the state of emergency order. Fines range between $200 and $10,000.
Anyone showing two of the following symptoms should contact Tele-Care 811 or their primary health-care provider for further direction:
- fever above 38 C or signs of fever (such as chills);
- new cough or worsening chronic cough;
- sore throat;
- runny nose;
- new onset of fatigue;
- new onset of muscle pain;
- loss of sense of taste or loss of sense of smell; and
- in children, purple markings on the fingers or toes. In this instance, testing will be done even if none of the other symptoms are present.
You can do an online self-assessment to help determine if you should be tested for COVID-19.
You can also get up-to-date information about COVID-19 on this page of the provincial government website.
Two new COVID-19 outbreaks in BC offices | New West Record – The Record (New Westminster)
New COVID-19 outbreaks have been discovered in the past 24 hours at Abbotsford’s New World Technologies and Delta”s Maersk Distribution Canada, B.C.’s provincial health officer Bonnie Henry said June 2.
She described both of these outbreaks as being in offices. Both workplaces have two cases, and public health teams are at both sites to investigate and determine which people may have had contact with the infected individuals.
The new outbreaks come on what was otherwise a relatively good day, given that there were no new deaths in the last 24 hours, and a spate of outbreaks at seniors’ homes and at an acute-care ward at Abbotsford Regional Hospital are newly declared over.
Henry said that outbreaks are declared over at North Vancouver’s Amica Edgemont Village, Vancouver’s Royal Arch Masonic Home, Maple Ridge’s Chartwell Willow Retirement Community, and Chilliwack’s Eden Care Centre. That means that no new cases have been discovered at those facilities in the past 28 days, or two incubation periods.
This leaves eight active outbreaks at seniors’ care facilities, all of which are long-term care residences. Two of those homes are in Vancouver Coastal Health, while six are in the Fraser Health region. No new cases of COVID-19 have been discovered at any of those homes in the past 24 hours.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said that while the good news on fewer seniors’ home outbreaks and no new deaths is promising, the new outbreaks at businesses show that COVID-19 is alive and well in B.C. and “requires vigilance.”
B.C. recorded four new cases in the past 24 hours of the virus that has caused a global pandemic, and a total of 2,601 cases.
The breakdown of all COVID-19 infections by health region is:
• 904 in Vancouver Coastal Health;
• 1,311 in Fraser Health;
• 127 in Island Health;
• 195 in Interior Health; and
• 64 in Northern Health.
Of all of those who have been infected, 165 have died, 207 are battling illness and 2,229 have recovered.
Most of the 207 people with active illnesses are self-isolating at home, although 31 of them are in hospital, with eight of those in intensive care units.
Dix shared other good news that was part of his weekly update on personal protective equipment. Two separate independent labs in the past week have confirmed lab test results done at the University of British Columbia that showed that respirators that B.C. has bought from a new manufacturer in China has exceeded necessary standards.
“This is excellent news for two reasons,” Dix said. “We have a significant inventory of this product – three million respirators in B.C., and now [we] are assured that the product is safe and effective for our healthcare workers. And, the availability of this equivalent product will reduce our reliance on the traditional 3M respirators that have been extremely difficult to procure due to global demand and supply-chain issues.”
The government has not yet introduced the equivalent respirators for use in the healthcare system because officials have wanted to take time first to communicate with workers about the new product, and to ensure that the respirators are tested to ensure that they fit all employees who may need to wear them, Dix said.
“The significant boost of three million N95-equivalent respirators puts us in good stead as we ramp up our health system, catch up on scheduled surgery volumes and prepare our province for a potential second wave of COVID-19,” he said.
Overall, B.C. has acquired more than four million N-95 or equivalent respirators, about 4.5 million surgical masks, 27 million pairs of gloves, 1.3 million gowns and 1.25 million pieces of eye protection, including goggles and face shields.
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