Manitoba has moved the fastest in lifting business restrictions due to COVID-19, but all four western provinces have now begun to get back to economic life with an easing of physical-distancing regulations.
British Columbia’s four-part “restart plan” will roll out over the next few weeks, easing pandemic restrictions on the economic, social, educational and recreational lives of residents.
“It won’t be the flipping of a switch,” said Premier John Horgan. “We’re going to be proceeding carefully, bit by bit, one step at a time.”
Provided that COVID-19 physical distancing and other safeguards are in place, the retail sector, including hair salons, barbers, restaurants and pubs will be allowed to open May 18. Offices can also open, along with recreation centres, parks, beaches and outdoor spaces, plus transit should be back on schedule.
It will not be until June, however, when hotels and resorts, and the film industry will be allowed to open for business. It has yet to be determined when casinos, bars and nightclubs will be welcoming guests.
Alberta opened golf courses on May 2, though pro shops and clubhouses remain shuttered. On May 14 most retail businesses were allowed to reopen gradually, except in Calgary and Banff, which have had higher rates of infection. In Calgary and Brooks, retail stores, clothing, furniture and books stores, farmer's markets, museums and art galleries and daycares could open, but restaurants, bars, pubs and cafes will reopen 11 days later, on May 25, and they will operate at 50 per cent capacity. Hair salons and barbershops will also reopen on May 25 in the two citiies. Cafes and restaurants across the province must run at half capacity. The second phase also includes the reopening of movie theatres and theatres, with restrictions. The third phase would see nightclubs, gyms, pools, recreation centres and arenas reopen, also with restrictions. There is no timeline for the final two phases.
The Saskatchewan government's five-phase plan to reopen parts of its economy starts May 18 with dentists, optometrists and other health professionals being 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.
Manitoba allowed health offices, including dentists, chiropractors and physiotherapists were cleared to reopen in early May. Retail businesses were allowed to reopen at half occupancy as long as they ensure physical distancing. Restaurants can reopen patios and walk-up service. Playgrounds, golf courses and tennis courts have also reopened, 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. Mass gatherings such as concerts and major sporting events will not be considered before September, however.