Oshawa, ON — This week Ontario and Quebec announced they would be easing restrictions in an attempt to re-open. While the Christmas break saw an increase in COVID cases, provinces throughout Canada have been implementing their own restrictions and below is an update on each province and territory.
Mask wearing while indoors and proof of vaccinations have been enforced throughout all provinces and territories. Additionally, there were no specific restrictions for those in the skilled trades. Employers and employees are to follow all current health restrictions laid out in their province.
Capacity limits will still be enforced in indoor and outdoor events at venues, with all events capped at 50 per cent capacity.
If a workplace has a worker test positive for COVID-19 and public health confirms transmission within the work environment, the business may be ordered to close for a minimum of 10 days.
“We are still in a pandemic, as much as we would like to be over it,” said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
Prince Edward Island
P.E.I has eased its restrictions following a two-week shutdown. It is allowing the reopening of several businesses including fitness facilities and indoor dining. They are now permitted to operate by up to 50 per cent of their capacity. Businesses will still be required to ask for proof of vaccination from customers aged 12 years and above.
While working in offices, mask-wearing is required and social distancing must be maintained when possible. Meanwhile, corporate employees who can still perform their work remotely are still encouraged to do so and businesses that were shut down for two weeks may still have access to support programs. This includes PEI’s COVID-19 Wage Rebate for Impacted Industries, which provides a 25 per cent wage refund on the payroll for businesses of impacted industries from January 19 to 30.
Applications for both assistance initiatives are accepted until March 21.
The province of Alberta is making fourth doses of COVID-19 vaccine available to people aged 18 and up who have specific immunocompromising conditions and received their third dose at least five months ago.
With regards to businesses, capacity restrictions are still in place but businesses participating Restrictions Exemption Program can operate with fewer restrictions if they require patrons 12 and over to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test result.
The program does not apply to businesses or entities that need to be accessed by the public for daily living purposes, including all retail locations, employees, contractors, repair or delivery workers, volunteers or inspectors entering the space for work purposes, or children under 12 years and 10 weeks.
Masks are still mandatory indoors.
Unlike most provinces, Saskatchewan natives have been able to carry on practically restriction-free and students were able to return to the classroom on schedule.
Under the current public health order, masking is mandatory in all indoor public spaces including schools, and proof of vaccination or negative test requirements are in place for public access to a list of establishments, businesses and event venues.
The province plans on abandoning proof of vaccination requirements by Feb 28th.
The province announced that current restrictions will stay in place until Feb. 8. Manitoba remains under the “orange” restriction level following a peak in COVID cases.
Mask use is required in indoor public places and retail capacity is permitted at 50 per cent in the Southern Health-Santé Sud health region. While retail capacity is permitted at 100 per cent in the Interlake-Eastern, Northern, Prairie Mountain, Winnipeg health regions, and at a retail business that is located in the Town of Niverville or in the rural municipalities of St. Francois Xavier, Cartier, Headingley, Macdonald, Ritchot or Taché in the Southern Health Region.
Restrictions that included restaurants and gyms being closed were lifted on Jan. 31 and they will be required to run at 50 per cent capacity following Ontario’s three-step plan. The legal requirement to work from home except where necessary has also been lifted by the province. Mask wearing while indoors and social distancing will be maintained when possible.
Quebec is adding additional restrictions which include liquor and cannabis stores requiring proof of vaccination. Currently, proof of vaccination is required in health facilities, theatres, bars, and indoor sport and performance venues. The 10 p.m. curfew has been lifted and the tax on people refusing to be vaccinated has also been lifted.
Retail businesses will operate at 50 per cent capacity and mask-wearing will still be required while indoors.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Following a record 519 new cases of COVID on Jan. 3, Newfoundland and Labrador entered back in Alert Level Four of its COVID response, and the province is still in that state and will reassess at a later date.
Under the current Alert Level Four, restrictions include capacity limits for retail stores, restaurants, and personal care establishments. Residents were asked to keep a “tight-10” group of consistent contacts from outside a household bubble, such as grandparents or grandparents’ close friends.
Mask wearing and social distancing will still be enforced when necessary.
Nova Scotia has announced that restrictions will be extended but plans to loosen gathering limits and measures on arts, culture and sports like practices and games by Feb. 14.
Currently, rotational workers who are not fully vaccinated must self-isolate for the period of time they’re in the province (at least seven days). They must isolate until they receive their first negative test result and can then switch to modified self-isolation.
Workers from other provinces or territories (outside Atlantic Canada) who are not fully vaccinated can receive an exception to the self-isolation requirement when work can’t be done by workers within the province for urgent work on critical infrastructure that’s crucial for the province to function, or urgent work that’s necessary to preserve the viability of one or more Nova Scotia business.
The province announced that as of Jan. 28, all of New Brunswick will move back to Level Two of its winter plan. Businesses required to close under Level Three including spas and salons, entertainment centres, gyms and restaurant dining rooms, will be permitted to reopen in Level Two at 50 per cent capacity and with physical distancing and proof of vaccination.
Mask wearing is still required while indoors, this includes businesses and employees when not social distancing.
On Jan. 13, the province lifted some restrictions, including community travel restrictions, indoor gatherings resuming with up to five people aside from household members, and most non-essential businesses able to reopen. Masks are still required in all communities.
On Jan. 18, the Yukon government announced new restrictions, which include all private and public gatherings being limited to 10 people, or two vaccinated households, and mask-wearing to be enforced in all indoor settings when social distancing can’t be maintained.
N.W.T maintains that mask-wearing will still be enforced in indoor settings.