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A look at COVID-19 reopening plans across the country

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.

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 lift entirely for fully vaccinated Canadian travellers on Canada Day, while those requirements 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 would be reviewed.

Nova Scotia:

Nova Scotia has moved into Phase 2 of its five-step reopening plan, which allows such things as indoor dining at restaurants and bars, a 50 per cent customer capacity for retail stores and increased gathering limits.

The province has allowed all public and private schools to reopen. A limit of 10 people gathering informally indoors is in place, and up to 25 people are allowed to gather informally outdoors without social distancing.

Festivals and special events may take place at 25 per cent of the venue’s capacity with a maximum of 50 people indoors and up to 75 people outdoors with social distancing. 

Indoor and outdoor restaurant dining is allowed with two metres between tables and a maximum of 10 people at each table. Restaurants can only serve dine-in customers until 11 p.m. and must close by 12 a.m., however take-out, delivery and drive-thru service can still be offered after 12 a.m.

Hair salons, barber shops, spas, nail salons and body art establishments are open but by appointment only. 

New Brunswick:

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 will be allowed into the province without the need to isolate, while those who haven't had a shot will have to 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: 

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, its non-medical mask requirement will ease, and 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. 


Three more regions in Quebec have moved into the green, or least restrictive, level of the province's COVID-19 response plan.

Bas-Saint-Laurent, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean and Mauricie-Centre-du-Québec joined much of the rest of the province in attaining the level that allows them to relax restrictions including limits on gatherings in homes, which can host up to 10 people from three different addresses.

Montreal and several other regions have moved from the orange alert level to yellow, permitting indoor gatherings with members of another household, the resumption of outdoor team sports and expanded capacity for weddings, funerals and religious services. Bars in yellow zones can also welcome patrons inside at 50 per cent capacity.

Earlier this month, the province permitted gyms and restaurant dining rooms to reopen as it moved all regions out of the red alert level. Bar patios have reopened and supervised outdoor sports and recreation are allowed in groups of up to 25 people.

Quebec ended its nightly curfew on May 28 and allowed restaurant patios to open as well as limited outdoor gatherings on private property. It also lifted travel bans between regions and increased the number of people allowed to attend sporting events and festivals to 3,500.


The province will allow outdoor concerts, open-air movie screens and performing arts shows starting next Wednesday as it moves to the next stage in its reopening plan.

Audience capacity will be 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 after being outlawed by the province in April. However, the performances cannot host any spectators.

Indoor venues can hold band rehearsals with certain distancing and safety measures in place.

The film and TV industry will see its restrictions lowered as well. In particular, a cap of 50 performers on a set is being eliminated, though studio audiences are still not allowed.

The second stage of reopening was originally slated to begin July 2, but the province moved the plan forward two days, saying COVID-19 vaccination targets have been met.

Indoor cinemas and public concerts still won't be permitted with capacity restrictions until the third stage.


Manitobans will be able to return to restaurants, go to church and meet with larger groups as the province brings in the first step of its reopening plan ahead of schedule.

More than 71 per cent of eligible residents have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and about 27 per cent have had a second shot. That means some restrictions will be loosened Saturday — a week earlier than planned.

Restaurants and bars will be 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, will be available by appointment only.

Outdoor gatherings on private property will be capped at 10 people and groups in public areas will be limited to 25.

The number of worshippers at faith services will also be 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 announced it will remove all public health orders as of Sunday, July 11 — and that includes the removal of the province-wide mandatory masking order, as well as capacity limits on events and gathering sizes.

Premier Scott Moe says the province is going 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.

Currently, large retailers must reduce the capacity of their stores to 25 per cent, while other retailers must cut their capacity to 50 per cent. 

Restaurants and bars must maintain two metres of physical distance between tables or erect a structural barrier between tables if distancing isn't possible. Tables are limited to six people at a time. Dance floors and buffets remain closed.

Places of worship are allowed up to 30 per cent of their seating capacity or 150 people, whichever is less. And individuals must be separated by two metres, unless they are part of the same extended household.

A maximum of 30 people are allowed to attend gatherings at banquet and conference facilities, which includes wedding and funeral receptions. No food or beverages are allowed. 

And a maximum of 30 people are allowed in a movie theatre, but staff and customers must be able to maintain two metres of physical distance. The same rule applies to live theatre.


Outdoor social gatherings of up to 20 people are allowed with proper distancing. 

Indoor recreation, entertainment and other settings can open at one-third of fire code occupancy. Places of worship can also open to one-third capacity and restaurants are allowed up to six people per table, indoors or outdoors. 

Youth activities have resumed with restrictions and outdoor public gatherings, such as concerts and festivals, are allowed with up to 150 people. A work-from-home order has been lifted, but it is still recommended.

All remaining restrictions will lift on July 1.

There will no longer be limits on weddings, funerals or bans on indoor social gatherings. There will also be 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 will end, but masks will likely still be required in taxis, on public transit and on ride shares.

British Columbia:

Seated gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed at banquet halls, movie theatres and theatre performances. High-intensity fitness classes are allowed and bars can serve liquor until midnight. 

Indoor faith gatherings are allowed with a maximum of 50 people or up to 10 per cent of a building's capacity. 

Recreational travel within B.C. is allowed, but the province is asking those planning to visit from other provinces to delay those plans until more people have had their vaccines. 

The province is testing every positive COVID-19 case for variants of concern and testing, tracking and tracing for each case remains a priority. 

Rules for masks and physical distancing remain in place. 


Public health orders affecting what is allowed to open vary by community.

In Iqaluit, travel to the community is restricted to residents, medical officials and critical workers, as well as those who have authorization for a compassionate exemption. Outdoor gatherings are restricted to 25 people, while indoor gatherings are restricted to a household plus five people.

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.

Northwest Territories:

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.


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 June 24, 2021.

The Canadian Press