How proof of vaccines could work in private spaces and why it may be mandatory
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:
Canada is once again allowing U.S. citizens and permanent residents back into the country, provided they've been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The 17-month long ban on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border was eased Monday, although the Americans have yet to lift their own limits on Canadian travellers.
Eligible visitors must live in the U.S. and have allowed 14 days to pass since receiving a full course of a Health Canada-approved vaccine.
They are also required to show proof of a negative molecular test for COVID-19 that's no more than 72 hours old and to use the ArriveCAN app or online web portal to upload their vaccination details.
Newfoundland and Labrador:
Newfoundland and Labrador has moved to the second step of its reopening plan.
Fully and partially vaccinated travellers from Canada no longer have to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test, nor do they have to self-isolate.
With more than 60 per cent of residents aged 12 and over now fully vaccinated, the province says masks will no longer be mandatory in most places starting first thing Tuesday.
They will, however, still be required in health facilities and in congregate living centres for seniors.
Meanwhile, limits on indoor gatherings will rise to 500 people as long as social distancing is maintained.
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.
Nova Scotia has further reduced COVID-19 public health orders after entering the fourth phase of its reopening.
Under the new rules, retail stores can operate at full capacity, churches and other venues can operate at half capacity or with a maximum of 150 people, and up to 50 people can attend outdoor family gatherings.
Capacity limits for dance classes, music lessons and indoor play spaces have also been lifted.
Organized sports practices, games, league play, competitions and recreation programs can involve up to 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors without physical distancing.
Day camps can operate with 30 campers per group plus staff and volunteers, following the day camp guidelines. In addition, professional and amateur arts and culture rehearsals and performances can involve up to 25 people indoors and 50 outdoors without physical distancing.
Meanwhile, fully vaccinated residents of long-term care homes can now have visitors in their rooms and visit their family's homes, including for overnight stays.
The province has lifted all public health orders and its mask mandate has also expired.
All limits on gatherings are now removed, including in theatres and stores.
Restaurants, gyms and salons can also operate at full capacity, as long as customer contact lists are kept.
New Brunswick had earlier moved into the second phase of its reopening plan, which opened travel without the need to isolate to all of Nova Scotia after earlier 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 can enter the province without the need to isolate, while those who haven't had a shot must still isolate and produce a negative test before being released from quarantine.
Prince Edward Island:
Prince Edward Island has dropped its requirement that non-medical masks be worn in public indoor spaces.
Chief public health officer Dr. Heather Morrison says masks are still encouraged to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and businesses are free to adopt stricter rules.
Officials say those who serve the public, such as in restaurants, retail stores and hair salons, should continue to wear a mask.
All health-care facilities will continue to require masks until 80 per cent of eligible P.E.I. residents are fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, 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.
Organized gatherings hosted by a business or other organization are 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.
Quebec will test a smartphone application over the next two weeks that will run the vaccine passport system the government plans to impose across the province on Sept. 1.
The passport would be used in settings with a high degree of contact, such as festivals, bars, restaurants and gyms.
Health Minister Christian Dube says two days of testing will begin Wednesday at a sports bar and restaurant in Quebec City, and the application will be tested the following week over two days at a gym in the Montreal area.
He says the government wants to have the smartphone application ready for use across the province by September.
Dube says the application will read the QR code sent to people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, adding that both businesses and clients will need to download the software.
Quebecers are allowed to drink alcohol in bars and restaurants until 1 a.m., gaining an additional hour from the previous restrictions.
Indoor venues and stadiums can now seat 7,500 people, and outdoor festivals can have up to 15,000 with pre-assigned seats.
Indoor public events can have up to 250 people while 500 people are permitted at outdoor public gatherings.
Quebec is, however, maintaining mandatory masks and social distancing in enclosed public spaces and transit.
The province earlier removed capacity restrictions in retail stores and reduced the two-metre physical distancing health order to one metre.
It permitted gyms and restaurant dining rooms to reopen in June, ended its nightly curfew on May 28, and also lifted travel bans between regions.
Ontario's government has released its back-to-school plan, which will allow returning students to play on sports teams, use instruments in music class, go on field trips and ditch masks outdoors.
The plan places an emphasis on outdoor activities - allowing kids to play during recess with friends from other classes - and allowing shared materials again, such as toys in kindergarten.
Students will be attending in person for full days, five days a week - unless they have opted for remote learning - and high school students will have timetables with no more than two courses at a time.
The province is in the third step of its reopening plan, allowing for more indoor activities including restaurant dining and gym use, while larger crowds are permitted for outdoor activities.
Masking and physical distancing rules, however, remain in place.
Social gatherings are limited to 25 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. Religious services and other ceremonies are allowed indoors with larger groups of people who are physically distanced.
Nightclubs and similar establishments are open to 25 per cent capacity. Crowd limits have expanded for retail stores and salons, which can offer services that require masks to be removed.
Spectators are permitted at sporting events, concert venues, cinemas and theatres, with larger limits on crowds for outdoor events.
Museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, bingo halls and amusement parks are also open with larger crowd limits on outdoor attractions.
Manitoba has loosened more COVID-19 restrictions, including removing its mask mandate.
All restrictions are now removed for private gatherings and businesses, including hair salons, libraries, retail stores, malls and gyms.
The rules around capacity have been loosened for religious services, weddings and funerals. Museums, galleries and movie theatres can still only have 50 per cent capacity but can open up to unvaccinated people.
Sporting events and casinos can open to full capacity but are restricted only to those who are fully vaccinated.
Restaurants and bars no longer need to restrict the space between tables and people dining are not required to eat with only those in their household.
Masks are no longer required but are strongly recommended for people who are unvaccinated. And they are still necessary when going into a hospital or care home.
Meanwhile, the province says masks will be strongly recommended, but not mandatory, when students return to class on September 7th.
Manitoba's back-to-school plan also recommends physical distancing “to the greatest extent possible”.
Students will return to in-class learning full-time, except for those who are immunocompromised or have family members that are.
Extracurricular activities such as sports teams and field trips will also return, and kids from kindergarten to Grade 6 will be grouped in cohorts to minimize contacts.
Saskatchewan has removed all public health orders - including the province-wide mandatory masking order, as well as capacity limits on events and gathering sizes.
Premier Scott Moe says the province decided to go ahead with full implementation of Step 3 of its Reopening Roadmap because more than 70 per cent of residents over the age of 18 and 69 per cent of those over 12 have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Despite the lifting of the health orders, Regina and Saskatoon say they will still keep up extra cleaning in municipal facilities.
All remaining COVID-19 restrictions were lifted on July 1.
There are no longer limits on weddings, funerals or bans on indoor social gatherings. In addition, there are 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.
Alberta, meanwhile, has announced that close contacts of people who test positive for COVID-19 are no longer legally required to isolate, nor are they notified by contact tracers.
And as of Aug. 16, infected individuals won't need to isolate. Testing will also be curtailed.
The overall requirement for masks in public indoor spaces has ended, but masks may still be required in taxis, on public transit and on ride shares.
Some remaining COVID-19 health restrictions in continuing-care centres have also been eased.
The province is no longer limiting the number of visitors, however, visitors still need to be screened for COVID-19 symptoms or known exposure, and masks are still required in common areas.
The province recommends people wear a mask at all times when visiting a care home if they have not been fully vaccinated, including children under 12.
Limits on dining and recreation activities have been eliminated, and residents are not required to be screened if they are re-entering the building or go into quarantine if they have gone off site.
The province took the next step in its reopening plan on Canada Day when most COVID-19 restrictions were removed and outdoor gatherings of up to 5,000 people got the go ahead.
Most restaurants and pubs no longer have limits on the number of diners, but people are still not allowed to mingle with those at other tables. Masks are no longer mandatory in most places and recreational travel outside the province can resume.
Most casinos and nightclubs are also open again, though some barriers remain in place and socializing between tables is not allowed.
The exception to the new rules is the central Okanagan region where some restrictions have been reinstated following a surge of COVID-19 cases driven by the highly infectious Delta variant.
Outdoor gatherings are once again limited to 50 individuals, while indoor get-togethers are reduced to five extra people, plus those in the household.
Nightclubs and bars are closed and liquor is now cutoff at 10 p-m at restaurants.
High intensity indoor fitness classes are cancelled, though low intensity exercise at fitness centres is still permitted.
Masks are also mandatory in all indoor public places in central Okanagan communities including Peachland, West Kelowna, Kelowna, Lake Country and West Bank First Nations lands.
Health officials are asking people who intended to travel to the central Okanagan to try to change their plans.
The Nunavut government has released a long-term plan that will work toward treating COVID-19 like any other vaccine-preventable disease.
The plan, which is called Nunavut's Path: Living with COVID-19, will move Nunavut from restrictions to what it calls “baseline measures,” which it says are the lowest level of restrictions still needed in the territory to reduce the risk of introduction of the virus. The measures will be assessed every two to four weeks.
Right now, baseline measures include limiting household gatherings to 15 people and opening restaurants and bars at 75 per cent capacity. Masks are no longer mandatory in Nunavut but their use is still strongly encouraged.
The plan says the ultimate goal is to end the territory's public health emergency, which has been in place for more than a year, and eliminate all public health restrictions.
Since mid-June, fully vaccinated travellers have been able to fly into Nunavut without isolating. Non-vaccinated individuals still need to isolate in one of the territory's designated isolation hotels in southern Canada.
For now, all schools in Nunavut also plan to reopen at full capacity for in-class learning this fall.
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.
The territory is no longer requiring masks to be worn in public places in Yellowknife and three other communities.
But chief public health officer Dr. Kami Kandola says it's still a good idea to wear a mask indoors when there is a crowd, poor ventilation, or shouting or singing.
The Yukon government has lifted a series of public health restrictions as active COVID-19 infections decline and the vaccination rate rises.
The territory says masks are no longer required in indoor spaces but are strongly recommended when it's difficult to practise physical distancing.
Shops, grocers, bars, restaurants, recreational centres and transit operators should be respected if they ask clients to wear masks.
Self-isolation after domestic travel is no longer required for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, while bars and restaurants may return to full capacity.
Certain public health restrictions remain in place, including limits on the number of people who can gather at gyms and recreation centres. Social gatherings are still limited to 20 people indoors and to 100 outdoors. Organized events of any kind are capped at 200 people, with physical distancing required at all children's gatherings.
Unvaccinated people should stick to six people and keep their circle small, the territory said in a statement announcing the rule changes.
Schools will return to “near-normal” operations this fall, offering full-time, in-class instruction.
Students won't have to wear masks in class, but masks will be required for adults and kids aged five and up in common areas.
School buses are set to resume normal operations with masks required for drivers and children five and up.
BNN Bloomberg Picks
Loneliness, isolation a side-effect of inflation for seniors
Inflation: These are the grocery items that grew in cost
Elon Musk says he was joking about buying Manchester United
How to protect yourself against fraudsters when travelling
Pulling in the big bucks in 2022? Here are four tax shelters
Gordon Reid's Top Picks: August 16, 2022