Police officers patrol a city park in Montreal, Sunday, May 3, 2020. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world, several Canadian provinces are beginning the process of loosening some of the restrictions. (Graham Hughes/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Several provinces begin easing COVID-19 lockdown restrictions

Nearly eight weeks after the first pandemic lockdown measures were announced in Canada, several provinces are beginning the process of slowly loosening some of their COVID-19 restrictions.

The French-speaking province of Quebec, which accounts for more than half of Canada’s coronavirus cases with 31,865 infections and 2,205 deaths from the illness, is reopening retail stores outside Montreal while those in the greater Montreal area are to reopen on May 11.

Ontario, another COVID-19 hotbed, which reported 17,923 infections and 1,216 deaths from the virus, is allowing a small list of mostly seasonal businesses to reopen, including garden centres with curbside pick-ups, lawn care and landscaping companies, and automatic car washes.

Manitoba, which so far has reported 282 infections and six deaths, plans to reopen today museums, libraries and retail businesses, including restaurant patios, though at only half capacity.

The neighbouring prairie province of Saskatchewan, which has reported 433 infections and six deaths, is reopening non-urgent medical offices and relaxing rules around some outdoor activities, including fishing and boating.

Further west, Alberta, which has reported 5,766 infections and 95 deaths, is also allowing non-essential medical activities, such as dentistry and physiotherapy to resume.

British Columbia, which has reported 2,171 infections and 114 deaths, has yet to release its reopening plan, however, Premier John Horgan is promising details this week.

The Maritime provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, where COVID-19 caseloads have been trending downward, began relaxing some restrictions over the past week, primarily in the areas of public health services and outdoor recreation.

Meanwhile, Newfoundland and Labrador, with 259 infections and three deaths caused by the virus, plans to loosen some of its public health and recreation restrictions on May 11.

As of Monday morning, Canada has recorded 59,474 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 3,682 deaths and 24,921 cases resolved.

With files from CBC News and The Canadian Press

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