reopen new brunswick

New Brunswick is the second province in Canada to say it will loosen lockdown restrictions

As various European countries begin easing out of lockdown and the U.S. — perhaps unwisely, given its case numbers — plans to do the same within the week, Canadians are wondering when we might start returning back to (somewhat) normal life, and what the process of doing so will look like.

Saskatchewan yesterday revealed an action plan for how it will slowly re-open the province, and today, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs announced his intent to do the same.

While Saskatchewan's gradual restart will start on May 4, the first phase of New Brunswick's opening is set to start today. Details will be announced at a press conference this afternoon.

New Brunswick hasn't seen any new cases of the novel virus in five days, with only 118 residents testing positive, making it the province with the fifth-lowest case count after Nunavut (0), the Northwest Territories (5), Yukon (11) and P.E.I. (26).

Saskatchewan, which has 331 cases, will be permitting the use of amenities like parks, golf courses and campgrounds on May 4, to be followed by businesses like hair salons in the subsequent weeks.

Non-essential surgeries, which have been postponed for the time being, will also be resumed in the province starting May 4.

New Brunswick's four-phase plan of action will likewise be starting with the province's "wide open spaces," Higgs told CBC Radio this morning. Its borders will remain closed throughout the recovery process.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has left it up to provincial governments to decide when and how to re-open their economies based on how well they're doing at flattening the curve, though he has faced some criticism for not having a national strategy in place.

As Saskatchewan and New Brunswick gear up to ease current restrictions, Quebec — which has the highest number of cases of any province with almost 22,000 — is also looking at reopening things like schools and daycare centres before summer.

Premier François Legault has encouraged herd immunity, wherein residents who are less at risk acquire natural immunity to the infectious disease, thereby acting as roadblocks to its spread. This would happen by loosening current isolation measures.

"When we better understand the concept of natural immunization, the idea of gradually reopening (Quebec) becomes less scary... It even becomes desirable," Legault said at a press briefing on Thursday.

"[But] if everyone stays at home, there's no one else among the immunized people."

Ontario, meanwhile, which has the second-most cases (13,519) in Canada as well as the largest population, is not slated to let up its closure of non-essential businesses or its social distancing measures anytime soon.

Premier Doug Ford clarified that the province is "absolutely not" re-opening by May 24 after previously saying in an interview that things could potentially loosen up "a little bit" by the Victoria Day long weekend.

Lead photo by

Tony Webster/Wikimedia Commons

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