Restricted gatherings, closed schools: what is being done to combat COVID-19


Here is an overview of how different jurisdictions react:

British Columbia

BEFORE CHRIST. declared a provincial emergency on March 18, one day after announcing a public health emergency.

The measure gives the province the power to take whatever action is necessary to protect individuals and communities, including by accusing those who ignore public health orders.

The province has also banned the resale of essential supplies such as food and cleaning supplies.

All parking fees at B.C. hospitals were canceled during the pandemic to ensure safer access for patients and staff.

Authorities have banned gatherings of more than 50 people in one place, including restaurants, schools, places of worship, theaters, casinos, sports arenas, and outdoor places.

Some provincial parks are closed.

Vancouver Park Board general manager Malcolm Bromley says cars will be banned on most roads in Stanley Park, giving more room for cyclists, walkers and joggers.

Authorities also issued fire restrictions at the start of the forest fire season.

Prime Minister John Horgan announced that he was extending the state of emergency until the end of April 14.


Alberta declared a public health emergency on March 17.

The province has given law enforcement agencies the full power to enforce orders and impose fines for offenses.

There are restrictions on mass gatherings of more than 15 people, indoors and outdoors in places of worship, weddings or funerals. Any gathering should allow people to keep two meters away from others.

All non-essential businesses were closed, including personal service providers, clothing stores and furniture stores.

Albertans are prohibited from using public or private recreational and entertainment facilities. The restaurants have been closed, except for take out or deliveries. The casinos are closed.

Vehicle access to provincial parks and public lands is prohibited for visitors.

Albertans who have been quarantined cannot leave their property for 14 days. It also prevents people who live in apartments from using elevators.

There is also a new restriction on visitors to nursing homes, long-term care facilities and hospitals – although exceptions can be made if a child is hospitalized or a woman is about to give birth .


Premier Scott Moe declared a provincial emergency on March 18.

It orders that all orders of the Chief Medical Officer of Health be followed and gives the police the power to enforce them.

Public gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people.

Nightclubs, bars and lounges are closed, but they are allowed to provide takeout or alcohol.

Leisure and entertainment facilities are closed. Personal service providers such as tattoo artists, hairdressers, beauticians and relaxation masseurs cannot operate.

Dental, optometrists, chiropractic and podiatric clinics are closed – except in an emergency.

All long-term care facility workers have their temperature checked and monitored for COVID-19.

Health officials say there is no evidence that livestock or pets can be infected or transmit COVID-19, but that has not been ruled out. They suggest that anyone infected with the virus avoid contact with animals, as well as with people, until more information is available.


The Manitoba government declared a province-wide emergency on March 20.

The province has limited public gatherings to a maximum of 10 people, up from 50 previously.

It includes any indoor or outdoor location, places of worship or family events such as weddings and funerals.

Non-essential businesses have been ordered to close. Lounges, spas, bars and other establishments will be closed from Wednesday. Restaurants can remain open for take out or delivery only.

The closings do not affect health facilities, government services and other institutions.

The bingo and game rooms as well as the wellness centers and gymnasiums are closed.

The province also allows people injured by the economic fallout from COVID-19 to avoid penalties and interest on certain utility payments and property taxes. There is also a freeze on all rent increases until May 31 at least.

No visitors are allowed in long-term care facilities and hospitals. There may be exceptions in hospitals for compassionate reasons.


Ontario declared a state of emergency on March 24.

All cases, except those deemed essential, have been closed.

The province will allow street curbside collection and delivery of cannabis.

All industrial construction, except essential projects, such as hospitals, has been stopped.

All bars and restaurants, except takeout and deliveries, have been closed.

Recreational facilities, public libraries, private schools, licensed daycare centers, cinemas and concert halls are also closed.

Any public event of more than five people, including parades, events and services in places of worship, is prohibited.

Provincial parks are closed.

The City of Toronto has also closed playgrounds, sports fields, off-leash dog parks, skateboard parks, and picnic areas. The car parks adjoining the parks are closed.

Ontario has extended its provincial emergency declaration to at least April 14.


Quebec declared a public health emergency on March 13 and renewed it a week later.

The government has cut non-priority services and banned indoor and outdoor gatherings.

Authorities have ordered police to establish checkpoints, which severely restrict access to eight remote areas. Restrictions have since been extended to prohibit non-essential travel to a large part of the chalets north of Montreal and to Charlevoix, northeast of Quebec.

Quebec has also banned non-essential visits to hospitals, residential and long-term care centers or between children of foster families and their biological families.

Designated clinics have been opened for anyone with symptoms.

To give retail workers a break, stores are closed on Sunday, and only pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores and take-out restaurants remain open on these days.

The mayor of Montreal also declared a state of emergency to help the authorities better manage the spread of COVID-19 among the city’s homeless.

New Brunswick

A state of emergency was declared in New Brunswick on March 19.

Food and beverage businesses were limited to takeout and delivery. Lounges and clubs are not allowed to allow customers to enter.

Customers are not allowed to enter retail businesses unless they are serving food, medicine, fuel or other essential supplies.

Many health services – such as chiropractors, dentists and optometrists – are prohibited from seeing patients in person unless absolutely necessary.

No gathering of more than 10 people is allowed and residents are invited to stay at home as much as possible. They are also asked to delay nonessential races.

Unnecessary travel to New Brunswick is prohibited.

All playgrounds in the province are closed, but some public parks and walking trails remain open as long as physical distance measures are observed.

New Scotland

The province of Nova Scotia declared a state of emergency on March 22 and was extended until April 19.

It establishes a 14-day rule for self-isolation and self-quarantine for people returning from outside Canada.

All schools and daycares are closed. Long-term care facilities and nursing homes are closed to visitors.

The casinos have closed and no business is allowed to operate a video lottery terminal.

Restaurants are limited to delivery and take-out only. The drinking places are closed.

There are also restrictions on medical professionals such as chiropractors and dentists.

Two mobile assessment centers have been established to conduct community tests.

Prince Edward Island

Prime Minister Dennis King declared a public health emergency on March 16.

It included an order for Islanders to refrain from attending any public gathering and the closure of libraries, daycares, gymnasiums and schools.

Hospitals have limited visitors – although only one visitor is allowed to see palliative, intensive care, neonatal intensive care, obstetrics and pediatrics patients at a time.

All long-term care facilities continue to completely restrict visitors.

The measures also include fines for anyone who does not comply with a self-isolation directive.

The public health official recommends that people who self-isolate stay outside on their own property.

The government is working to open an outpatient clinic to allow for increased testing and to ease the burden on hospitals.

Officials also deferred provincial property taxes and payment of fees until the end of the year.

Newfoundland and Labrador

The province declared a public health emergency on March 18.

This includes closing most businesses – with the exception of grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations and other stores considered essential.

Gatherings of more than 10 people are not allowed. This includes funerals and weddings.

Grocery stores and big box stores will be allowed to open this year on Good Friday, which is normally closed on holidays, to keep them from getting too busy while people shop for the Easter weekend.

Anyone arriving from outside the province must self-isolate for 14 days.

Health officials have the power to restrict the rights and freedoms of people in times of crisis. People who violate orders face fines.


The Yukon declared a state of emergency on March 27.

Yukon residents arriving in Canada with symptoms of COVID-19 should be quarantined at their destination of arrival, and those with no symptoms should be self-isolated for 14 days when they return home.

The Yukon has asked everyone arriving in the territory, including minors, to isolate themselves for 14 days.

The government closed bars and limited social gatherings to 10 people or less.

Recreational facilities, libraries, museums and visitor centers are closed. School classes are suspended until April 15 at least.

Long-term care facilities are closed to visitors and volunteers, while all non-emergency or routine services, including laboratory tests, x-rays, physiotherapy and occupational therapy are suspended.

All dentists must also suspend non-emergency treatment until further notice.

Northwest Territories

The Northwest Territories declared a public health emergency on March 18, which has now moved to a state of emergency.

It requires that anyone who arrives in the territory from outside its borders self-isolate for 14 days.

It is prohibited to cross all entry points into the territory – air and road -.

Orders exclude workers in essential services such as health professionals or emergency services.

The territory has asked that all indoor and outdoor gatherings be canceled – regardless of size or number.

Many businesses, including tour operators, gymnasiums, museums and theaters, have been ordered to close.

The government has said it will help Indigenous families who wish to head for land as an alternative to physical distance. It will provide a $ 2.6 million grant to help families purchase the appropriate equipment and supplies to get to the fishing and hunting camps.


Nunavut declared a public health emergency on March 20, and it was extended until April 16.

There are no known cases of COVID-19, but it has restrictions in place.

There is a mandatory 14-day self-isolation period in one of four locations in southern Canada for any resident wishing to return to Nunavut.

Critical employees who must return to work must request an exemption.

All non-essential medical trips have been canceled.

Public gatherings, including on playgrounds or parks and during religious, cultural or spiritual services, are prohibited.

Sources: provincial and territorial government websites

This Canadian Press report was first published on April 8, 2020

The Canadian Press


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