Summer is in full swing, just as vaccination rates are rising, COVID cases are dropping in many areas, and Canada’s provinces and territories are progressing through the steps of their reopening plans. All through the pandemic, outdoor activities have been a great way to enhance your physical and mental health while staying at low risk of catching or transmitting the virus. But at certain times in certain places, some activities were off limits. Now that things are opening up again, here’s what’s permitted under each province’s reopening plan.
As of July 1, BC has moved to Step Three of reopening, which means that most things you might want to do outside are back on the menu, and if it’s an informal personal gathering, you can bring as many of your friends as you like. You can attend larger organized outdoor events like fairs and sports matches, but those may have to cap their attendance at 5,000 or 50% of their capacity, whichever is bigger. And if you want to explore the great outdoors farther away from home, you can now travel freely to other regions or provinces - keeping your destination’s rules in mind, of course.
Things in Alberta are even more open than they are in BC, under Stage Three of the province’s “Open for Summer Plan.” There are no longer any restrictions or capacity limits on any kind of outdoor activity or event, and masks are optional in almost all settings, indoors and out. Individual venues or events may choose to set their own rules or do testing/screening, but for the most part, it’s back to “normal”!
Unfortunately, due to a recent outbreak the Yukon has had to pause some of its reopening plans, and move more slowly on others. Its current guidance recommends avoiding travelling to other regions if possible, and keeping outdoor gatherings to a maximum 6 people if everyone is unvaccinated or their status is unknown. Fully vaccinated people can gather outside in groups of up to 50, or up to 200 people for official organized events. You’re discouraged from playing team sports where physical distancing can’t be maintained, and being a spectator at a game is not recommended. Once the outbreak is under control, it’s hoped that the territory will be able to get back onto its “A Path Forward” reopening plan.
Under its “Emerging Wisely” plan, the Northwest Territories are still trying to limit leisure travel into the region. Outdoor activities and events can take place with up to 200 people, and organizers of larger events can apply for an exemption if they can show that they’re taking the required steps to keep participants safe.
Nunavut is currently under a state of emergency order, even though there are few active cases the risk of community transmission is low. You’re encouraged to keep your distance from anyone not in your own household, both indoors and outdoors. Within that limitation, public swimming pools are open (with a 25-person limit) and all municipal, territorial, and national parks are open. Outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people are allowed.
As of July 11, Saskatchewan is in Phase 3 of its re-opening plan, meaning that most public health measures have been lifted for outdoor activities. Golf courses, boat launches, and parks and campgrounds are open, and organized outdoor gatherings can happen up to a limit of 150 people.
Manitoba has now reached “Milestone Two” of its plan, which means that you can gather outside with up to 25 people on private property or 150 people in other outdoor settings. Organized outdoor recreation activities can take place with up to 50 people and spectators are allowed. Large organized professional sports or performing arts events can take place at full capacity if they have an approved public health plan in place.
Ontario is currently in Step 3 of its reopening plan, which means that you can gather outside with up to 100 people. Outdoor attractions and events such as amusement parks, sports matches, and performing arts are allowed, with capacity limits. Day and overnight camps for kids are back in business, and a full range of outdoor activities should be on offer if you stay at a resort or take a camping trip to a provincial or national park.
Québec is now in the “green” zone of its reopening plan, meaning that a lot of outdoor activities are possible again. Outdoor sports can have up to 50 players and 50 spectators, and other organized activities can also take place with up to 50 people. Open-air festivals can also return, as long as the audience can be divided into sections of 500 people and attendees have enough room for appropriate distancing. Waterparks and other outdoor attractions are open.
New Brunswick is in Phase 2 of its “Path to Green” plan, which means that a lot of outdoor recreational activities, including organized sports, are possible again. There are no specific limits on informal outdoor gatherings as long as distancing can be maintained between groups from different households. Canadians with at least one vaccine dose can now enter the province without needing to self-isolate.
Nova Scotia is currently in Phase 4 of its plan, which allows for live music and cultural events outdoors with up to 250 attendees at a time. Outdoor organized sports can have up to 50 players; spectators are allowed and tournaments can take place. Swimming pools and tennis courts can be used up to 75% of their capacity and there are no such limits on golf courses.
Prince Edward Island
PEI is in Step 3 of its “Moving Forward” framework, so informal outdoor gatherings and activities can happen with up to 50 people, or up to 200 people with special planning and permission. Outdoor sports tournaments and cultural events are allowed as long as they don’t involve more than 100 participants.
Newfoundland & Labrador
In the “Together. Again.” plan, Newfoundland & Labrador are currently in Step 2. This allows for organized outdoor gatherings of up to 500 people, and no specific limits on informal get-togethers as long as there’s space for physical distancing. Outdoor sports tournaments are allowed, and recreational and performing arts facilities can be open, subject to gathering limits.
What stage of reopening is your part of Canada in, and how has that influenced your plans to get outdoors this summer? Share this on your social media and comment to continue the conversation!