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People walk by outdoor terraces in Old Montreal on May 30, 2021.Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

Restaurant dining rooms will be allowed to reopen in Montreal next week for the first time since the end of September, Quebec Premier François Legault announced Tuesday.

Quebec’s largest city will move on Monday from the red COVID-19 alert level to the lower orange stage, under which gyms can also open, Legault said. It will be joined by its northern suburb of Laval and all other Quebec municipalities still at the red level.

Six other Quebec regions and part of a seventh will see restrictions eased even further on Monday, Legault said, including three regions that will move to the lowest alert level, which allows indoor gatherings of up to 10 people.

However, even in those regions, Legault urged caution. “We have to be very careful with indoor gatherings,” he said.

Legault also called on younger people to vaccinated. “We need you to get back to our normal life,” he said, adding that the sooner young people get vaccinated, the sooner people can have “small parties.”

Earlier Tuesday, Quebec reported 208 new cases of COVID-19 and five more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including one within the previous 24 hours.

Ontario reports 699 COVID-19 cases, nine deaths on Tuesday

Ontario is reporting 699 new cases of COVID-19 today and nine more deaths from the virus.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 207 new cases in Toronto, 144 in Peel Region, 52 in York Region and 50 in Durham Region.

The province says Tuesday’s data is based on 20,262 tests.

There were 804 people hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Tuesday morning.

That number includes 583 patients in intensive care and 387 on ventilators.

The province says 120,195 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered yesterday for a total of more than 9.2 million doses in total.

Quebec reports 208 new cases of COVID-19, five more deaths linked to virus

Quebec is reporting 208 new cases of COVID-19 today and five more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including one within the past 24 hours.

Health officials say hospitalizations dropped by eight, to 354, and 86 people were in intensive care, a drop of three.

The province says 65,917 doses of vaccine were administered since its last report, for a total of 5,648,992. Quebec’s public health institute says 61.3 per cent of residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Montreal reported the highest number of new cases in the province, with 35, followed by the Monteregie region, south of Montreal, with 34.

Quebec Premier François Legault is expected to announce this afternoon whether restrictions will be relaxed in Montreal and its northern suburb Laval on June 7. The two cities are the only regions that remain at Quebec’s highest pandemic-alert level.

Meanwhile, the Health Department said Monday evening officials will begin vaccinating temporary foreign workers when they arrive at the Montreal – Trudeau International Airport.

The National pub's patio, in Calgary, on May 10, 2021.Todd Korol/The Globe and Mail

Alberta rolls out second-dose COVID-19 vaccine plan, bookings begin immediately

Alberta is expanding its rollout of second-dose COVID-19 vaccines, allowing everyone over age 12 who has had a first shot to book a booster before the end of the month.

“This is yet another big milestone in our fight against COVID-19, and it takes us even closer to a post-pandemic world,” Premier Jason Kenney told a news conference Tuesday.

“If there are no unexpected delays to [vaccine] shipments, we expect most everyone awaiting their second dose should have it by the end of summer.”

Under the plan, anyone who received their first dose in March can book a second shot immediately.

Anyone vaccinated in April can start booking June 14, and those vaccinated in May can start booking June 28.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro also announced the province will follow the advice of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization and allow those who received the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for their first dose to get either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna for the second.

About two million Canadians received the AstraZeneca vaccine before provinces stopped using it for first doses last month over concerns it is potentially linked to a rare but serious blood-clotting syndrome.

The national committee said its recommendation takes into account the health risk and the emerging evidence that mixing different types of vaccines is not only safe but may produce a better immune response.

“After carefully reviewing the evidence from other jurisdictions, while AstraZeneca is still a good choice, we will offer Albertans a choice,” Shandro said.

The province has delivered 2.8 million doses of vaccine and almost 63 per cent of those eligible – 12 years of age and older – have received at least one shot.

Kenney said the province is already the leader among provinces on second shots. He said more than 10 per cent of those eligible have already received two doses, and 75 per cent of those over age 75 – the most vulnerable cohort – have been fully vaccinated.

The announcement comes on the same day Alberta lifted more public health restrictions on the first stage of its accelerated plan to lift health restrictions and return the province to a semblance of normality by early July.

Albertans can now book appointments at barber shops, hair salons and other personal wellness services, gather outdoors with up to 10 people and sit on a restaurant patio.

The changes announced last week are linked to more people getting vaccinated for COVID-19 and hospitalization numbers dropping.

The second phase of reopening could come as early as June 10, when entertainment venues like movie theatres and casinos would be able to reopen their doors.

At that time, restaurants will also be allowed to have diners inside rather than just on the patio. Outdoor social gatherings will be able to have up to 20 people.

The second phase is tied to vaccination and hospitalization rates that have already been reached, but the government is waiting two weeks for recent first-dose immunizations to take effect.

Alberta attained the second-phase benchmarks last week when 60 per cent of eligible vaccination recipients received at least one shot and the number of those in hospital for COVID-19 dropped below 500.

The third phase, which would see almost all restrictions lifted, is to happen once 70 per cent of eligible recipients have had a vaccination while hospitalization rates continue to decline.

That is projected to occur in late June or early July.

Alberta had 6,771 active COVID-19 cases on Tuesday. There were 438 people in hospital because of the virus, including 127 in intensive care.

Those numbers are a sharp decline compared with the peak of the third wave three weeks ago.

Kenney said earlier that he hopes the summer landscape includes a return to signature festivals, including the Calgary Stampede and K-Days in Edmonton.

The Stampede is aiming for a reduced festival experience from July 9-18, with midway rides and a rodeo, but without the signature chuckwagon races.

However, K-Days announced Tuesday it will not go ahead this summer.

“Rather than having an event simply to have it in 2021, we want to work with our stakeholders and partners on relaunching K-Days in 2022,” Northlands, the K-Days organizer, said in a statement.

Vancouver Coastal Health confirms 12 youth given wrong vaccine

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says it’s unfortunate that a dozen youth recently received the wrong COVID-19 vaccine, though it’s not believed they will suffer any clinical harm from the Moderna shot.

Vancouver Coastal Health confirmed that 12 young people mistakenly received doses of Moderna rather than the Pfizer vaccine, which is the only COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in those between 12 and 17 in Canada.

It says the people who administered the shots recognized their error and disclosed it to the clients and their families, and additional education and processes are now in place to help make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Henry says she expects the Moderna vaccine will soon be approved for minors, but that’s not an excuse for the errors.

Premier Scott Moe says he hopes to fully reopen Saskatchewan by July 11

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says he hopes to fully reopen the province by July 11.

Moe says most restrictions will be removed three weeks after 70 per cent of those aged 12 and older have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The province will also wait three weeks after the start of the second stage of its reopening plan, which is expected to happen on June 20.

Step three, which requires 70 per cent of those age 18 and older to receive their first dose, would see most restrictions in the province lifted.

The final step would also remove gathering size limits and indoor masking orders.

Sixty-two per cent of those aged 12 and older in the province have now received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

70 per cent of B.C.’s eligible adults have first shot of COVID-19 vaccine

British Columbia health officials say about 70 per cent of eligible adults in the province have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Officials say in a news release that they will be following the National Advisory Committee on Immunization guidelines on mixing and matching vaccines.

They say those who got a first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine can now receive either the same one, Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna for their second shot.

Officials say more information will be given later this week on second doses for those who received AstraZeneca for their first shot.

The province reported a new low for daily COVID-19 infection rates this year at 184 cases for a total of 144,473 infections since the pandemic started.

There have been no new deaths, and so far, 1,703 COVID-19-related fatalities have been recorded in the province.

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