Canada is not yet out of the woods but Ottawa is working with provinces and territories to develop guidelines on how to reopen the Canadian economy safely, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.
Some regions of the country have been hit harder during the pandemic, and getting back to normal will not happen overnight or be as simple as flipping a switch, he said, adding the response will need to be adapted to the realities and challenges of each province and territory.
“It will require a lot of co-ordination at the national level and our government will be there to do that work,” Mr. Trudeau said.
“Over the coming weeks, you will hear more talk about reopening, but you need to know we are not out of the woods.”
The Prime Minister added it is critical that everyone continues to follow local public health advice as we move forward and that instructions currently remain the same for all Canadians.
“No matter where you live, you should be staying home, as much as you possibly can,” he said.
“You should be washing your hands regularly and you should always keep a safe distance of two meters from others. That is the only way for us to make it through together.”
In recent days, some provincial governments have released plans to reopen the economy. On Friday, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs announced his province’s recovery plan and said there has been some cause for optimism in recent days due to no new cases.
Measures that took effect Friday include what the province is calling “two-household bubbles," where families may decide to spend time with one other family.
The province also announced the reopening of golf courses and driving ranges if all physical distancing measures are in place and gave the green light for recreational fishing, parks and beaches, carpooling, postsecondary education and outdoor religious services where parishioners stay two metres apart.
In Saskatchewan, Premier Scott Moe released a five-phase plan this week to reopen his province and in Quebec Premier François Legault spoke of the need to restart economic activity and get children to school.
Meanwhile, Canada’s business community is calling for a national plan.
Goldy Hyder, the president and CEO of the Business Council of Canada, said on Friday that his membership feels the need for improved co-ordination.
“We need to aspire and try to do better to make it easier for a reopening to happen while maximizing the confidence Canadians have in the safety of these environments,” he said in an interview.
“The way to do that is to develop a single song sheet and let the provinces have different tunes if you need to."
Mr. Trudeau said on Friday that work with the provinces and territories will include ensuring proper levels of testing, contact tracing and workplace safety.
“We are grounding ourselves in the principles that’ll ensure that we don’t allow for further spread or a new spike of COVID-19.”
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