Canada began to relax confinement and restrictions on economic activity on Monday, while it has overcome the barrier of 60,000 infections of COVID-19, with 3,842 deaths.
Five of the country’s 10 provinces, including the two most affected by the pandemic, Ontario and Quebec, allowed on Monday the reopening of some businesses that were not considered essential, as a step prior to the resumption of other activities in the coming weeks.
Despite this, the federal authorities, who have delegated the reopening policy to the provincial governments, showed their caution in fear of a rebound in the cases.
During his daily press conference, Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau maintained his recommendation that the public not take to the streets “unless absolutely necessary.”
“I know the weather is improving but we still need to be very careful and not just the older ones, but everyone,” said Trudeau.
Quebec, which accumulates 32,623 cases of COVID-19 and 2,280 deaths, authorized the opening as of Monday of shops with doors directly to the street, except in the city of Montreal, the largest city in the province.
And it is that in that town, where on Monday there were 758 new cases and 75 deaths, the authorities have had to bow to pressure and the Prime Minister of Quebec, François Legault, announced on Monday that the reopening of shops in Montreal has been postponed one week until May 18.
Experts note that transmission rates in the city are still too high and that there are two epidemic outbreaks in north and east Montreal.
While the construction and industrial manufacturing sectors will restart operations in Quebec on May 11; Elementary education schools in some areas of Quebec will also reopen on May 11, although attendance is not mandatory.
The planned reopening of the schools has also caused criticism among groups such as teacher unions.
During an interview on Quebec television, Trudeau, who is a teacher by profession, admitted yesterday that he did not know if he would send his children to school in Quebec.
“He would probably make the decision at the last minute,” added Trudeau.
In Ontario, with 17,923 COVID-19 cases and 1,300 deaths, 84 of them in the past 24 hours, businesses such as garden stores, car dealerships, and some construction sites returned to business today.
And in the province of Alberta, with 5,766 COVID-19 cases and 95 deaths, workers at one of North America’s largest meat processing plants protested the decision to resume activities.
The Cargill plant, which produces 36% of the beef production consumed in Canada, has had 935 cases of COVID-19 and is in fact the center of the largest epidemic outbreak in the entire country. In addition, one of his employees died after contracting the disease.
Most of the employees at the Cargill plant are immigrants or foreign temporary workers.