A much anticipated new phase in the COVID-19 pandemic starts today with several provinces beginning the process of slowly loosening some of their lockdown restrictions.

Quebec, which accounts for more than half of Canada’s coronavirus cases, including deaths from the illness, is reopening retail stores outside Montreal while those in the greater Montreal area are to reopen on May 11.

Ontario, the other epicentre for the virus, is allowing a small list of mostly seasonal businesses to reopen, including garden centres with curbside pick-ups, lawn care and landscaping companies, and automatic car washes.

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Manitoba’s museums, libraries and retail businesses — including restaurant patios — can re-open today, though at only half capacity. The province, along with Saskatchewan and Alberta, are also letting non-essential medical activities, such as dentistry and physiotherapy to resume.

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British Columbia has yet to release its reopening plan,

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