Two women have drinks on the patio at an Earls restaurant, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, May 19, 2020. British Columbia began phase two of the reopening of its economy Tuesday, allowing certain businesses that were ordered closed due to COVID-19 to open their doors to customers if new health and safety regulations are followed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Regions within each province should reopen on their own timelines, poll suggests

Just 18 per cent said reopening measures should apply to all of Canada at once

As provinces take their cautious first steps to allow people back into local businesses, a new poll suggests most Canadians don’t think province-wide measures are the best way to reopen the economy.

The latest poll on the COVID-19 pandemic by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies suggests only 35 per cent of people thought restrictions should be loosened for entire provinces.

In contrast, 47 per cent thought those decisions should apply to specific regions within each province. Just 18 per cent said reopening measures should apply to all of Canada at once.

Still, just over half of those polled said they trust provinces to make the call about what businesses should reopen and when, whereas about one-third said that should be up to Ottawa and 14 per cent said local governments should decide.

READ MORE: Only two new COVID-19 cases in B.C., one in care home

That is essentially what happened in Quebec, where the provincial government delayed the planned reopening of schools, daycares and businesses in the Greater Montreal area for one week because of the particularly high COVID-19 infection rate in the area and a shortage of health-care workers.

The proportion of people who said they would like decisions to be made region by region were highest in that province at 73 per cent, followed by Alberta at 52 per cent.

“It’s as if Canadians are saying we need to be nimble in terms of how we make decisions,” said Leger vice-president Christian Bourque.

He said people recognize the situation in Edmonton is not the same as in Calgary, and the situation in Toronto is different than what’s happening in Northern Ontario.

Albertans and Ontarians were slightly less likely to put their trust in the provincial government to make decisions about how local economies should reopen, at 46 per cent compared with the 55 per cent for Canadians overall.

Those in Alberta were more likely than the rest of the country to want their local governments making those calls, at 24 per cent compared to 14 per cent of Canadians overall. Ontarians were more likely to favour the feds, at 39 per cent compared to the national total of 31 per cent.

The pollsters surveyed 1,513 Canadians recruited from an online panel between May 15 and May 17.

Since polls created from Internet panels are not random samples, however, no margin of error can be associated with the results.

As for how comfortable Canadians are with the current speed at which provinces and territories are lifting public health restrictions, 60 per cent said they should keep doing what they’re doing, while 27 per cent would like to see them pull on the reins and 13 per cent want them to move faster.

READ MORE: Feds expand criteria for emergency loans to include family businesses, contractors

While people begin to venture into public spaces more often over the coming weeks, masks may be a more common sight, as 67 per cent of respondents said they’ve taken to covering their face a means of protecting against the virus.

About half of respondents across the country said they wear a mask at the grocery store and on public transit, and 42 per cent wear one to the pharmacy.

Only about ten per cent said they would don a mask to take a walk.

But Bourque said they still might not be getting the message about why masks are actually beneficial.

Of those surveyed, including those who don’t wear masks, 43 per cent said they wear a mask to protect themselves and others against the virus, while in truth non-medical masks provide little protection to the wearer.

Rather, they’re intended to prevent the wearer from passing the virus to others.

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CanadaCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Rossland asks motorists to be mindful of four bears roaming around Trail hill

The bears have been seen multiple times along the highway this month

Young farmers find a home through land-matching program

Young Agrarians links would-be farmers with landowners who have land to spare

Morning start: A history of the Arrow Lakes

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Wednesday, May 27

Construction culture training goes virtual during COVID-19

BCCA’s Builders Code expands with Crew App and online training

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Restorative pole project underway in Edgewood

The pole was made almost 50 years ago to pay respect to local First Nations

Risk of COVID-19 low in schools, Interior Health states

Medical Health Officer reassures parents as some children and staff head back to class June 1

B.C. drive-in theatre shuts down to await appeal of car limits, concession rules

Business owner Jay Daulat voluntarily closed down the theatre awaiting a health ministry decision

Most Read