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

Petition seeks to clean up Okanagan forests ‘carpeted’ with shotgun shells

Penticton man says making shot-gun shells refundable would create cleaner forests

Eco-friendly bus service seeks to add Kelowna to Osoyoos route

Bus would stop in Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland, Summerland, Penticton, Kaledan, Oliver, Osoyoos

Kelowna trial date set for Penticton quadruple-homicide

John Brittain’s jury trial will commence on Oct 5, 2020 in Kelowna

Small business owner makes big donation to Penticton Food Bank

Across the country, more people are becoming reliant on food bank’s amid COVID-19

COLUMN: The gentle art of the disagreement

Differing opinions can work as a strength

Video: Okanagan mayors encourage water conservation this summer

Water conservation this summer could be more important than ever, experts say

B.C. First Nation adopts Dr. Bonnie Henry, names her ‘one who is calm among us’

Gitxsan adopt the provincial health officer in a May 22 ceremony

Enderby’s drive-in not safe from top doc’s 50-car limit

Starlight Drive-In opened with reduced capacity, COVID-19 safety measures in place

Parking lot patios a go in Vernon

Council votes in favour of allowing businesses to expand commercial space into on-street parking spots

Shuswap cabin owner disputes request to stay home in Alberta

Alberta resident redrafts response to CSRD request to stay home

Kelowna’s main drag will be closed to vehicles this summer

Kelowna’s Bernard Avenue will be a pedestrian-only roadway from June 29 through the Labour Day long weekend

Vernon gym knocked out by COVID-19

9Round Fitness in Vernon Square Mall owners announce permanent closure of facility

Snapshot: Distanced dancing in Salmon Arm

Friends use picnic shelter at Blackburn Park for safe practice

Kelowna’s Homebase Baseball Tournament cancelled

A live auction will still take place to raise funds for Joeanna’s House

Most Read