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

Young Abbotsford cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. families financially affected by pandemic eligible for grocery gift cards

Program open to struggling families in Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley communities

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Vancouver Island for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

COLUMN: We don’t need an election. But it’s 2020, so we’ll probably get one anyways.

There are only selfish reasons for the NDP to trigger an election this fall

Say ‘Hi’ to the mountains (and rain): The smoke is gone from the Fraser Valley, for now

Saturday’s Fraser Valley air quality forecast at ‘moderate risk,’ but morning showers leave skies clear

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

VIDEO: Shots fired outside Langley gas station that was scene of 2018 homicide

No reports of injuries in Saturday evening incident

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Air quality advisory ends for the Lower Mainland

It had been in effect since Sept. 8

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Most Read