VANCOUVER -- The May long weekend often means crowded beaches, backyard barbecues packed with guests, or that first camping trip of the season, but this year will look a little different.

Kids have been out of school for weeks, adults are out of work or working from home, and there are still many public health restrictions in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

While recent modelling has allowed for some of B.C. to reopen, many businesses and services will still be closed this Victoria Day.

Ahead of the long weekend, gathered a list of some of the attractions that are open, and the restrictions currently in place to keep visitors safe.

Essential services

Services deemed essential have not been closed during the pandemic, so grocery and liquor stores should still be open this weekend.

On the statutory holiday, they may opt to be closed or to close early, so you should check your local store before heading out.

Public transit will be running, though TransLink has some measures in place to keep people safe, including that once buses reach a certain capacity, they won't be stopping.

Additionally, some routes were reduced due to a dip in ridership, so you may want to check the schedule online first.

BC Ferries vessels will be running, but the service issued a plea earlier this week to the public to avoid travel if it's not necessary.

Some communities, including Haida Gwaii, have said they'll turn away non-residents arriving by ferry, and Tofino, Squamish and Whistler are among the B.C. towns that have asked people to stay away for now.

And this week, further statements were issued by communities including White Rock.


Some stores will be open around the time of the long weekend.

Retailer Aritzia, for example, is opening three Vancouver-area locations, and stores like Home Depot have remained open through the pandemic.

But measures will be in place at any stores allowed to open their doors to customers, including a reduced store capacity.

Be prepared to wait in line, use hand sanitizer, and keep your distance from other customers and staff.

Earlier this week, a store on West 4th Avenue told CTV News it only lets one customer in at a time. Anything that customer tries on, but doesn't buy, is put in a sealed bag and kept in a "quarantine area" for 24 hours.

Restaurants and specialty food stores

Some restaurants, bakeries and cafes have started to reopen, though all must have measures in place to keep customers safe.

Owners are implementing policies like three-customer limits, physically distanced lineups, and allowing for takeout only.

Many shops and cafes offer order pickups only, so you may need to call or order online before showing up.

Some fast food restaurants are offering limited options only, including drive-thru, delivery and curbside pickup.

And a reminder for those ordering food through a delivery service: Foodora is no longer operating in Canada as of this week.

Provincial parks

Most of B.C.'s provincial parks will be open on Thursday, ahead of the weekend, but they'll be available for day use only.

June 1 has been set as a tentative date for overnight camping.

And while many of the parks will be open, certain facilities will be closed. Some visitor centres, nature houses and concession buildings, playgrounds, hot springs, halls and picnic shelters will be open only on a case-by-case basis, so it's possible park-goers won't have access over the weekend.

However, beaches, trails, picnic areas, washrooms and boat launches will be available.

Among the parks that will remain fully closed as of May 14 are Birkenhead Lake, Coquihalla Canyon, Cypress, Garibaldi, Joffre Lakes, Mount Seymour, Porteau Cove and Shannon Falls.

There's a full list on the BC Parks website.

Some of the parks remain closed at this time due to their popularity, the province said last week. Concerns about crowding mean they'll stay closed for the foreseeable future.

Vancouver parks and beaches

Parks remain open in Vancouver, but with certain measures in place to keep the public safe.

Parking lots have been closed in Stanley Park, and traffic has been barred from the roads throughout to make room for cyclists. Cyclists are asked to refrain from biking along the seawall, so there's room for pedestrians to pass at a safe distance.

Other parks and beaches in the city will be open, but many parking lots will be taped off.

The Vancouver Park Board made the announcement earlier this week, saying the decision was a result of what it called a "decrease in public compliance" with physical distancing.

Additionally, those at the beach but not keeping their distance may be approached by park rangers. Nearly 2,000 warnings were issued last weekend alone to people not complying with the two-metre distancing guidelines.

The board also asks the public not to travel to visit a beach or park.

Chair Camil Dumont said Monday he's concerned with behaviour in the days following the announcement that some restrictions would be loosened, and said people should stay in their own neighbourhood if possible.

First closed back in March, off-leash dog parks have also been reopened in Vancouver, the park board said in a post on Twitter.

Vancouver golf courses, tennis courts

Three of Vancouver's public golf courses will be open by the weekend.

Fraserview and McCleery opened in April, and golfers can tee off at Langara as of Friday morning.

However, there are rules for those hoping to play. You must book a tee time online, and can only pay with debit or credit.

Stay in your car until it's your turn, and leave as soon as you're done, the park board said.

There are currently no club rentals, and while golf shops may be open, only two guests can be inside at once.

Frequently touched items including garbage can lids and ball washers have been removed for now.

The city is also in the process of opening its tennis and pickleball courts. Many were open last weekend, but all public courts should be available by Friday.

As with golf courses, there are rules in place, including that players limit their time to 30 minutes, and play only singles or doubles – with pairs being from the same household.

Equipment can't be shared, pickleball players need to bring their own nets, and leagues and lessons are banned.

Several other Metro Vancouver cities opted to reopen various sports fields recently, with guidelines similar to those in place in Vancouver.

Regional parks 

All of Metro Vancouver's regional parks remain open, with the exceptions of Barnston Island and Brae Island. Some parking lots are closed however, including those at Lynn Headwaters Regional Park.

Anyone using the parks must stay at least two metres apart from others, and are asked to choose parks in their own neighbourhoods.

Playgrounds, nature play areas and picnic shelters may be closed.

Services expected to reopen mid-May

Earlier this month, the province unveiled its plan to "restart" B.C.

Among the services that are expected to reopen sometime mid-month are health services including dentistry, physiotherapy, registered massage therapy and chiropractors.

Hair salons and barber shops may reopen soon, but will be required to have plans in place to keep clients safe.

Similar requirements will allow for the reopening of services including in-person counselling, restaurants and pubs, museums, art galleries, libraries and child care.

Here's more on the plan, including guidelines for hosting small gatherings of people at your home, which officials say can begin again as of the Victoria Day weekend.

Not open yet

While on some level, a sense of normalcy is expected to come back to B.C. in the next little while, many services aren't expected to resume for weeks, or even months.

In June, the province expects some overnight camping will be allowed, though reservations will be limited to allow space between groups.

Hotels and resorts are expected to start opening to the public again next month, and some kids may return to school.

The next month, it's possible movie theatres will open, and entertainment such as symphonies can resume. However, there will be no large concerts or festivals, and if those venues do open in July, they'll have to ensure some level of physical distancing.

Post-secondary and younger students are expected to be back in class in September.

So far, the timeline for nightclubs, bars, casinos, live sports, big concerts and conventions has not been provided.

It is also not yet known when public outdoor pools will be made available. This week, the Vancouver Park Board said it is waiting for a report on how lifeguards can protect themselves from COVID-19 during life-saving efforts before it hires a team and opens its five outdoor pools.

Beaches are also lifeguard-free for the time being in the city, for the same reason.