TIMMINS -- As northern communities warm-up to Ontario's reopening process, families like the Bergerons continue to face challenges in coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rashell Bergeron's son Aiden has autism, which she said has her family feeling "really limited on what we can do and where we can go."

"He doesn't understand sometimes why there's limitations on shopping or wearing a mask or not touching things or not going up to a stranger within six feet," Bergeron said as Aiden and father Mitchell toss bread crumbs to ducks at Gillies Lake.

"We personally have been limiting all outings, just to avoid any type of challenging situation."

A recent survey commissioned by LG Electronics Canada showed that almost half of Canadians have similar trepidation about having gatherings at home, in terms of being able to maintain health rules like physical distancing.

Nicole Girard, a senior, specifically self-isolated for the first few months of Ontario's economic lockdown for that reason.

As regulations loosened, she's felt more comfortable venturing outside, albeit still cautious.

Girard said the worst part of this pandemic for her was being unable to visit her granddaughter.

"That was hard," Girard said fighting back tears.

"Now that I can see her anytime I want, it's amazing. She likes to play in the splash pad and the park. We try to distance ourselves from people still, but it's still hard because they're kids."

With the summer half over, Girard and Bergeron said it's shocking to realize that the world is already over five months into this crisis.

Looking ahead, the return of school in the fall brings mixed feelings for them.

Bergeron feels Aiden will benefit from getting back to in-person learning and the socialization that comes with it.

Girard worries about returning to the classroom resulting in more COCID-19 cases.

For now, they both hope the province can hold strong. Looking at how the world conquered the 'Spanish Flu' epidemic in 1918, Girard believes people are up to the task.

"If we can beat that, we can beat this."