Following lengthy discussions with public health experts, Québec Premier François Legault announced on November 19 that if the current epidemiological situation with COVID-19 continues by mid-December, private gatherings will be authorized during the holiday season, from Thursday December 24 to Sunday December 27 inclusive, to allow Quebecers to spend special moments with their loved ones.
The objective is to relax the rules for the holiday season, but without relaunching transmission and contagion. To make it possible, Legault offered Quebecers what he described as a moral contract, with four parts:
- Maintain the current situation until the holidays, and beyond.
- Participate in voluntary confinement, one week before and one week after the authorized period for private gatherings.
- Be limited to gatherings of a maximum of ten people over a period of four days, from December 24 to 27.
- Above all, continue to protect each other, especially older people.
Activities such as office parties are not authorized.
Educational and school environments
The Premier was accompanied by Minister of Education, Jean-François Roberge during Thursday’s announcement. Legault announced that primary schools will be closed from December 17 to January 3 inclusive, for a return to class on January 4, 2021. Elementary school students will continue their distance learning between December 17 and the end of classes.
Secondary schools will be closed from December 17 to January 10 inclusive. Students will follow distance education according to the established school calendar.
Educational childcare services will remain open. School daycare services will only welcome children of health, social services and priority services personnel.
Schools for children with special service needs will remain open.
Telework recommended for companies and closures of certain sectors until January 11
Premier Legault also called on companies to maximize teleworking for their staff and reduce their activities, where possible. The government of Québec intends to put all its employees who can do so on telework beginning December 17.
In addition, Legault announced that in the red zones, restaurants, performance halls and gyms will remain closed until January 11. All assistance programs for businesses closed because of the sanitary measures in place in the red zones will continue until that date. The situation will be reassessed by then.