After four weeks of the entire southern part of the province under the same restrictions, Québec’s colour-coded COVID-19 regional alert system will be returning on February 8.
Premier François Legault, Minister of Health and Social Services Christian Dubé, and Director of Public Health, Dr. Horacio Arruda, made the announcement on Tuesday evening.
Although the numbers of new cases and hospitalizations have fallen, caution is still required as vaccination is delayed due to lack of doses and cases of new variants appearing in Canada.
Return of alert levels
The only regions that will switch to the orange zone from February 8 are:
Gaspésie and Îles-de-la-Madeleine
All the other regions of Quebec will be at the red level.
Legault was firm in saying that no further easing measures, or any changes to regional alert levels will be made before February 22.
“We all have to be extremely careful. Last fall, there were people who thought their region was untouchable, but several regions were hit. The virus is vicious, and it doesn’t take much for it to start again. If we want other regions to go orange, and if we do not want regions to go red, we must respect all the rules, all the time” said the Premier, urging Quebeckers to continue to respect the sanitary measures and instructions.
Adjustments made in red and orange areas
For a minimum additional period of two weeks, from February 8 to 21 inclusively, the following measures will remain in effect:
In the red zone, the curfew will be in effect from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. In the orange zone, the curfew will be in effect from 9:30 p.m. to 5 a.m.
- Gatherings in private homes and on private land prohibited
- Group activities organized in a public place prohibited, except for funerals for a maximum of 25 people in attendance
- Closure of bars
- Working from home compulsory for all
- Manufacturing and construction sectors; reduction of activities
- Maintenance of measures in primary and secondary schools
However, reductions will be made to certain measures, in order to promote a gradual resumption of economic activity and social life, still in a strictly defined and supervised context:
- Reopening of non-priority businesses, including personal care and beauty shops
- Reopening of shopping centers, with adequate supervision of common areas to avoid any gathering and loitering
- Reopening of libraries, with mask wearing and compliance with health measures
- Reopening of museums, with wearing of masks and compliance with sanitary measures
- Revision of the attendance limit in places of worship to 25 people in the orange zone, and 10 people in the red zone
- Resumption of outdoor activities bringing together a group of four people maximum in the red zone and eight people maximum in the orange zone.
In the orange zone only, some additional adjustments will be made:
- Reopening of restaurants, welcoming a maximum of two adults per table. Adults can be accompanied by their children. With the exception of fast food, reservations will be required. Restaurants will have to keep a register of their customers and customers will have to show proof of residence in the region where the restaurant is located.
- Reopening of cinemas and theatres with assigned seats, which will be able to accommodate customers wearing a mask, and respecting health measures. These reopenings will come into effect on February 26.
- Reopening of gyms for individual training, with capacity restrictions. Group activities will however be prohibited.
- Reopening of dining rooms in residences for the elderly.
The updated CNESST workplace safety commission guides on health measures in force in the various sectors concerned will be posted on Québec.ca/coronavirus by February 8.
Post secondary education campuses
Students will be able to partially return to CÉGEP and university campuses after February 8. The rules will not be the same in the red zone as in the orange zone. Details of these new measures will be announced in the coming days.