Although the statistics are encouraging, Québec Premier François Legault, reiterated his call for caution against COVID-19 on Tuesday, and announced that certain measures will remain in place at least until March 8.
The counter the risks surrounding the school March Break week, the government is maintaining the curfew at 8 p.m. in the red zones and at 9:30 p.m. in the orange zones. Gatherings are also prohibited, and interregional travel is strongly discouraged throughout Québec.
The situation remains fragile, particularly due to the emergence of new variants and the limited availability of vaccine doses. Compliance with sanitary measures remains crucial to avoid a further increase in the spread of COVID-19.
“The variants are much more contagious than the virus that is currently circulating. The question of the British variant is not whether it will become dominant in Québec, but rather when it will gain the upper hand. We are therefore in a race against time and the prevalence of this variant must be delayed as long as possible,” said Legault.
Reductions in red zones
In order to allow families to enjoy the March Break safely, the Premier announced certain relaxations of rules that will be in effect on Friday, February 26 in designated red zones.
Cinémas will again be able to welcome customers, in compliance with the measures in force:
Mandatory wearing of masks, two metre physical distancing, and a maximum of 250 people per room, even in very large rooms. Particular attention should be paid to ensure that distance is also respected in common areas and at the various entrances and exits of these establishments. There will be no food sales. No gathering should be tolerated before, during or after the screenings.
Sports and recreational activities will be permitted outdoors in public places for people from the same residence or for a maximum of 8 people from different residences.
A person responsible for supervision can be added to provide supervision or announcing.
Pools and arenas will have the option of reopening, but partially. The activities that will be allowed there will be limited to sport swimming, and individual or duo training, with an instructor.
Indoor gatherings still prohibited.
“If you are caught in a private gathering with people who are not from the same address, you are liable to a fine,” Legault warned.
The Premier added that the police will conduct special operations in places usually visited by Quebecers during the spring break, such as popular resorts where there are many cabins. Even if the rental of cabins remains permitted, it is strictly forbidden for people from two different addresses to gather there.
Call for flexibility from employers for spring break
With the spring break coming up, the Premier also made an important appeal to employers. They are encouraged to show flexibility and flexibility in accommodating employees who would have to take time off to care for their children.
“We’re only talking about five days, from March 1 to 5. If employees need time off to babysit their young children, I ask employers to be understanding,” Legault said.
He said it is strongly recommended to avoid having grandparents look after children, because they are more likely to develop severe cases of COVID-19, particularly if they are aged 65 or over.
Update of alert levels
It was also announced that the Outaouais region will move to the orange level on February 22. This is the only region to change the alert level, until at least March 8.