Going for an evening walk or out for shopping after dinner will now be possible for more Québec residents.

On Tuesday, Premier François Legault, announced that due to the switch to daylight saving time and the stable COVID-19 epidemiological situation, effective Wednesday, March 17, the curfew in the regions located in the red zone will now be in effect from 9:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. instead of 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. nightly.

The Laurentides region, which includes Argenteuil, is part of a red zone.

In regions at the orange alert level, which include Gatineau and the Outaouais region, the curfew hours remain the same, from 9:30 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Legault announced on Tuesday that in regions at the orange level, secondary 3, 4 and 5 students will be able to resume full-time attendance classes as of March 22.

“All the young people in the orange zone will be able to go to school every day. This is excellent news for our children,” he said.

Also, as of March 26, theaters in the red tier sectors will be able to open under the same conditions as those in effect for theaters located in the red zone.

Vaccination progresses, but caution is still required

According to Legault, vaccination is progressing well in Québec. It is expected that by the end of April, every resident aged 65 years of age and more will be vaccinated. Since 80 per cent of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 are 65 years of age and over, reaching this threshold will have a significant impact on hospital capacity.

“I also want to add that the three vaccines we use are all effective, all safe,” said Legault, urging people to be vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is available for their age group.

In addition, the government plans that all Quebecers who want to be vaccinated will be able to obtain a first dose before St-Jean-Baptiste day, on June 24.

“That means we’re going to have a great summer! It is encouraging, but it is conditional on us being careful for a few more weeks,” Legault said.

It takes three to four weeks for the vaccine to be fully effective after being administered.

The government also announced a change to its vaccination strategy. People with a physical disability, intellectual disability, and who are on the autism spectrum disorder and living in a residential care facility may be vaccinated as a priority. The same goes for people with severe disabilities who live at home.

Although there does not seem to be a marked increase in cases across Québec associated with the recent spring school break, officials are still warning people to be cautious about COVID-19 variants.  The variants are more transmissible and potentially more virulent.