Amid a surge of COVID-19 cases, Quebec Premier François Legault has announced tighter restrictions across the province, including an 8 pm nightly curfew — a first in Canada surrounding the pandemic.
The curfew goes into effect on Saturday, January 9, and will last until Monday, February 8.
Quebecers who break the 8 pm to 5 am curfew “without reason” could face fines ranging from $1,000 to $6,000, according to Legault.
The premier said the curfew was initiated because too many virus cases are transmitting “in people’s homes” and says the curfew is aimed to “reduce the number of visits between people.” Legault says the province’s health-care network is at risk of being overwhelmed and the curfew is a “last resort.”
“Apart from going to work, people will not be able to be outside of their homes,” said Legault in French from Quebec City. “Grocery stores and depanneurs are to be closed at 7:30 pm nightly to ensure employees and customers have enough time to get home.”
The premier says exceptions will be made for depanneurs that double as gas stations and pharmacies, both of which will be able to stay open past 8 pm.
On est dans une course contre la montre. En ce moment, le virus va plus vite que nous et pour le ralentir, on a besoin d’un traitement choc. Suivez notre point de presse en direct: https://t.co/Omj55K34o3
— François Legault (@francoislegault) January 6, 2021
As Quebec enters unchartered territory in terms of public health and curfews, here is everything you need to know before Saturday’s new restrictions come into effect.
When will schools reopen?
Elementary schools will reopen as planned on January 11. High school students will be returning as of January 18. Both will continue to learn remotely until then.
All elementary and high school students will be required to wear face masks in hallways and students in Grade 5 and 6 will now be mandated to wear face masks in classrooms.
High school students will be given two government-issued disposal masks per day.
Are daycares staying open?
Daycares will remain open. Some after-school daycare services could be closed down if public health officials declare an outbreak.
Which businesses are allowed to stay open?
Health services (dentists, optometrists) can remain open, but personal care (spas, hair salons) must close.
Quebec liquor stores (SAQs) and cannabis shops (SQDCs) will remain open.
Non-essential businesses including restaurants, gyms, venues, movie theatres, and museums, will remain closed until at least February 8. (Restaurants can offer take-out before 8 pm).
No houses of religion can be open with the exception of funerals.
Manufacturing sectors can remain open.
Can we gather outside?
Quebecers aren’t permitted to gather with anyone outside their ‘household bubble.’ Police will continue to issue fines to people who disobey the gathering laws.
Can I still walk my dog after 8 pm?
Pet owners can walk their animals after 8 pm, assuming they remain within one kilometre of their home.
Can I have online items shipped to my house?
Online shopping is still allowed. Non-essential businesses are allowed to offer curbside pickup in order to promote local sales and physical distancing.
Can I leave for an emergency past curfew?
Quebecers requiring emergency medical attention (or work-related emergencies) are allowed to break curfew without getting fined. Police may ask for proof.
What time do grocery stores and depanneurs close?
Grocery stores and depanneurs across the province are required to close by 7:30 pm, giving employees and customers enough time to get home.
All stores (gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores, and depanneurs) are still only allowed to sell essential products.
Can I do outdoor daytime activities?
Outdoor activities are allowed during the day (skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, snowboarding) but only with members of the same household before the 8 pm curfew.