Here's what you need to know about Quebec's loosened COVID-19 restrictions

Feb 3 2021, 6:21 am

Quebec Premier François Legault has announced that several regions across the province will be loosening COVID-19 restrictions.

As of February 8, businesses, salons, libraries, and museums are slated to open everywhere across Quebec and university and CEGEP students will begin a “gradual” return to physical classes.

Legault said the COVID-19 situation has been “improving” over the past few weeks, which he said is “very encouraging.”

The premier says public health sees a decrease in cases and hospitalizations “almost on a daily basis” and thanked Quebecers for their efforts.

“Today we are arriving at the conclusion that yes, we can do a small or slight loosening of the lockdown,” he said.

As part of the new measures, Legault announced that six of Quebec’s regions will be downgraded from red to orange zones, also effective on February 8. The other eleven zones across the province will remain in red zones.

The regions that will downgrade orange zones are:

  • Gaspé-Îles-de-la-Madeleine
  • Bas-Saint-Laurent
  • Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean
  • Abitibi-Témiscamingue
  • Côte-Nord
  • Nord-du-Québec

“The battle is not yet over,” Legault said in French. “But we are heading in the right direction. We still have a lot of efforts to make in order to help our nursing staff and healthcare staff. They have been on the frontline for 11 months.”

Quebec’s Director of Public Health, Dr. Horacio Arruda, says “a lot goes in to reducing red zones to orange,” mentioning active COVID-19 cases, hospital availability, and population size.

Montreal, the epicentre of Quebec’s COVID-19 cases, will remain the red zone.

Here’s what measures have been lifted, and some that have stayed the same in the different zones across the province.

Orange Zones:

Measures that remain:

  • Indoor gatherings still forbidden
  • Work from home

New measures:

  • Curfew pushed back to 9:30 pm nightly
  • Businesses, museums, salons, libraries can reopen
  • Restaurants reopen (max two adults per table)
  • 25 people allowed in place of worship
  • Indoor sports permitted (two-metre physical distancing required)
  • Outdoor activities increased to eight people
  • Gyms and fitness centres can reopen (physical distancing and masks required)
  • Universities and CEGEPs can reopen to in-person classes
  • Cinemas and theatres reopen (as of February 26, physical distancing and masks required)

Red Zones:

Measures that remain:

  • Curfew from 8 pm to 5 am nightly
  • Indoor gatherings still forbidden
  • Work from home

New measures:

  • Businesses, museums, salons, libraries can reopen
  • Outdoor group activities can increase to four people
  • Universities and CEGEPs can reopen to in-person classes

Legault said Quebecers need to remain diligent in their efforts against COVID-19 and says that measures “have to be loosened gradually to give ourselves the opportunity to win this pandemic.”

As of Tuesday, Quebec has 264,526 COVID-19 cases across the province, 241,537 recoveries, 9,862 deaths, and 2,555,745 negative tests.

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