Quebec will allow gyms and other indoor sports venues to reopen on June 22 after they were forced to close due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Isabelle Charest, the province’s junior education minister, unveiled the next phase of the government’s recovery plan on Wednesday. This includes reopening private and public beaches, as well as indoor arenas and pools.
Quebec will also permit games for team sports, such as soccer and basketball, to resume next week. Combat sports remain off limits.
“We have realized, with confinement, how much physical activity has an impact on the physical and mental well-being of the population and how much we missed it,” said Charest. “And now that we have started to resume activities, we have the impression that more and more people are going out and moving.”
There will be measures in place to limit the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. Charest said physical distancing must be respected, but accidental contact during games is allowed.
“This authorization is obviously good news, but we can’t take anything for granted,” she said. “Prudence and respect for the rules must be part of our new way of playing sports in the context of this pandemic.”
The move comes as the province continues to allow activities and businesses to gradually resume after three months of restrictions.
Quebec is the province hit hardest by the health crisis, but the number of new cases and hospitalizations is beginning to drop.
As of Wednesday, the province saw another 29 deaths attributed to COVID-19, for a total of 5,298. Nine of those deaths occurred in the past 24 hours, while the other 20 occurred before June 9.
The province also reported 117 new cases, for a total of 54,263. The number of hospitalizations also dropped by 28 for a total of 690.
Dr. Horacio Arruda, the province’s director of public health, said authorities are confident in their pace of reopening society, given that the COVID-19 infection indicators continue to trend positively.
“It has gone down everywhere,” said Arruda.
— With files from the Canadian PressView link »