Quebec has announced a fresh wave of restrictions, closures and a nightly curfew to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Premier François Legault said the latest set of measures, which will be in effect from Jan. 9 to Feb. 8, are necessary as cases, deaths and hospitalizations climb.
“When we say we are giving an electroshock it’s really for four weeks, a period that should make a difference,” he said Wednesday.
Here’s your guide to the latest set of rules aimed at breaking the second novel coronavirus wave.
How does curfew work exactly?
A nightly curfew will be in effect starting Saturday across the province, with the exception of Northern Quebec.
People will be required to stay home or on their property from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. every night until Feb. 8. The fines for breaking curfew range from $1,000 to $6,000.
There are some exceptions to the rule. Quebecers are able to leave their residence for emergency medical care, work, running out for essential items and “humanitarian reasons.” A full list of exceptions is provided on the government’s website.
Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault says those people will have to be able to prove to police as to why they are out. Workers, for example, should have an attestation from their employer.
As part of the exceptions, people can also walk their dogs within a one-kilometre radius outside of their homes.
During curfew, all retail and grocery stores (including dépanneurs) will be required to close no later than 7:30 p.m. every night.
Pharmacies and gas stations (and dépanneurs attached to them) maintain their current schedules but can only sell essential products such as medications, gas and food.
Montreal public transit authorities say the curfew will not affect service for buses, metros and trains.
Are schools reopening and are there any new measures for students?
Elementary and preschools schools will reopen as planned on Jan. 11. Under the new rules, students in Grades 5 and 6 must wear masks in classrooms.
High schools will remain physically shuttered for an additional week. Students will return to the classroom on Jan. 18 and those in Grades 9, 10 and 11 will continue coming in every second day.
All high school students will be given two disposable masks.
High school and adult education students must continue wearing masks as required.
What about CEGEPS and universities?
Remote learning is prioritized and will continue as planned. Internships and laboratories are allowed.
Are gatherings and socializing banned?
Yes. The province prohibits all gatherings — both indoor and outdoor — of individuals from different households.
Under the plan, Quebecers cannot have visitors from another address over to their home unless it’s for planned work. Informal caregivers and individuals offering support or services are also allowed.
Those who live alone may, however, visit one other person who lives alone. It has to be the same person.
Are skiing and walking allowed? What about indoor sports?
Quebec says sports and recreational activities “must from now on be limited to the family bubble.”
Walking and skiing are allowed if it doesn’t occur in groups and takes place before curfew. That means ski hills can stay open.
Starting Jan. 9, indoor sports are banned. There are a few exceptions, though, for physical education classes in schools, athletes’ training, and professional sports that have been given the green light by public health.
Are businesses closed? What about stores, bars, restaurants and gyms?
All businesses deemed non-essential by the provincial government remain closed until Feb. 8. This includes gyms, bars, theatres and museums among other businesses.
For restaurants, takeout and delivery is permitted. Dining rooms are still off-limits.
Retail stores are still closed, but curbside pickup will be allowed.
Hairdressers, barbers and spas, which were shut down on Dec. 25 as part of the holiday lockdown, also stay closed.
Are manufacturers and construction allowed to stay open?
The province has given the green light to allow manufacturing and construction to continue — but “reduced to a minimum to complete current commitments.”
“Teleworking is mandatory when possible and shifts must be adjusted to limit the staff present at any time on production and construction sites,” the government says.
Are offices open?
Quebec is still requiring work from home for office workers until Feb. 8. “except for workers whose public- or private-sector employers deem their presence necessary to pursue the organization’s activities.”
— with files from Global News’ Annabelle Olivier and The Canadian PressView link »