COVID-19: Quebec premier hints at pandemic reopening plan

A server pours a beer at a bar and restaurant in Saint-Sauveur, Que., Saturday, December 12, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

As the warm summer months loom, Quebec’s premier is expected to lay out the details of a long-awaited plan to lift pandemic-induced restrictions Tuesday.

François Legault hinted on social media that it was a “big Sunday” preparing for that announcement in response to a reporter’s tweet about a news conference set for 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Earlier this month, Legault said he would like to have a roadmap similar to that in Saskatchewan, which unveiled a three-step plan to ease measures based on attaining certain COVID-19 vaccination levels.

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At the time, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe described the outline as “very cautious and measured,” saying it will allow people to know what it will take to get back to a sense of normality.

Legault, for his part, said he sent that initiative to his own health minister, saying he would like to propose something along those lines in Quebec.

The pending announcement comes as Quebec has opened immunization appointments to anyone over the age of 18. The goal is to offer a first dose to all adults who want one by June 24.

Last week, Legault said the province is headed in the right direction as the number of new cases and hospitalizations fall. He also pointed to vaccination ramping up, but said caution is still needed to keep the virus at bay.

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The premier has also said this summer looks more promising compared to the same period last year.

While Legault has remained tight-lipped on details, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said that she is “definitely looking forward” to a reopening plan.

“It’s something that I think everybody is excited about,” she told reporters Monday. “At the same time, it is so important to follow those public health rules and we’ve been really good at doing it here in Montreal.”

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Earlier this month, Plante said that outdoor dining spaces of bars and restaurants should be allowed to open by June. They have only been allowed to serve takeout or delivery since last October, when tightened restrictions forced dining rooms to close in Montreal.

She said that the city will respect whatever plan is unveiled. Plante also encouraged Montrealers to get vaccinated to keep the pandemic at bay.

“We don’t want to go through a fourth or fifth wave,” she said. “So the only way to get through this is by vaccination.

“It’s everybody’s responsibility.”

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Montreal’s first drive-thru vaccination clinic opens at Trudeau airport' COVID-19: Montreal’s first drive-thru vaccination clinic opens at Trudeau airport
COVID-19: Montreal’s first drive-thru vaccination clinic opens at Trudeau airport – May 17, 2021

With files from Global News’ Anne Leclair and The Canadian Press

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