Quebec is giving the green light to more sports and fitness activities next month as the province gradually loosens public health restrictions aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19.
Isabelle Charest, the minister responsible for sports, announced details Thursday for the month of June — but most of the measures vary depending on the zone within the province’s pandemic colour-coded scale.
“We are slowly taking our favourite activities back up,” she told reporters.
Under the plan, groups of up to 25 people will be able to take part in outdoor sports in regions that are designated yellow zones starting June 11. Sports with some physical contact — including soccer, baseball and volleyball — will be allowed in those areas.
Charest says the majority of regions in Quebec are expected to be downgraded to yellow by the end of next month. But Montreal and Laval, for example, are staying red for at least another two weeks.
As of June 25, all regions — regardless of their colour-coded zone — will be allowed to have organized tournaments and competitions which must be held outside. Spectators will also be permitted but people must respect the measures in place for outdoor public gatherings.
Outdoor activities and sports in green zones, the lowest alert level of the province’s alert system, will be able to accommodate groups of up to 50 people.
“We’re coming back to a certain normalcy,” Charest said, adding Quebecers’ efforts to stem the tide of the virus are bearing fruit.
When it comes to indoor sports and fitness activities, gyms are still only allowed to reopen in regions that aren’t designated red zones as previously announced.
In yellow zones, a group of maximum 12 people can do an indoor sport together.
But games, competitions and tournaments can only take place indoors when a region is downgraded to the green alert level.
Charest stressed that the latest plan to reopen sports can only go forth “if and only if” the epidemiological situation continues to improve in the province.
Dr. Érik Litvak with Quebec’s public health department said that the COVID-19 vaccine is key to lifting more restrictions in sports and other recreational activities in the coming months.
— With files from The Canadian Press