Quebec will lift more restrictions as it moves all regions to designated green or yellow zones starting next week amid a downturn in the number of new COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations.
Premier François Legault made the announcement Tuesday as sectors slowly reopen in the province. He credited the good news to citizens’ efforts to follow public health measures and the immunization campaign gaining steam.
“The situation continues to improve in Quebec and vaccination continues to go very well,” he told reporters. “Our reopening plan is working, and we can continue.”
Under the plan, Montreal and Laval will be downgraded from orange alert to yellow on the colour-coded pandemic alert scale as of June 14.
The yellow alert level means private indoor gatherings are allowed, but limited to a maximum of two households. Outdoor teams sports will also be permitted. Bars, which were already allowed to open their terrasses (or patios) at the end of this week, can also welcome customers indoors starting next Monday.
Other regions set to turn yellow include Capitale-Nationale, Montérégie, Lanaudière, the Eastern Townships, Outaouais and the Bas-Saint-Laurent.
The announcement means there will be no regions under red or orange alert in the province for the first time since the alert system was created last fall.
While the situation is improving, officials did say they are concerned about the Chaudière-Appalaches region. Legault warned the area could remain an orange zone if necessary.
“Cases are starting to drop,” Legault said. “We hope they will continue to fall. We will follow the situation for the rest of the week.”
The Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Abitibi-Témiscamingue, the Côte-Nord and Nord-du-Québec regions are designated green zones. In those areas, team sports can take place inside and indoor private gatherings are allowed but limited to three households.
Prom, graduation ceremonies also a go
With the end of the school year fast approaching, Legault also announced that Quebec will allow proms as of July 8. He says the majority of teenagers will have received a first vaccine dose by next month.
The premier noted that prom is important for many students and that he wants them to be able to have those memories too.
Those celebrations will be subjected to some restrictions, however. Proms must be held outside and a maximum of 250 people can attend.
But students will be allowed to dance with one another and ditch the masks for the one-time event, according to Legault.
Graduation ceremonies will also be permitted in Quebec and parents may attend but must respect physical distancing measures, he said.
— With files from The Canadian PressView link »