COVID-19: Quebec to drop capacity limits for stores, relax social distancing rules

A woman wears a face mask as she shops in a store in Montreal, Sunday, November 22, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press

Starting July 12, shoppers in Quebec might feel like their favourite stores are a little more crowded than usual amid evolving COVID-19 safety measures.

The province is relaxing social distancing rules from two metres to one metre for people from different households. The rule applies both indoors and out.

The two-metre rule, however, will remain in effect for activities such as singing and high-intensity exercise in gyms.

Capacity restrictions in retail stores are also being nixed but merchants will be responsible for managing traffic on-site to ensure shoppers can maintain a one-metre distance.

Face masks will continue to be mandatory in public spaces.

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For indoor and outdoor venues with fixed seating, an empty seat must separate people from different households.

During amateur sporting events where spectators remain at a fixed spot in stands, bleachers or seats, the maximum attendance is capped at 50 indoors and 100 outdoors.

Meanwhile, those who have been fully vaccinated are not required to social distance or wear a face covering at indoor gatherings in private residences. For those not fully vaccinated, wearing a mask continues to be recommended if a two-metre distance cannot be maintained.

To be considered adequately protected, a person must have received two doses of vaccine with the last dose administered more than seven days ago, or have had COVID-19 and received a dose of vaccine.

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The Health Ministry announced the new measures in a press release on Wednesday.

Officials cited favourable epidemiological conditions and wider vaccine coverage for allowing restrictions to be loosened even further.

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