Provincial government announces further relaxation to measures as cases plummet
The provincial government updated Quebecers on further relaxation to COVID-19 measures at a press conference held on Tuesday afternoon. As of Monday, Jun. 7 all regions of Quebec will turn to orange zones, resulting in the loosening of several health restrictions.
“When we look at the numbers it’s impressive, it’s going really well,” said Premier François Legault on the current epidemiological situation. “It’s very encouraging,” he added in an upbeat tone.
“Resilience and pride, as much for the Canadiens as for Quebecers,” quipped Premier Legault about the Monday night Habs win and the increasingly positive COVID-19 outlook.
Montreal and Laval will be able to open restaurants for indoor dining again, as long as social distancing measures and limited capacities are respected. Bars are not yet included in plan but will be allowed to open their patios on Jun. 11.
“A maximum 2 adults with their children under the age of 18 or occupants of the same home,” will be allowed to eat out at a restaurant reads the governments’ website.
High school students in secondary 3, 4 and 5 will also be permitted to return to in-person classes for the remainder of the school year. Nonetheless, graduation ceremonies and proms will not be permitted.
The maximum amount of people at an outdoor gathering will also increase from 8 to 12 people, given masks are worn and social distancing is respected. The same number will also apply for non-contact outdoor sports.
Limits in places of worship will increase from 25 to 100 people and gyms will be allowed to reopen their doors to the public.
Private indoor gatherings remain prohibited for the time being. “We have to stay very careful with indoor gatherings. We need to keep our distance and wear the mask until we have our two doses,” explained the premier.
Need to remain vigilant
Although numbers of new COVID-19 cases continue to drop with only 208 reported on Monday, Premier Legault said that all Quebecers had to remain vigilant and cautious.
He also warned that given the relaxation of measures and the high density of population in the city, the number of new cases in Montreal could increase in the coming weeks.
“We can expect that there will be an increase in cases in Montreal in the coming weeks. But we must understand that public health is still comfortable with this,” explained Premier Legault, adding that “there is room to maneuver and the vaccination continues to advance.”
Though health authorities are confident that they can handle a moderate increase, the government reiterated peoples’ responsibility to respect measures and get vaccinated to prevent another surge.
Need to vaccinate
The provincial government is still working on convincing more people aged 18 to 40 to get their first dose. Authorities maintain that it’s the provinces’ best shot at returning to a normal life.
So far, only 200,000 people are missing before that age group attains a vaccination rate of 75% said health minister Christian Dubé. That is the objective the government has set to attain collective immunity.
“I want to ask young people to get their first dose as soon as possible,” pleaded Premier Legault, adding that “the more we are with two doses of vaccine, the sooner we can restart our little parties.”
This would make way for a full reopening of Quebec in the fall, with allowances made for a return to in-person work and schooling, as well as the removal of the mask mandate.
Other regions of the province will also see a relaxation of measures next week. The MRCs in Chaudière-Appalaches, Estrie and Bas-Saint-Laurent that were in red zones will also be turning orange on Jun. 7.
Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Mauricie and Centre-du-Québec will turn yellow on Monday along with the MRCs of Mitis, Rimouski and Matane in eastern Bas-Saint-Laurent.
Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Côte-Nord and Nord-du-Québec will also be turning green as of next week, marking the most extensive relaxation measures in the province.