Provincial government unveils its deconfinement plan
The Legault government unveiled its COVID-19 deconfinement plan on Tuesday during its regular press conference. The plan will take place in a tiered fashion, slowly opening different sectors of society and concentrating on outdoor activities.
The government said they wanted to reopen gradually and make sure that the ground won against COVID-19 in the past months is not lost.
The reopening will take place over the next 6 weeks with 2 weeks intervals between progressive relaxation of measures. The provincial government hopes to see a complete return to normal by late August.
May 28: Curfew and restaurant patios
Starting May 28, the 9:30 PM curfew will be lifted across Quebec for all zones including Montreal. Residents will be able to be outside of their homes at night for the first time in over 5 months.
People will also be permitted to gather outdoors, in back yards or parks, given they respect the maximum of 8 people from different residences and that they maintain physical distancing.
This will be in addition to the reopening of restaurant patios across the province, allowing up to two people from two separate residences, along with their accompanying children who are minors, to go out for an outdoor meal.
Quebecers will also be allowed to travel between regions while cultural and sports venues will be allowed to host up to 2,500 spectators, given they respect certain health guidelines. Respecting certain guidelines, gyms will also be reopened as Montreal will change to an orange zone.
June 11: Indoor dining and bars
Two weeks later on Jun. 11, bars across the province will be allowed to reopen patio service and let people have a drink outside.
Two people from up to two separate households will be able to meet on a bar patio for a drink, as well as all residents of the same address.
That week will also mark the return of group sports. In Montreal, up to 25 people will be allowed to participate in outdoor recreational activities or sports, given they are supervised and without contact.
June 25: Indoor gatherings between vaccinated people
Jun. 25 marks the third step of deconfinement measures. Outdoor events and activities such as concerts and festivals will be allowed under certain conditions. These will be announced shortly.
Measures around the use of masks and physical distancing among fully vaccinated people for indoor gatherings will also be relaxed. This means people who have received 2 doses of a vaccine will be able to gather indoors without certain restrictions.
Outdoor stadiums will also see a relaxation of measures and will continue to receive up to 2500 spectators. Sleepaway summer camps will also reopen, allowing children to partake in stay-away summer activities.
Rest of the summer
The government hopes that these measures will allow for newfound liberties and a more normal summer, all while maintaining the ground gained against COVID-19 over the past months.
Health authorities hope that by August, 75% of Quebecers will have gotten both doses of the vaccine. The province would therefore reach a sufficient level of collective immunity and warrant further relaxation of measures. 75% of Quebecers have already gotten the first dose or have made an appointment.
Once this objective is achieved, primary and secondary schools will progressively reopen while CEGEP and university students will be able to return to in-person learning.
Office workers will also be able to return to in-person work and mask restrictions and physical distancing measures will be progressively lifted. Leisure and cultural activities will also be allowed and the colour systems between regions will be halted.
There is hope
The government sees vaccination as the ultimate way out of the crisis and the key to a return to normal life. “It’s a big day today – we’re taking a big step,” said Premier François Legault on Tuesday.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am of Quebecers,” added the premier, saying that he was very happy with the uptake vaccines were having, especially among young people.
The government was hopeful that Quebecers could have a normal summer. “Vacciné, ça rime avec été et ça rime aussi avec petit party” Legault jokingly quipped.
“Today we see that there is hope,” said the Premier, “we can start to see each other again.”