Quebec Announces reopening plans

By: Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Iori:wase
Quebec Premier Francois Legault announced his plan to gradually re-open the province in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, announcing his intention to allow outdoor dining in most regions of the province and outlining his government’s plan to remove restrictions slowly but surely over the next month.
“This is a big day. A big step,” he said, barely hiding his excitement at the announcement, made at Tuesday afternoon’s press conference in Quebec City. In addition to opening restaurant terrasses, as of May 28, Quebecers will be allowed private gatherings of up to eight people outdoors; to once more travel between regions of Quebec and finally, crowds of up to 2,500 will be allowed in a large theatre or arena. In addition, the 9:30 p.m. curfew will no longer be in place for most of the province.
Just a few days after that on May 31, Legault added, most of the province will be designated an orange zone – with the exception of areas such as the Bas Saint-Laurent region — allowing gyms to re-open, youth sports to be played in groups of up to 25 and for all students in the province to go back to school full time. For the last five months, Grade 9, 10 and 11 students have alternated days going to school and learning online.
On June 11, bars will be able to open terraces for outdoor drinking. Outdoor sports and recreation activities will also be allowed, with a cap of 25 people.
By June 14, Legault said most regions will be at the yellow level, which means people from two different households can gather indoors and bars can reopen.
On June 25, fully vaccinated people will be able to assemble indoors without masks or social distancing. Outdoor festivals will also be allowed and summer camps can open.
On June 28, most regions will switch to green zones. Indoor gatherings will be permitted up to a maximum of 10 people from three residences, and all indoor team sports will be permitted.
Any re-opening had been made possible by the rapid rate at which Quebecers have been lining up to get themselves vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. Legault had set June 24 as the goal date to have 75 per cent of Quebec adults receive a first dose of the vaccine and 20 per cent to have gotten their second dose. The premier hinted we may hit that goal far earlier than that.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am of Quebecers,” Legault said. “Today we see that there is hope.”