The Quebec government announced a plan today to lift most COVID-19 restrictions by March 14, with the exception of masking and proof-of-vaccination requirements.
Starting Feb. 12, several public health measures will be lifted, including for indoor private home gatherings and restaurant capacity limits.
“We will need to learn to live with the virus. There may be a sixth wave eventually, but we will have to live with COVID,” Quebec Premier Francois Legault said in a press conference on Feb. 8.
Starting Feb. 12, all limits on private indoor gatherings will be lifted. Ten people or a group of people from three different households will also be allowed to sit at the same table in restaurants.
By Feb. 21, all businesses will be allowed to open at 100 percent capacity, though theatres, sports, and entertainment venues will have to maintain a 50 percent capacity until Feb. 28.
Places of worship and showrooms can also open at full capacity on Feb. 28, with the exception of the Bell Centre—home of the Montreal Canadiens—which will fully reopen on March 14.
Bars and casinos will reopen at half capacity as of Feb. 28, while bars can allow dancing at full capacity levels by mid-March.
The premier said the province is not ready to lift the mask mandate and the vaccine passport program, both of which will remain in place until at least March 14.
He said a decrease in COVID-related hospitalizations over the past three weeks was one of the key factors leading to the province’s decision to relax some of the pandemic measures.
On Feb. 8, Quebec reported 2,380 hospitalizations, including 151 new entries and 196 new discharges. Public health said 178 people are currently in intensive care, which is stable compared to the previous day.
When asked if the decision to relax the public health measures is related to the ongoing truckers’ convoy protests in Ottawa and across the country, the premier denied this, saying that public health has been working on the reopening plan for several weeks.
On Feb. 5, thousands of protesters gathered at the National Assembly in Quebec City to stage a demonstration in solidarity with the ongoing Freedom Convoy in Ottawa that is protesting federal COVID-19 mandates.