Québec Loosening Certain Restrictions: Releases Schedule for Reopening Restaurants, Cinemas and Other Venues at Half Capacity Over the Coming Weeks

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Recap

In December, 2021, the Québec Government ordered a number of businesses to suspend their activities (including restaurant dining rooms), imposed capacity limits on businesses permitted to remain open, required non-essential stores to close on Sundays and put in place a curfew.

Earlier in January, 2022, the curfew and Sunday closures ended but the Vaccine Passport was extended to SAQs, SQDCs, and large commercial establishments.

January 2022 Developments

As the order bringing into force the new measures is not yet available, the information set out here is based upon the Government’s summary of the restrictions here.

Note that the Government provides a chart summarizing the restrictions and dates for lifting them but the English version has not yet been modified to take into account the latest changes. A French version of the chart is available here.

Québec has required a vaccination passport for non-essential activities and businesses since September 1, 2021. As of January 18, 2022 and January 24, 2022, the vaccination passport is also required to enter

  • Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) stores (liquor stores);
  • Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) stores (cannabis stores)
  • commercial establishments and vehicle repair and maintenance centres with sales and service areas greater than 1500 m2, with the exception of those whose main activity is the sale of groceries or pharmacy products, common areas of a shopping mall and gas stations.

While vaccine passports are not required to access services at a pharmacy in a store with a sales area of 1,500 m2 or more, those without a vaccination passport must be accompanied by a store employee and cannot purchase products other than those related to the pharmacy.

Detailed Information

Since October 2020, the Government of Québec has tightened and loosened restrictions on businesses as COVID-19 cases increased and diminished. Most of the restrictions on businesses were lifted in November 2021 month throughout Québec (with continuing special measures in force in Terres-cries-de-la-Baie-James and in Nunavik). Certain restrictions were reimposed in December and January and now a gradual loosening has been announced.

Québec’s public health state of emergency continues to be extended (currently to January 28, 2022) by the Québec Minister of Health and Social Services, who is empowered under this order to take measures necessary to protect public health.

The Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail has modified the recommended measures for workplaces throughout Québec (for a summary in French, see here).

Rapid antigen tests for personal use are being made available at no cost with limits on the number of tests each person may obtain. For more information on rapid antigen tests, see here.

This post highlights the restrictions on business and will be updated as Québec’s pandemic response evolves. For the Government summary of the restrictions on other activities such as education, sports and meetings (and others), see here (click on headings on the left).

Vaccine Passports

Since September 1, 2021, Québec has required a vaccination passport to gain access to non-essential activities and businesses. The vaccination passport is mandatory for everyone 13 and older. Québec has now decided to extend the vaccination passport requirement to liquor stores and cannabis stores (January 17, 2022) as well as stores and vehicle repair centres with surface areas over 1500 m2 (January 24, 2022), except grocery stores and pharmacies.

The vaccine passport indicates that a person is “adequately protected” against COVID-19 and allows those aged 13 and up to gain admittance to certain locations and non-essential activities where the risk of transmission is considered to be higher. Photo ID is required. The full list of places and activities which will require the vaccine passport is available here.

The passport is not required for access to essential services such as education (primary, secondary or post-secondary). It is also not required for museums and libraries.

For more information on the vaccine passport and how to obtain it, see here.

Restrictions on Businesses: See the Government Summary of all the Restrictions here (click through to subject areas covered).

Closed (certain may open as of January 31 and February 7, 2022)

  • restaurant dining rooms:
    • may open at 50% capacity beginning January 31, 2022
    • mandatory vaccine passport
    • limit of 4 persons or the occupants of 2 residences at a table
    • midnight closing and food and beverage sales to cease at 11pm
    • 1m distance between tables
  • arcades and, for their indoor activities, biodomes, planetariums, insectariums, botanical gardens, aquariums, zoos, thematic sites, amusement centres and parks, recreational centres and water parks:
    • may open at 50% capacity beginning January 31, 2022
    • mandatory vaccine passport
  • bars and discotheques;
  • casinos and gaming houses;
  • movie theaters and rooms or halls in which performing arts are presented, including broadcast venues;
    • may open at 50% capacity beginning February 7, 2022
    • mandatory vaccine passport
    • no intermission
    • outdoor: maximum 1000 people
  • microbreweries and distilleries, only for services in connection with consumption of beverages on the premises;
  • saunas and spas, except for personal care provided in the sauna or spa;
  • any indoor place, other than a private residence or its equivalent, when being used for games of bowling, darts, billiards or other similar games.

Open (capacity limits and mandatory face coverings for those 10 years and older)

  • Stores and other commercial establishments
    • capacity limits: 50% of capacity allowing 1 client per 20 m2 of sales area applicable in stores, traffic areas and food courts;
    • personal care services such as hairdressers, massage therapists, etc.: customer traffic limited to 50% capacity.
  • Museums and libraries
    • physical distancing to be maintained.

Remote working is mandatory whenever possible with distancing and masks mandatory for those working on-site.

Nunavik and Terres-cries-de-la-Baie-James

For information about the measures in force in Nunavik and Terres-cries-de-la-Baie-James, consult the websites of the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services and the Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay.

Going Forward

As set out here, the Government of Québec has modified the COVID-19 restrictions in place and will continue to monitor the situation closely. This post is updated regularly when the Government rules are modified.

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