Quebec loosens some coronavirus restrictions in time for spring break

Quebec imposes curfew, tightens lockdown restrictions as coronavirus health crisis deepens

Quebec Premier François Legault announced Tuesday that some COVID-19 restrictions are being loosened in Quebec, just in time for spring break at the beginning of March.Starting Feb. 26, movie theatres will be allowed to reopen in red zones with some restrictions. Procedural masks will be mandatory, as will social distancing in common areas and a maximum of 250 spectators will be allowed even in big theatres.Indoor pools and arenas are also being reopened to allow for family activities. Outdoor sports, already permitted in groups of four, will now be allowed for groups of eight people.The curfew, however, remains in place across Quebec to prevent an explosion of cases linked to illegal indoor gatherings.“One important difference between Christmas and March break is the curfew,” Legault said. Story continues below advertisement

“At Christmas, we didn’t have the curfew. I think that with the curfew in place at 8 p.m., definitely it reduces the number of contacts.”
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The move comes as the province continues to see a decline in the number of daily COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations linked to the coronavirus. [ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]
The premier said the decision was made to allow for some activities to resume in a bid to accommodate parents over the spring break.However, he cautioned against people letting their guard down.“The battle with the virus isn’t over, we still have significant risk ahead of us,” he said.

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Even if hospitalizations have gone down, Legault pointed to growing wait-lists for operations that have been postponed or cancelled as a result of the pandemic. Story continues below advertisement

He also noted that front-line hospital staff are exhausted and that COVID-19 variants are a major concern.Health Minister Christian Dubé said there are 16 confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants and 86 probable cases that are being investigated.“We are acting on these cases as if though they have been confirmed cases of variants,” Dubé said, adding that specific isolation measures are in place for those affected.
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Legault urged Quebecers to respect family bubbles throughout the week-long break to limit the spread of the virus.“We don’t want people renting houses with other families,” he said.He also asked employers to allow employees with young children to take some time off.“I repeat that it is not a good idea for grandparents to babysit children. I ask employers to be understanding with them. Please give them a few days off if you can.”
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Legault also said that most of Quebec will remain in red zones, at least until after March break. Story continues below advertisement

Only the Gatineau region will be downgraded to orange next Monday. Legault said the situation in the region is stable, as it is in Ottawa.“If we want to improve the situation, we must avoid gatherings in houses in the next few weeks,” he said.

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