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December 16, 2021 – Provincial government update on the COVID-19 pandemic

Here is an update on recent decisions and actions by the provincial government regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

New health restrictions

François Legault, Premier of Québec, Horacio Arruda, National Director of Public Health in Québec, and Christian Dubé, Québec Minister of Health and Social Services, announced new health measures to be implemented starting December 20.

“I don’t have good news to announce to you,” Mr. Legault said. “Unfortunately, we have seen an explosion in the number of cases over the last few days. I know that Quebecers are fed up, but everyone has a role to play if we want to win this battle.”

Contacts reduced to 50%: several locations affected

Non-essential businesses

All businesses will have to reduce their capacity to 50%, i.e., one person per 20 square metres.

Financial assistance programs for businesses and workers will be available.

Businesses and locations affected:

  • Bars
  • Restaurants
  • Taverns
  • Casinos
  • Auditoriums
  • Shopping centres
  • Performance venues
  • Events
  • Conventions

A maximum of 10 people per table will be allowed in restaurants and bars.

Places of worship

Places of worship will also have to reduce their capacity by 50%, to a maximum of 250 people. The vaccine passport will now be required to frequent these places.

Gatherings without the vaccine passport will be possible for weddings and funerals if there are a maximum of 25 people.

Risky activities

Risky activities such as office parties, dancing and karaoke will be prohibited as of December 20.

Several measures for sports and recreation:

  • Suspension of tournaments and competitions
  • Indoors: limit on the practice of any activity to a group of no more than 25 people
  • Gyms and fitness centres: return to two-metre distancing at all times and a 50% capacity limit
  • Outdoors: no change to the current rules
  • Ski chalets, snowmobile lodges: 50% indoor capacity limit
  • Orchestras and choirs: no change, specific rules apply
  • Spas: introduction of the vaccine passport (except for personal treatments) and a 50% capacity limit

School opening after the Holidays

Elementary schools will reopen on schedule after the Christmas break.

High schools, CEGEPs and universities will be able to reopen on January 10. Until then, teaching will be online.

In addition, masks will once again be mandatory in classrooms, common areas and on school transportation.

Indoor gatherings

 A maximum of 10 people, or the people from three households, will be permitted for gatherings in homes.

New schedule for the third dose

 In light of the surge in cases and the strong rate of transmission of the Omicron variant, the vaccination schedule for the third dose will be moved up.

Starting December 20, people aged 65 and over will be able to make an appointment. It will be the turn of people aged 60 and over starting December 27.

Below the age of 60 and over, all age groups will be eligible for vaccination at the same time. The Québec government will announce the exact date shortly.

Authorities reported 2,736 new cases and five more deaths in the last 24 hours in Québec.

Interval reduced to three months

 The interval between the second and third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine is being reduced to three months from six.

The Québec government hopes to soon be vaccinating 100,000 people a day.