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June 17, 2020 – Federal and provincial government update on the COVID-19 pandemic

Here is an update on recent decisions and actions by the Canadian and Québec governments in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Indoor sports facilities to reopen

The minister for Education and minister responsible for the Status of Women, Isabelle Charest, announced the reopening of indoor sports facilities, including fitness centres and arenas, starting Monday.

Team sports are authorized but must follow Public Health’s guidelines, based on the guides developed by the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST), in collaboration with sports federations.

While physical distancing measures will be in effect in changing rooms, it will be recommended that changing and showering be done at home.

The national director of Public Health, Dr. Horacio Arruda, stressed the importance of continuing to follow public health guidelines, namely, frequent handwashing, respiratory etiquette, coughing into the elbow, maintaining a physical distance of two metres and, where possible, wearing a mask or face covering.

He stated that parents in the bleachers must also follow these guidelines.

While fitness centres will be reopening on Monday, combat sports are still prohibited.

Access to public and private beaches

Minister Charest has also authorized, as of Monday, the opening of public and private beaches, as Québec heads into several consecutive days of sun and heat. Lifeguard training will also resume.

There will be limits on the number of people permitted on beaches.

Places of worship reopened

The gradual easing of isolation measures is being extended to places of worship, also according to new rules issued by Public Health, with a maximum of 50 people gathered inside.

Two metres

In light of the confusion that seems to be reigning over different rules regarding physical distancing, in the presence of loved ones and children, in public, in performance venues or in waiting lines, Dr. Arruda conceded that it can be confusing.

“To simplify things, it’s recommended that the safest physical distancing be followed, that is, two metres, at all times and in all circumstances, where possible,” said Dr. Arruda.

Campgrounds in national parks to reopen

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that campgrounds in national parks will gradually reopen depending on the region.

“This is good news since for many Canadians camping is an integral part of their summer activities,” said Mr. Trudeau.

Improving assistance programs

The prime minister stressed that the pandemic has revealed shortcomings in our support systems for the most vulnerable in society.

“The current crisis has revealed the fragility and shortfalls in our government systems and programs. We must work to change this in the coming months so that we can do better and do more for vulnerable people,” said the prime minister.

Economic portrait on July 8

On July 8, the Canadian government will present its first economic portrait of the federal government’s financial situation since the start of the pandemic.

Prime Minister Trudeau said that there will not be any projections on the state of the economy in two or three years because the pandemic has made it impossible to determine the most probable scenarios, particularly if a second wave of contagion hits in the coming months.

“The economic situation is still too unpredictable […] An economic update is unrealistic at this point,” Mr. Trudeau said.

The Red Cross in CHSLDs

Prime Minister Trudeau confirmed that there is still “good collaboration’ between the governments of Québec and Canada and that announcements are planned soon regarding the presence of soldiers and members of the Red Cross in Québec’s residential and long-term care centres (CHSLDs).

Some 70 soldiers will remain in place and 900 people will be hired by the Red Cross to help patient attendants.