Gradual reopening of businesses
Quebec has begun the gradual recovery of its economic activities in recent weeks.
At the press conference of May 18, 2020, the Premier, with the agreement of public health authorities, confirmed the reopening of retail businesses that have an exterior door normally used by customers and that are located on the territory of the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (hereinafter "the CMM") on May 25, 2020. Initially scheduled for May 11, this reopening had been postponed to May 25 due to the number of hospitalizations in Montréal and the shortage of personnel in the health network.
On May 20, 2020, the government also announced the reopening of private health care services as well as beauty and other personal grooming services as of June 1. Specifically, these companies include:
- Dental care clinics and centres;
- Businesses in the therapeutic care sector;
- Grooming care for animals;
- Businesses in the beauty and personal grooming sector, with the exception of businesses located in the CMM region and RMC Joliette.
In addition, the Ministry of Economy and Innovation announced the end of the temporary modification of the hours and days of admission in commercial establishments. As of Sunday, May 24, the usual regulations concerning business hours will apply and businesses authorized to resume their activities will be able to welcome the public on Sundays.
Reopening of educational institutions and child-care services
On April 27, 2020, the Minister of Education and Higher Education and the Minister of Family announced the reopening of educational institutions and child-care services on May 25, 2020. The Premier subsequently announced that, given the situation in Montréal, elementary schools in the CMM region would not reopen as scheduled and would instead have to postpone the resumption of their activities until September.
That notwithstanding, public health authorities have authorized the reopening of CMM and RCM Joliette daycare centres on June 1. Initially scheduled for May 19, this opening had been postponed to May 25 for the reasons mentioned above.
On April 29, 2020, the deputy premier announced the phasing out of travel restrictions. Since the publication of our last newsletter (link available here), it is worth mentioning the postponement of the reopening of the North Shore health region (except for the Minganie and Gulf of St. Lawrence, Lower North Shore, RCMs) as of May 31, 2020.
At present, no reopening date is planned for the following regions: the RCMs of Minganie and Gulf of St. Lawrence (Lower North Shore); Nord-du-Québec; Nunavik; and Terres-Cries-de-la-Baie-James.
Restrictions on gatherings
At the May 20, 2020 press conference, the Quebec Deputy Premier announced it was some of the province's restrictions on gatherings provided for in Decree 222-2020. As of May 22, 2020, Quebec will allow outdoor gatherings of small groups subject to the following conditions:
- A maximum of 10 people can gather outside at a time;
- These people must come from a maximum of three households (they share the same address);
- All people still need to heed physical distancing guidelines as much as possible.
It should be noted that the wearing of masks or face covers is strongly recommended during these gatherings.
The wearing of masks
Given the magnitude of the pandemic, the government strongly recommends that citizens wear masks in public – particularly on public transit and in businesses, given the difficulty of maintaining the two-metre distance in those contexts. While this measure is all the more important in the MMC, the Premier encourages citizens across the province to follow this recommendation.
It should be mentioned that this measure remains optional at present. This being said, the public authorities are closely monitoring the evolution of the situation and the behaviour of the population and do not exclude the possibility of imposing the wearing of masks in the future.