In response to the continued improvement in Québec’s COVID-19 numbers, all regions have become “Yellow” or “Green” as of June 14, 2021. Among other things, this means that indoor restaurant dining and bars are now allowed to open.

Furthermore, as discussed in more detail in our separate employment-focused post, the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail has modified the measures put in place for workplaces throughout Québec. Working remotely (“teleworking”) is no longer mandatory, although it is still recommended where possible.

The main points of Québec’s staged re-opening plan, which aims to see things almost “back to normal” by the end of the summer, are set out in this post, first in summary form and then in more detail. The “Summary”, below, is based on the Government of Québec’s snapshot view of its re-opening plan, entitled “Flexibility at all Levels”. The loosened restrictions that will continue to apply in the different “colour zones” until the end of August 2021 (or later) are further detailed by the government here. Note that the Summary refers to restrictions relating to education and sports activities that are not considered in the longer “Detailed Information” section, which is intended to focus on business issues.

Summary

Interprovincial travel by land between Québec and Ontario continues to be restricted (with checkpoints at the border). More information is here. Travel between regions within Québec is permitted with special rules for access to Nunavik, Terres-Cries-de-la-Baie-James and Îles-de-la-Madeleine as set out here.

By June 25:

  • day and sleepover vacation camps permitted to open (as of June 21);
  • outdoor public activities and events allowed (specific rules apply);
  • easing of requirements respecting masks and self-distancing for fully vaccinated people (who have received a second dose) including for private gatherings; and
  • rules for outdoor stadiums with fixed pre-assigned seating further relaxed.

At the end of August or later:

  • gradual loosening of remaining restrictions if epidemiological situation permits and if 75% of those 12 years and over have been fully vaccinated:
    • relaxation of measures for childcare and preschool settings;
    • return to “normal” in primary and secondary schools;
    • return to on-site work in higher education;
    • gradual return to on-site work for other workers;
    • further relaxation of rules for gatherings, sports and recreational activities;
    • attendance limits for indoor venues and for outdoor events increased; and
    • termination of coloured zone levels.

Detailed Information

This post highlights current and upcoming restrictions on business and how they build on those that were previously in effect (see our prior article). It is regularly updated as Québec’s pandemic response evolves. Note that only restrictions on business are covered here. For complete details of restrictions on other activities such as private gatherings, education and sports activities (and others), see here.

Since October 2020, the Government of Québec has continuously renewed the public health emergency declared in the province and tightened and loosened restrictions on businesses as Covid-19 cases increased and diminished. Like most other provinces, Québec has implemented its restrictions on a regional basis, with a four-level colour-coded scheme that ranges from Red (most restrictive) to Green (least restrictive).

Many of the restrictions for businesses, such as the curfew and closures of restaurants, bars and indoor entertainment venues have been lifted and all of Québec has become Yellow or lower as of June 14, 2021. Other restrictions will be gradually loosened over the summer.

Québec regions are now classified as follows:

  • Yellow zones (certain of June 14, 2021):
    • Montréal,
    • Capitale-Nationale Region;
    • Bas-Saint-Laurent;
    • Chaudière-Appalaches;
    • Estrie;
    • Lanaudière;
    • Laurentides,
    • Laval;
    • Mauricie–Centre-du-Québec;
    • Montérégie;
    • Outaouais; and
    • Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean.
  • Green zones:
    • Abitibi-Témiscamingue;
    • Côte-Nord;
    • Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine; and
    • Nord-du-Québec.
  • Green zones (special measures also in force):
    • Nunavik; and
    • Terres-cries-de-la-Baie-James.

In regions now classified as Yellow or Green zones, restaurants, cinemas, museums, libraries, performing arts venues, spas and gyms, among others, have been permitted to reopen with certain restrictions.

Québec’s public health state of emergency continues to be extended (currently to June 18, 2021) by the Québec Minister of Health and Social Services, who is thereby empowered to take measures necessary to protect public health.

Level 2 (Yellow zone)

Restrictions on Certain Businesses

Open: see government summary of restrictions here

  • bars, breweries, taverns and casinos;
    • 50% capacity for those with an alcohol permit;
    • occupants of two single private dwelling per table;
  • restaurants: occupants of two single private dwellings per table;
  • museums, zoos, aquariums, etc.;
  • cinemas;
  • hotels and other tourist accommodation: only occupants of 2 residences;
  • as of June 25, 2021, festivals and other events presenting outdoor performances;
  • arcades, the indoor activities of thematic sites, amusement centres and parks, water parks and youth hostels: strict conditions to be observed; and
  • indoor place used for an event-based or social activity and games such as bowling, darts, billiards and the like.

General restrictions

  • Limits on number of customers: Québec commercial establishments that engage in retail sales of products to the public are required to restrict the number of customers allowed inside. The permitted number is a function of the floor area of the premises that is accessible to customers (the Government has provided information on how to perform the necessary calculations). A sign indicating the number of persons allowed in the premises must be displayed in the store (with the French language versions being predominant). Store operators must also take measures to manage customer traffic within the store to ensure physical distancing.
  • Teleworking: Working remotely (“teleworking”) is no longer mandatory for all workers but should be favoured where possible.
  • Working on-site: For businesses whose employees are returning to the workplace, certain measures to protect the health and safety of workers continue in force and can be found here.

Level 1 (Green)

Restrictions on Certain Businesses

Open: see summary of restrictions here

  • bars, breweries, taverns and casinos;
    • 50% capacity for those with a liquor licence;
    • maximum of 10 people from different addresses or the occupants of 3 households;
  • hotels and other tourist accommodation: maximum of 10 people from different addresses or the occupants from 3 households;
  • restaurants: maximum of 10 people from different addresses or the occupants of 3 households;
  • museums, zoos, aquariums, etc.;
  • cinemas;
  • as of June 25, 2021, festivals and other events presenting outdoor performances;
  • arcades, the indoor activities of thematic sites, amusement centres and parks, water parks and youth hostels: strict conditions to be observed; and
  • indoor place used for an event-based or social activity and games such as bowling, darts, billiards and the like.

General restrictions

  • same as for Yellow zones.

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.

Other recommendations

The Government of Québec continues to recommend that residents of one region not travel to regions at a different level, or outside of Québec.

Fines

Those failing to respect the rules on social distancing, face coverings and gatherings (among others) may be fined up to $1,000.

Going Forward

To date, the Government of Québec has been satisfied with the province’s progress in fighting the pandemic and has loosened restrictions earlier than first planned. Restrictions and closings may be re-imposed if the situation worsens.