Earlier this week, the provincial government announced its holiday plan, outlining exactly if and how Quebecers can celebrate this year given that, you know, we're in the middle of a pandemic

The plan covers schools, workplaces and private gatherings and details specific days allotted by the government when Quebecers are permitted to gather with loved ones.

But the specifics can be confusing. We answered your questions and DMs regarding Quebec's holiday plan for people living in red zones

Editor's Choice: Quebecers Who Don't Celebrate Christmas Say The Holiday Plan Completely Ignores Them

I live in Montreal. Can I visit Ontario or Quebec City for the weekend?

It's not recommended. The government is discouraging inter-regional travel, especially to a green, yellow or orange zone and outside Quebec.

While it's not technically forbidden to travel between two red zones, the government is asking you to "limit yourself to essential travel," which includes workers, shared child custody and freight transportation. 

Premier François Legault has stated that if you own a property in another part of Quebec, you're expected to bring your own food and supplies to avoid visiting the region's shops and restaurants. 

"Remember that when you come from a red area, you have to apply the same [rules] in the area where you are going," said Dr. Horacio Arruda. 

In other words, you can take the person out of the red zone but you can't take the red zone out of the person. 

How many people are allowed to gather in one home during the holidays?  

Gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed — but only on December 24, 25, 26 and 27. 

Quebecers are being asked to self-isolate or avoid social contact one week before and one week after any holiday gatherings.

Office parties are not permitted.

What exactly is the plan for schools in Quebec?

Elementary schools and high schools will close on December 17. Students will continue learning online until the start of winter break, according to their established school calendars. 

Elementary schools will reopen on January 4 as planned. 

High schoolers have their holiday break extended until January 10, to allow for self-isolation after seeing their families. That said, it's not a total holiday as they'll be given work to do from home.

Special-needs schools will remain open, following their regular calendars. 

School-based childcare services will remain open, but only for parents who are essential service workers. 

Can we go to malls?

Yes. Malls and retail stores are currently open across Quebec, including in red zones.

Hours may have changed for the holidays, so be sure to check before going to the store. In Montreal, retailers even have the option of extending their business hours. And some shopping centres are using reservation systems to manage crowds. 

Can I have people over outside the four-day holiday period allotted by the government?

No. Private gatherings are prohibited in red zones, save for the four-day period the government has allotted for family gatherings during the holidays.

Legault clarified that this means Quebecers cannot gather for other holidays, including Hanukkah — even if they isolate before and after. 

However, even in red zones, Quebecers are allowed to visits people who live alone, if they do so one at a time. 

And outdoor fitness activities can be carried out in pairs, so long as two-metre distancing and mask-wearing measures are followed.

Why can't we stay with the same 10 people for New Year's Eve?

Government officials say they analyzed several scenarios that would allow Quebecers to gather for the holidays without causing severe consequences, and the result was four days — December 24 to 27 — with a week of confinement before and after.

This means Quebecers are expected to be in self-isolation on December 31 and January 1. 

Of course, you can always count on members of your own household for New Year's company.

And, theoretically, you could visit someone on New Year's if they live alone — as long as you go by yourself and neither of you spent the four-day holiday period at any gatherings.

I have family in the U.S. Can they come and stay with me for the holidays?

No, in most cases. With Canadian borders closed, people who enter the country must fit one of the following criteria:

  • A Canadian citizen

  • A dual Canadian citizen with a valid passport or special authorization 

  • A permanent resident of Canada

  • A person registered under Canada's Indian Act

  • A protected person

If travellers fit the above criteria in some way, they must also have a quarantine plan that shows how they'll quarantine for 14 days when they arrive in Canada. This plan is mandatory.

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