Everything You Need To Know About Quebec's New Lockdown & Holiday Rules

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Staff Writer
Everything You Need To Know About Quebec's Holiday Rules

On December 15, the Quebec government announced another round of shutdowns and restrictions set to come into effect during the holidays. Premier Legault called these new Quebec holiday rules a "pause."

"The goal is to start 2021 on the right foot so that we all reach the finish line together," he said in a statement

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For Quebecers, there are two important dates to remember: December 17 and December 25. 

On the 17th, offices and schools will close in favour of remote working and learning. In addition, orange zones will become red zones and yellow zones will become orange.

These rules apply through January 10, inclusively.

As of the 25th, non-essential businesses, including hairdressers, must close through the same date.

Here's a breakdown of what's happening.

Will restaurants still be open for takeout?

Yes. Restaurants in red zones will still be able to do takeout and delivery during the lockdown. Dining rooms remain closed.

Which stores can stay open? 

Commercial services that the government has deemed "priority" will be allowed to remain open.

This includes pet stores, grocery stores, garages, depanneurs, pharmacies, the SAQ and the SQDC.

"Professional healthcare services" such as dentists, optometrists, physiotherapists, osteopaths, and others can continue activities too.

"Personal care services," like hair salons, meanwhile, will be closed.

You can see the government's list of businesses that are staying open here.

What about Boxing Day?

The government puts it plainly: "Boxing Day, scheduled for December 26, is [...] cancelled."

Who has to work from home?

All office workers must work from home from December 17 to January 10, inclusively, "except for workers whose physical presence is deemed by their employer to be required to maintain the ongoing activities of a public or private organization," according to the government.

Office parties are banned.

What is considered an "essential product"?

"Megastores" such as Walmart and Costco will remain open but they'll only be allowed to sell "essential products."

The premier called this measure a "matter of equity" for small businesses.

On its website, the government suggests that it defines "essential products" in megastores as those that are "usually sold" in the other businesses that are allowed to stay open, like grocery stores and pharmacies.

It will be up to store owners to "ensure that the necessary steps are taken to prevent access to and the sale of other products."

Who can I visit during the holidays? 

If you live in a red zone, gatherings with anyone outside of your household are not allowed.

However, there is a holiday exception for people living alone, who will be able to join the bubble of one other family, but that must be the only family they visit during the shutdown period.

These people living alone are also allowed to bring their children to visit the other bubble.

Outdoor activities, like ice hockey, will also be allowed in public places, but only with up to eight people.

Those who participate in such activities still need to follow public health rules, like social distancing, according to the government.

Can I still travel within Quebec?

Non-essential travel between regions is "not recommended."

However, if red-zone residents decide to travel, they still need to follow red-zone rules even if they leave their region.

According to the latest information on the government website, red-zone residents who decide to rent tourist accommodations can only stay with people from their own household.

Though the premier has previously underlined that interregional travel is "ill-advised," he conceded that it could still happen, giving the example of a Montrealer wanting to go to their chalet in Mont-Tremblant.

But, he said, this person would have to bring their own food and stay at the chalet.

What's the plan for schools? 

Preschools, elementary and secondary schools will close from December 17 to January 10, inclusively. Distance learning will be offered to students instead.

But "some students with special needs may be allowed to attend school so as not to adversely affect their progress."

Childcare services are staying open, as is "school-based emergency childcare" for those who qualify.

"However," the government says, "families are advised to keep their children at home as much as possible."

Teddy Elliot
Staff Writer
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