Quebec Announced Plans To Gradually Reopen Some Regions In May

The province is set to gradually reopen certain regions as of May 4, according to Vice-Premier Geneviève Guilbault and the province's public health officials. The Quebec government announced the news on Wednesday at the daily COVID-19 press update. She stressed that even as police checkpoints are removed, all non-essential travel is still discouraged and that everyone still must follow the recommended health guidelines. 

Beginning Monday, Quebec will gradually remove police controls on travel in Lanaudière, the Laurentians, and Chaudière-Appalaches regions, as well as the city of Rouyn.

Outaouais (except Gatineau), Abitibi-Témiscamingue, La Tuque, and Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean regions will be deconfined as of May 11.

On May 18, the government plans to deconfine the Bas-Saint-Laurent, Gaspésie, Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Charlevoix, and Côte-Nord regions. 

The three-week deconfinement plan hinges on the public maintaining what Guilbault called their "exceptional discipline." 

"This whole plan for the gradual reopening of the regions of Quebec, in the same way as the plan for the reopening of schools, daycare services and the economy, really depends on the ability, the will of Quebecers to continue to apply public health guidelines," stressed Guilbault. 

On Monday and Tuesday, respectively, Quebec outlined its plan to gradually reopen the economy and the public school system.

Three industries, retail, construction, and manufacturing, are set to resume operations.

Quebec teachers' unions have questioned the government's decision to commence deconfinement but public health officials stress that its decisions are being made with the utmost prudence.

"This is the objective, to revive Quebec without relaunching the pandemic, and it is by respecting public health guidelines that we will succeed in doing so," said Guilbault. 

The ban on public gatherings will persist and stringent social distancing rules will be enforced despite the upcoming deconfinement measures. 

As the situation evolves in the following weeks, public health officials stressed that the deconfinement dates are subject to change. 

"I ask you to continue to respect the public health guidelines. We have been exemplary for two months in containment, we must be just as exemplary in the gradual reopening of Quebec," said Guilbault. 

As the situation stabilizes in regions outside the Montreal metropolitan area, the metropolis is still contending with increases in the number of new cases in some areas.

The situation in the city is different from the rest of Quebec, highlighted Health Minister Danielle McCann. 

"Montreal remains a hot sector," she stressed.

"We are progressing, but now is not the time to declare victory," said Guilbault. 

Stay tuned for more news.