Quebec Minister for Education Isabelle Charest announced Friday that starting on March 26, some organized sports and recreation activities, including Quebec gyms, will be able to restart and reopen.
"Evidently, sanitary measures will always be present, but we should be able to practice several of our favourite activities, even if it means that we have to do them a little differently," said Charest.
In red zones like Montreal, "all indoor facilities will be open, including fitness centres," according to a press release.
"Activities must be practiced individually, in pairs, or with the occupants of the same private residence," Charest clarified.
Outdoor sports and recreational activities will still be allowed with up to eight people.
What about the other zones?
In orange zones, up to 12 people will be authorized to participate in outdoor sports activities.
Indoors, up to eight people will be allowed to participate in classes or supervised group activities as of March 26.
Social distancing will be enforced.
The same rules will apply to extracurricular activities in schools, which will be allowed in stable class groups as of March 15.
As of March 26, "students from different stable class groups will be allowed to participate in intra-school extracurricular activities without contact," the government says.
"No inter-team or inter-school matches or competition will be allowed" in any of the zones.
Does this mean I can finally go watch a game?
For the time being, no spectators will be allowed in any of the zones to watch physical activities, whether indoors or outdoors.
The government highlights that "no physical contact" will be allowed in any group activity or sport.
"Today's announcement is the result of teamwork with partners in sport and leisure and I am confident that sportswomen and sportspeople will be exemplary while respecting health rules. This will allow us to move towards a return to normalcy in the coming months. Until then, let's play as a team and move safely," said Charest.
The government plans to deploy a vaccine passport system only "once the possibility of having access to two doses of a vaccine has been offered to the entire Quebec population aged 12 and over," according to a Thursday press release.
The target date for that benchmark is September 1.
Moreover, it would only be used if there's a significant increase in COVID-19 cases in the province — or, as the Ministry of Health puts it, "only if there is a deterioration or change in the epidemiological situation in a given territory that would justify its use."
The idea is that the vaccine passport would give Quebec an option other than simply locking down non-essential sectors again.
What activities could require a vaccine passport in Quebec?
In its press release, the Ministry of Health listed a number of non-essential services for which a vaccine passport could be required.
These include activities it identified as "high risk" ("gyms, team sports, bars, restaurants, etc."), as well as "moderate or low-risk activities involving a larger number of people," like festivals and sports games.
The vaccine passport would not be required for essential services.
In a statement, Dubé called the current state of infections in the province "encouraging," but said officials are "closely monitoring the emergence and spread of variants."
The passport, he added, would enable fully vaccinated Quebecers to maintain some level of normalcy.
"In the event of a further increase in cases, with the deployment of a vaccine passport, adequately protected individuals will be able to continue with their daily activities, and the economy and public sectors will be able to remain open," Dubé said.
The ministry encouraged Quebecers aged 12 and over to get their second vaccine doses this summer.
Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on the vaccines and can answer any questions you may have. Click here for more information.
All of Quebec's regions — including Montreal — will be designated COVID-19 green zones as of June 28. The news comes as residents continue to receive vaccine doses and COVID-19 cases fall dramatically.
Although the green level designation is the lowest of all alert levels in Quebec, occupancy limits, public health guidelines and other rules will continue to apply. Here's what you need to know.
Montreal bars and restaurants will soon see their terrasse occupancy limits extended to 20 people per table.
Indoors, a maximum of 10 people from three different residences will be able to sit at the same table.
In bars, singing and dancing will still not be permitted.
Bars will have to stop serving alcohol at midnight and close at 2 a.m.
Weddings and funerals
As of Monday, wedding ceremonies will be able to host up to 250 people, but guests must remain seated during the ceremony and practice 2-metre social distancing.
Wedding receptions will be limited to 50 people outdoors and 25 people indoors, with 2 metres of distance between each person, except for members of the same household.
Masks will have to be worn at all times, except when seated, silent or speaking in a "low voice."
Funerals "will be limited to an audience of 250 people who must remain seated during the event," according to the government.
Moreover, "during the viewing of the body or ashes of the deceased, as well as during the expression of condolences to the next of kin," it will be "permitted to have a rotation of 50 people at the same time inside the premises."
Masks will still be required.
Gatherings in homes will be limited to 10 people from a maximum of three different households, with social distancing and mask-wearing "highly recommended."
As of Monday, outdoor gatherings will be limited to 20 people.
The government also recommends wearing masks and practicing social distancing during outdoor gatherings.
In gyms, you'll be able to carry out activities alone, with one other person or with members of one other household. Fitness classes will be able to welcome 25 people, but close proximity activities won't be allowed.
Sports, including guided lessons and training, will be permitted in outdoor public spaces for groups of "no more than 50 individuals," with no limit on the number of households they make up.
Organized games and matches between sports teams will be allowed with up to 50 spectators.
Indoor sports, "including guided lessons and training," will be permitted for 25 participants from different households.
Organized indoor sports will be able to have up to 25 spectators.
Washrooms and locker rooms will be open and must be cleaned regularly by facility staff throughout the day. Equipment rentals will also be permitted.
As the world gradually begins to reopen, you might be itching to head out on an adventure. Thankfully, Québec City's lively culture, vibrant history and many attractions make it one of the province's most sought-after staycation spots this summer.
Just a stone's throw away from Montreal, Québec City and its European charm might make you feel like you're on a different continent — minus the travel, expense and crowds. And this summer, the city promises to be better than ever with a season-long lineup of outdoor activities, new urban developments and more.
While COVID-19 guidelines remain in effect, Québec City has ensured all attractions and activities respect provincial safety measures including physical distancing, ensuring you stay safe while still having a good time.
If you're looking to get away this season, there are a few reasons why Québec City is the perfect place for a summer staycation.
It's A Foodie's Paradise
Québec City's food scene is renowned across the province. With fare inspired by French flavours and the city's Indigenous roots, no matter your palate, there's a place for you. You can spend an entire trip just checking out the city's restaurants.
From snack shacks and farmers markets to food tours and fine dining, you may need to loosen a belt buckle or two to get it all in. The city's open-air terrasses make it the ultimate place to soak up some sun and enjoy a refreshing beverage.
With colonial architecture dating back over 400 years, Old Québec is one of the most charming neighbourhoods in Québec City. As a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, strolling through its cobblestoned streets can feel like stepping into a fairytale.
The Place Royale, situated in the Petit-Champlain area, is particularly magical: said to be the site of North America’s first French settlement, Place Royale is steeped in centuries of history, and the perfect spot to grab a coffee!
The architectural treasures and public art may make you feel like you've left North America (and this century) altogether, creating a reminiscent and romantic experience all at once.
It may be a metropolis, but there’s plenty of nature to be found in and around Québec City.
You can discover its scenic beauty at spots like Parc national de la Jacques-Cartier, one of the most beautiful glacial valleys in Québec, or Montmorency Falls, which are 30 metres higher than Niagara Falls. Plus, if you're feeling particularly active, this is a great place to take your mountain bike.
Québec City is one of the province's go-to destinations for all kinds of art and historical architecture. Outdoor sculptures, masterpieces, poetry on rooftops, live shows, churches and castles make this destination a feast for the senses - in fact, there are over 1000 activities for tourists and locals alike!
There's no shortage of things to see. Bring your camera and get ready to capture every magical moment, including a selfie or two, at beautiful spots like rue Sous-le-Cap and Morrin Centre, to name a few.
Québec City really is a playground, and you don't have to be a kid to enjoy it.
The city is known for its multiple entertainment spots, like the Aquarium du Québec, Village Vacances Valcartier, Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, and plenty more. Plus, with amusement parks, pick-your-own farms, wildlife tours and treetop adventures, there's no shortage of fun to be had no matter what you or your family are into.
One of the best parts of visiting a different place is getting the chance to explore its museums, and there's plenty to be found in Québec City. From art history to Indigenous stories and more, you'll take away a lot from these enlightening exhibits.
It's an opportunity to really get a sense of what makes Québec so unique while making memories to last a lifetime.
No matter where within Québec City you are, you're sure to find somewhere to shop. Explore one of its many boutiques to discover some unique items.
With its designer and artisanal boutiques, Quartier Petit Champlain is North America's oldest shopping district. Rue Saint-Jean is also a popular shopping destination, along with Saint-Roch and Place Royale.
If you haven't yet made the trip to Québec City, now is a great time to consider it. With plenty to do for everyone, plus delicious food and stunning scenery, it's like taking a European holiday without the hassle.
Plus right now, Québec City has a promo going on where if you book a minimum of two consecutive nights at any participating hotel directly, you’ll receive a $75 gift card to spend at any participating business in the Québec City area.
Québec City Tourism continues to ensure each and every activity and attraction respects all COVID-19 safety guidelines.
Minister of Education Isabelle Charest made the announcement in a June 18 press conference. She said schools in Quebec will decide what to offer during the daily extracurricular school hour, as well as when to offer it during the day.