The Ministry of Health and Social Services (MSSS) just announced that outdoor Quebec festivals and large cultural events can begin once again. As of August 5, 2020, up to 250 people can gather — only if they maintain social distancing — at all events of a "social, commercial, religious, cultural, sporting, leisure or entertainment nature, including festivals." Live professional sports are also permitted.
"Responsibilities are given to event organizers as well as to the authorities responsible for issuing permits or authorizations to allow people to be brought together in a single public outdoor location, where applicable," wrote the MSSS in a press release.
Festival and event organizers will be responsible for ensuring attendees are respecting the two-metre distancing rule.
If a certain site or event can't accommodate the new regulations, permits to hold the event won't be issued.
As of August 5, no festivals or large events in Quebec have yet announced that they are returning.
In the case of drive-in theatres, "peaceful demonstrations, and events that take place on separate, non-contiguous sites," the 250 person limit doesn't apply.
"The same event can take place on several sites, as long as they are autonomous and have separate access areas and are independent of each other," said the MSSS.
#COVID19 - Au Québec, la situation est la suivante: 13 125 prélèvements effectués le 3 août 12 288 analyses réalisé… https://t.co/rDcxrZ9Z1u— Santé Québec (@Santé Québec) 1596639790.0
Fines of between $1,000 and $6,000 will be issued to those found violating the rules.
On Monday, Quebec officially allowed indoor and outdoor public gatherings of up to 250 people, which didn't include festivals and large cultural events.
The decision was criticized by many, including a group of Quebec doctors who started an online petition against the rule.
#COVID19 Au 4 août: + 155 cas | 60 000 + 1 décès | 5 687 - 2 hospitalisations | 167 - 2 soins intensifs | 19 + 13… https://t.co/ZJtazjoEE7— Christian Dubé (@Christian Dubé) 1596639601.0
A recent study, meanwhile, suggests that the total number of coronavirus infections is far greater than what has been officially reported.
It estimated that 124,880 Quebecers between 18 and 69 have contracted COVID-19 since the beginning of the health crisis.
Pandémie de la COVID-19 - Nouvelle limitation dans les lieux extérieurs publics : un maximum de 250 personnes est d… https://t.co/XarJGCWC4k— Santé Québec (@Santé Québec) 1596654095.0
Next week, the government plans to release its back-to-school plan for September.