Things are about to change again. While Greater Montreal is staying on red alert, five more Quebec regions will enter the orange zone on Monday — and, yes, that means a big proportion of Quebecers get to return to gyms, theatres and restaurants in a limited capacity. But what are the rules on travelling within the province?
Although interregional travel continues to be heavily discouraged, you might find yourself in an orange zone in the coming weeks for essential reasons. But if you live in a red zone and go to an orange zone, you have to follow a different set of rules. Here's what you should keep in mind.
Can residents of Quebec red zones travel to orange zones?
You can travel between regions if you're an essential worker, sharing child custody, being summoned by court order, travelling to receive health care, travelling for humanitarian reasons or transporting essential goods. There are also some other exceptions.
If you own a cottage or chalet in an orange zone, you're expected to bring your own supplies and food to avoid going to orange-zone grocery stores, restaurants and shops.
What's the main thing I need to know if I live in a red zone and travel to an orange zone?
If you live in a red zone and travel to an orange zone, you basically have to pretend you're still in a red zone while you're there.
The exception is if you're in a red zone and must travel to another region for work or school. Then, you can abide by the orange zone rules.
Can I dine in a restaurant in an orange zone?
No. In Quebec red zones, or the Greater Montreal area, restaurant dining rooms are closed and food can only be delivered or picked up, so the same would apply to you in an orange zone.
In fact, orange zone restaurant-owners are required by the government to keep an attendance register, and will only let you in if you have proof of residence from a region with an alert level that matches the one you're in.
Can I visit a few friends at their home in an orange zone?
No. Across Quebec, in both red and orange zones, private gatherings are prohibited among people from different addresses.
If you live alone, you may continue to have one visitor from another address — but it should always be the same person.
But can I see them outdoors then?
It depends. In Quebec red zones, outdoor gatherings at people's homes are still prohibited. The same goes for orange zones.
However, you can do outdoor activities with friends in public places in both red zones and orange zones so you could get together to ski, tube, skate or snowshoe!
These types of outdoor group activities are limited to eight people from different addresses in red zones, so the same would apply in orange zones.
What time would my curfew start in an orange zone?
There is a discrepancy between what the Government of Quebec's website says and what the Ministry of Health (MSSS) told MTL Blog.
In Quebec orange zones, the overnight curfew begins at 9:30 p.m. and ends at 5 a.m. every day. In red zones, the overnight curfew begins at 8 p.m. and ends at 5 a.m. every day.
Quebec's website says, "Red alert continues to apply to every person residing there while travelling outside his or her zone," implying you'd have to stick with a red-zone curfew — even in an orange zone.
However, Marie-Hélène Émond, an MSSS spokesperson, told us, "the curfew of the area visited will apply."
To play it safe, be indoors by 8 p.m.
Definitely don't stay out past 9:30 p.m. in an orange zone unless you have a valid reason.*
*This article has been updated.