Check out our list to find out what's open and closed over the holidays. But make sure to check local listings and websites for the most up-to-date information. We also recommend calling to verify any information you find online.
Most banks are closed on December 25, December 28, January 1 and January 4. Many banks will also close on December 26 and January 2. Check your local branch for details.
Most malls and retail stores are open on Christmas Eve, though some have reduced hours. Beginning on Christmas Day, non-essential businesses including malls and retail stores are closed until January 11.
Many grocery stores are open on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day with reduced hours, but some locations are closed on December 25 so check the website and then call ahead to your local store. Grocery stores are essential businesses and will be open throughout the lockdown period.
Most major pharmacies, such as Pharmaprix and Jean Coutu locations, will be open on December 25. Use the store locator online to double-check whether hours have changed at your nearest store. Pharmacies are essential businesses that will remain open throughout the lockdown period.
Most of the city's public markets are open during the lockdown period but closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, as well as on January 1 and 2. Note that some businesses at the markets may differ in schedule, so contact your favourite merchants directly.
Alcohol & Cannabis
The SAQ will remain open from December 26 to January 10 inclusive, according to Facebook. Locations will be closed on December 25 and January 1.
The SQDC will also remain open throughout the holidays and lockdown. However, SQDC stores will be closed on December 25 and January 1, and have reduced hours on December 24, 26, 31 and January 2.
Recreation & Culture
Due to COVID-19, cultural facilities are closed until further notice. The schedules of sports facilities that are still open during the pandemic vary depending on the borough. Check the schedule of the specific facility before heading out.
Libraries are solely open for contactless lending, according to a holiday schedule.
The STM is running with modified hours on the following legal holidays: December 25, December 26, January 1 and January 2. "Please consult the legend that appears below your bus schedule or your Planibus," says the STM website.
Accès Montréal offices, as well as city permit counters and écocentres, are closed from December 24 to January 4 inclusively.
The collection schedule for garbage, bulky items, recyclables and composting will change during the holiday season. You can search your postal code to find out more.
Natural Christmas trees will be collected throughout the month of January. Select your borough to find out the specifics.
The activities of the municipal court will be modified during the holiday season. You'll find details on the City of Montreal website or by calling 514-872-2964.
COVID-19 Testing Sites
Some locations are open with modified hours on December 25, December 26, January 1 and January 2. However, other locations are closed. Check Santé Montréal's testing webpage to find out where and when you can get tested.
Why You Need To Go: With incredible views, this terrasse recently opened atop the Humaniti building as part of the Humaniti Hotel. It's definitely going to be on Montrealers' must-do lists for summers to come.
"Quebec needs plasma donors," the sponsored post says. The caption reads: "Plasma donation changes the lives of thousands of Quebecers. Plan your visit to a donation centre near you."
Three months of abstinence
Beneath the non-profit organization's post are more than 400 comments. Some ask questions about the difference between plasma and blood (plasma is the liquid portion of blood), while others ask if vaccinated folks can give blood (yes, they can).
Then there are comments like this: "I would but I'm gay and you won't let me," "Then stop your prejudice of gay people" and "I'll think about it when they stop being homophobic entirely."
According to Héma-Québec, "a man whose last sexual contact with a man was 3 or more months ago can give plasma."
While this does not rule out gay donors, the three-month restriction does not apply to lesbians, men who have sex with women or women who have sex with men.
"I would totally donate blood, but I am a healthy gay man and you don't want me because of who I sleep with (even though I have been with the same partner for 21 years). Good luck with your antiquated rules, in an age where you can screen blood for HIV and other pathogens very very quickly. So there you go, do without, it's absolutely no loss on me. So now, stop advertising on my feed," wrote a Facebook user. He asked to be identified as "a member of Montreal's gay community" to protect his privacy.
"It's honestly ridiculous that they even still have this restriction. If women can sleep with men and donate no problem, then there is absolutely no reason why men who sleep with men (or, in your case, one man) should be denied. All of the donations are tested anyway," Gatineau resident Jami Tatlock replied.
On its website, Héma-Québec responds to the question, "Why must a homosexual couple in a stable relationship wait 3 months without having sex?" in order to donate blood.
"Sex can contribute to the propagation of viruses that may be transmitted to other individuals through blood transfusions. Héma-Québec uses a range of very rigorous screening tests. Despite the high performance of these tests, the risk of an infected blood donation going undetected, however slight, is not zero because of the sensitivity limitations of the tests," it says.
"For this reason, despite the use of screening tests, we exclude donors at high risk of infections that might be transmitted through blood."
Héma-Québec describes the three-month window as a period of risk or a "silent period" when people could be asymptomatic and test negative, despite being infected with HIV or Hepatitis. The three-month restriction also applies to people who have gotten piercings or tattoos.
Laurent Paul Ménard, Héma-Québec's media relations director, told MTL Blog the organization is working to make blood donation more inclusive as "scientific evidence becomes available and blood product safety is shown."
Ménard pointed out that, since 2013, Héma-Québec has submitted multiple requests asking Health Canada — which must approve all changes to donor eligibility criteria — to reduce the qualification criteria for men who have sex with men.
Between 1992 and 2013, a man who had sex with another man — even once — could never donate blood. In 2013, a man had to wait five years after having sex with another man to donate. In 2016, the deferral period was reduced to one year. And, in 2019, one year was reduced to three months.
A new behaviour-based approach
Ménard said Héma-Québec is planning to submit to Health Canada again to ask for a new approach that takes behaviour into account, based on a model recently adopted in the U.K.
Héma-Québec, he said, will ask Health Canada to allow some sexually active men who have one same-sex partner to donate without any restrictions.
In the meantime, some potential donors are left torn between doing good and standing up for what they believe is right.
"I am torn now between donating myself," Tatlock told MTL Blog. "I want to help people, but I also kind of want to hold off until they change their homophobic policies as a kind of protest."
According to Ménard, Héma-Québec will submit the request to Health Canada by the end of this year.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Minister of Justice Simon Jolin-Barrette and Minister Responsible for the Status of Women Isabelle Charest presented Bill 92, an act to move for "the creation of a specialized court in matters of sexual violence and domestic violence and relating to the training of judges in these matters."
"We no longer want people who are victims of sexual or domestic violence to hesitate to report and file a complaint in Quebec," Jolin-Barette said.
Dépôt du PL92 | Aujourd'hui, nous envoyons un message clair aux personnes victimes de violence sexuelles et de viol… https://t.co/VnMVx3iLQg
Jolin-Barrette insisted that "culture change is needed in the justice system and must happen."
The purpose of this special court on sexual and domestic violence, is, according to the minister, "to restore victims' confidence in the justice system, reduce delays and better meet the needs of victims with adapted and coordinated services."
The mandate comes out of 190 recommendations made in a report by a special government working group on sexual and domestic violence in Quebec, which was tabled last year.
"You can continue to count on the determination of the entire government [...] to make the necessary changes to better support the victims because I wish them to feel accompanied and respected in their process, to be prepared, and equipped during their testimony in court," said Charest.
If you require resources or assistance surrounding sexual assault in Quebec, the CAVAC helpline is available 24/7. Those who may need support can call 1-866-532-2822. Other crisis lines and 24/7 options can be found at The Lifeline Canada.