The provincial government held an important press conference on Sunday, September 20, to update the province on the current COVID-19 situation in Quebec. As of today, Montreal, Chaudière-Appalaches and parts of Capitale-Nationale are officially under "orange alert." During a previous conference held on September 8, the government officials unveiled the new COVID-19 alert system in Quebec, which contains four levels: green, yellow, orange, and red. 

On September 15, it was announced that some regions in the province moved from the green to yellow level. And now, three of those regions have rapidly made their way into "orange alert," which is deemed a "moderate" alert.

News of the potential for Montreal, Chaudière-Appalaches and parts of Quebec City going into "orange alert" was announced by Radio-Canada hours before the conference began, but officials now confirmed that such is true.

The Minister of Health and Social Services, Christian Dubé, along with Quebec's Public Health Director, Dr. Horacio Arruda and Dr. Éric Litvak, medical advisor to public health, were the ones to make this announcement on Sunday evening.

So now, what does it mean for these three regions to be under "orange alert?"

First off, bars and restaurants in orange zones must now stop selling alcoholic beverages at 11 p.m. and bars must now close by 12 a.m.

In these establishments, there's now a six people maximum per table.

Last week, the government had moved the final time for food sales to midnight everywhere in the entire province. 

For the three regions in "orange alert," private gatherings are now going down from permitting 10 people to six, with an exception for groups from only two households, which can then include more people.

As for public gatherings such as marriages, barbeques, any festival or ones in rented places or places of worship, in the orange zones, the maximum is now 25 people.

For the rest of Quebec, the maximum for such public gatherings is now 50 rather than the previous 250.

Public spaces that can properly allow for social distancing, such as theatres, can continue to allow 250 people in them.

These rules will all be put in place as of 12:01 a.m. on September 21.

Dubé confirmed that this could be temporary since regions can go back from the orange level to yellow (or green), "if proper efforts are made."

But, reminded us that going into red alert is also possible, which would look a lot like the confinement we saw in March.

The Health Minister now asks that we "avoid going from an orange zone to a yellow zone unless very necessary."

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