Quebec's COVID-19 Health Emergency Is Officially Over But The Gov't Is Keeping Some Powers
And masks are still required in some places.
Quebec's COVID-19 state of emergency is finally over after 811 days — but that doesn't mean the end of all measures.
The legislation to formally end the health emergency, Bill 28, passed by a vote of 68 to 42 in the National Assembly Wednesday, June 1. Its adoption empowers the government to continue to enforce some public health orders until December 31, however.
The government can "amend or repeal" those orders until that date. The $1,000 to $6,000 penalties for violating continuing public health rules are also sticking around.
The mask mandate for public transit and health care settings will therefore continue "until public health recommends its removal," the office of Minister of Health Christian Dubé said in a press release.
Public contracts for testing and vaccination clinics will continue through December, and contracts for "the storage or transportation of goods acquired during the pandemic" can last five more years.
Dubé celebrated the end of the emergency state despite the extension of these temporary powers.
"Although the virus is still present, the epidemiological situation has greatly improved in recent weeks in Quebec," he said in a statement.
"Thus, our government, with the adoption of the bill and as it had promised, is lifting the state of emergency. This is an important step, which attests to the efforts that have been made in our collective fight against COVID-19."
Bill 28 has its critics. In April, Quebec Liberal Party Leader Dominique Anglade called it a "charade."