Indoor dining, gyms can reopen in Outaouais May 31

·2 min read

A wide range of public health measures will be lifted in the Outaouais region and across Quebec in the coming days as the province begins a gradual reopening process.

Premier François Legault announced Tuesday the province is ready to move forward with plans to reopen because of increasing vaccinations and an improving epidemiological situation.

The provincewide curfew that restricts movement between the hours of 9:30 p.m. to 5 a.m., in place since January, will be lifted on Friday. Dining on restaurant patios and outdoor gatherings of up to eight people from two households on private property will also be allowed across the province that day.

The Outaouais region, which includes Gatineau, will join several other regions in moving to the less strict "orange-alert" level of the province's pandemic framework on Monday, May 31, which will allow indoor dining to resume and gyms to reopen.

Moving to orange also means that students in grades 9-11 will return to school full time, instead of attending every other day. Places of worship will be allowed to welcome 100 people with physical distancing measures in place, but weddings and funerals will be limited to 25 people.

"The numbers are good, the trend is good. We are seeing a decrease in cases, a decrease in hospitalizations. The test positivity rate is at 2.3 per cent," Legault said in French at a news conference. "The vaccination team is continuing to do extraordinary work. Quebec is the top province for the percentage of the population that's received the first dose."

People in Quebec will also be allowed to travel between regions starting Friday, and large auditoriums, amphitheatres, as well as indoor and outdoor stadiums will be able to accommodate a maximum of 2,500 people in sections subdivided to hold 250 people each.

Today's announcement comes one week after Legault announced a reopening plan for the province. That plan anticipates that bars will be able to open terraces for outdoor drinking on June 11. Outdoor sports and recreation activities will also be allowed, with a cap of 25 people.

By June 14, Legault said most regions will be at the yellow level, which means people from two different households can gather indoors and bars can reopen.

Case counts in Quebec have fallen dramatically in the past month. The province reported 346 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, while public health officials in the Outaouais reported 16 new COVID-19 cases.

According to the CBC's vaccine tracker, 53.7 per cent of Quebec's population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine — a number only surpassed by the Northwest Territories and Yukon.

For a full list of public health measures that apply in the orange zone, visit the Quebec government's website.

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