Two major developments in Québec's COVID-19 response take effect this month:
- As of November 1, 2021, restaurants and bars may operate at full capacity with continuing restrictions on numbers at the same table and requirements for distancing of tables.
- Starting November 15, 2021, the recommendation to work remotely whenever possible will no longer apply although a hybrid approach that allows some continued remote working is still recommended.
As has been the rule since September 1, 2021, Québec requires a vaccination passport for non-essential activities and businesses. This passport allows visitors and residents who are fully vaccinated to have access to such activities and businesses, which include restaurants, bars, gyms, festivals and events (see the complete list here). The vaccination passport is mandatory for everyone 13 and older.
All regions of Québec (with the exception of a few areas of Nunavik) are now Green zones and businesses are open. Capacity restrictions are generally being eliminated although mandatory face covering and 1-metre physical distancing remains in most cases.
The Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail has modified the recommended measures for workplaces throughout Québec (for a summary in French, see here).
Interprovincial travel between Québec and Ontario and within Québec is no longer restricted although there continue to be special rules for access to Nunavik, the Cree Territory of James Bay and the Îles-de-la-Madeleine as set out here. Since September 7, 2021, international travellers who have been adequately vaccinated at least 14 days prior to leaving their home country may enter Canada for non-essential travel. See our related post here.
This post highlights the remaining restrictions on business and will be updated as Québec's pandemic response evolves. For complete details of restrictions on other activities such as education and sports activities (and others), see here.
Since October 2020, the Government of Québec has continuously renewed the public health emergency declared in the province and tightened and loosened restrictions on businesses as Covid-19 cases increased and diminished. Like most other provinces, Québec implemented its restrictions on a regional basis, with a four-level colour-coded scheme that ranges from Red (most restrictive) to Green (least restrictive).
Most of the restrictions on businesses have been lifted, with all of Québec becoming Green as of June 28, 2021 except that special measures remain in force in Terres-cries-de-la-Baie-James and in Nunavik. In Nunavik certain areas again have red and orange zone restrictions. In all Green regions, restaurants, cinemas, museums, libraries, performing arts venues, spas and gyms, among others, are open with certain restrictions, most of which will be lifted as of November 1 and November 15, 2021, respectively (see discussion below).
Québec's public health state of emergency continues to be extended (currently to November 5, 2021) by the Québec Minister of Health and Social Services, who is empowered under this order to take measures necessary to protect public health.
Québec's vaccine passport rules have been in effect since September 1, 2021. The vaccine passport indicates that a person is "adequately protected" against COVID-19 and allows those aged 13 and up to gain admittance to certain locations and non-essential activities where the risk of transmission is considered to be higher. Photo ID is required. The full list of places and activities which will require the vaccine passport is available here.
The passport is not required for access to essential services such as education (primary, secondary or post-secondary).
For more information on the vaccine passport and how to obtain it, see here.
Level 1 (Green zones)
Restrictions on Businesses: Open with vaccine passport required
See the government summary of all the restrictions here. Note that only the rules applying in Green zones are discussed below.
- bars, brasseries, taverns and casinos:
- face coverings to be worn at all times inside except when drinking or eating;
- no capacity limit and the distance between tables may be reduced to 1 metre;
- maximum of 10 people from different addresses or the occupants of 3 households per table (indoors);
- maximum of 20 people per table (outdoors);
- Same restrictions as listed above for bars, etc. except that, subject to certain conditions, group bookings will also be authorized with no limit on the number of participants;
- museums, zoos, aquariums, etc:
- face coverings to be worn at all times when indoors;
- face coverings to be worn at all times indoors, except when drinking or eating;
- no limit on the number of patrons and physical distancing no longer required;
- events presenting outdoor performances:
- no limit on the number of patrons and physical distancing no longer required except certain large events;
- recreational or tourist places such as
arcades, indoor activities at thematic sites, amusement centres and
parks, water parks and youth hostels:
- certain conditions to be observed (see here); and
- indoor places used for an event-based or social
activity and games such as bowling, darts, billiards
and the like:
- certain conditions to be observed (see here).
As of November 15, 2021:
Restaurants, bars, brasseries, taverns and casinos: same restrictions as above but
- operators no longer required to keep a list of patrons;
- dancing and standing allowed;
- karaoke permitted (face coverings must be worn if the singer cannot respect a distance of 2 metres or is not behind a physical barrier);
Cinemas and events: same restrictions as above but
- dancing and standing allowed.
- No fixed limits on the number of customers in businesses : The restrictions on the number of customers based upon the floor area of the premises accessible to them have been removed. Masks remain obligatory for persons 10 years and older except when eating and drinking.
- Teleworking: Working remotely ("teleworking") is no longer to be preferred when possible but a hybrid of workplace attendance and remote working is still recommended.
- Working on-site: For businesses whose employees are returning to the workplace, certain measures to protect the health and safety of workers continue and can be found here (in French only).
Nunavik and Terres-cries-de-la-Baie-James
For information about the measures in force in Nunavik and Terres-cries-de-la-Baie-James, consult the websites of the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services and the Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay.
Those failing to respect the COVID-19 public health measures such as vaccine passports, social distancing, face coverings and gatherings (among others) may be subject to fines.
The Government of Québec has been generally satisfied with the province's progress in fighting the pandemic and intends that all restrictions will be lifted by the end of 2021 or early in 2022.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.