Québec Unveils Its Reopening Plan and Begins Phasing Out Vaccine Passports, Capacity Limits and Mandatory Remote Working | Stikeman Elliott LLP

Recap

In December 2021, the Québec Government ordered a number of businesses to suspend their activities (including restaurant dining rooms), imposed capacity limits on businesses permitted to remain open, required non-essential stores to close on Sundays and put in place a curfew. In January 2022, the curfew and Sunday closures ended and restaurants were permitted to reopen their dining rooms, but the Vaccine Passport was extended to SAQs, SQDCs, and large commercial establishments.

On February 7 and 14, 2022, certain restrictions were lifted but capacity limits and vaccine passports remained. The Québec government has now announced its decision to phase out these requirements as set out below. In addition, as of February 28, 2022, remote working will no longer be mandatory.

February and March 2022 Reopening Plan

The information set out here is based upon the Government’s summary of the restrictions† The main changes announced include the gradual elimination of vaccine passport and capacity limits and reopening of those businesses which remain closed such as bars and casinos.

Note that the Government provides a chart summarizing the restrictions and dates for lifting them

Detailed Information

Since October 2020, the Government of Québec has tightened and loosened restrictions on businesses as COVID-19 cases increased and diminished. Most of the restrictions on businesses were lifted in November 2021 throughout Québec (with continuing special measures in force in Terres-cries-de-la-Baie-James and in Nunavik). Certain business closures and restrictions were reimposed in December and January and now there is a plan for all businesses to reopen and restrictions to be eliminated by the middle of March, 2022.

Québec’s public health state of emergency continues to be extended (currently to February 18, 2022) by the Québec Minister of Health and Social Services, who is empowered under this order to take measures necessary to protect public health.

The recommended measures for workplaces throughout Québec are established by the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la health and de la security du travail (see French summary of workplace measures

Rapid antigen tests for personal use are available at no cost with limits on the number of tests each person may obtain. Lord is more information on testing

This post highlights the restrictions on business and will be updated as Québec’s pandemic response evolves. See the Government’s summary of the restrictions on other activities such as education, sports and meetings, among others (click on headings on the left).

Vaccine Passports (Phasing out in March 2022)

Since September 1, 2021, Québec has required a vaccination passport to gain access to non-essential activities and businesses. The vaccination passport is mandatory for everyone 13 and older. Here is the full list of places and activities requiring the vaccine passport and the dates when this requirement will be lifted. 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 passport is not required for access to essential services such as education (primary, secondary or post-secondary) or for museums and libraries.

The vaccination passport will no longer be required for the following:

As of February 16, 2022

  • Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) stores (liquor stores);
  • Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) stores (cannabis stores);
  • large commercial establishments and vehicle repair and maintenance centers.

As of March 14, 2022

  • All places and activities, except international travel.

Current Restrictions and Scheduled Re-openings

See the Government’s Summary of all the Restrictions

Restaurants:

  • open at 50% capacity
  • mandatory vaccine passport
  • limit of 4 persons or the occupants of 2 residences at a table
  • midnight closing and food and beverage sales to cease at 11 pm
  • 1m distance between tables

As of February 21, 2022

  • reservations for social activities such as receptions, banquets permitted with vaccine passport for groups of no more than 50 people

Restaurants, Bars, Taverns and Casinos

Bars, taverns and casinos
As of February 28, 2022

  • may open at 50% capacity; patrons to remain seated
  • 1 am closing with food and beverage service to end at midnight

Restaurants, Bars, Taverns and Casinos
As of March 14, 2022

  • no capacity limits including for table
  • no mandatory closing time
  • self-service buffets allowed
  • dancing and karaoke activities allowed
  • vaccine passport no longer required

Recreational and tourist places

Biodome, planetariums, insectariums, Botanical Gardens. aquariums, zoos

  • open at 50% capacity
  • mandatory vaccine passport and face covering except to eat and drink

Recreation centers (arcades, water parks, amusement centers and amusement parks, and other thematic sites), bowling alleys and similar games/activities
As of February 21, 2022

  • open at 50% capacity
  • mandatory vaccine passport

Indoor billiards, darts and similar games/activities
As of February 21, 2022

  • open at 50% capacity
  • mandatory vaccine passport

All recreational and tourist places
As of March 14, 2022

Movie theaters and rooms or halls for performing arts, including broadcast venues

  • open at 50% capacity
  • mandatory vaccine passport
  • no intermission
  • outdoor: maximum 5,000 people

Inside events/activities
As of February 28, 2022

  • fewer than 10,000 attendees: no capacity limit
  • more than 10,000 attendees: open at 50% capacity with mandatory vaccine passport

All events and activities
As of March 14, 2022

  • dance floors open
  • no capacity limits

Saunas and spas

As of March 14, 2022

gym:

As of March 14, 2022

Remote working will no longer be mandatory as of February 28, 2022 although a hybrid method continues to be recommended.

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

Going Forward

As set out here, the Government of Québec has modified the COVID-19 restrictions in place and will continue to monitor the situation closely. This post is updated regularly when the Government rules are modified.

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