COVID-19 update – Vaccine lottery kicks off, international borders to open


Allyson Beauregard

QUÉBEC – Across the province, COVID case counts remain low compared to the peak of the third wave, but community transmission is ongoing. With case numbers increasing, Premier Francois Legault announced on August 5 that a vaccine passport system is imminent as the province sits on the verge of a fourth wave.
Instead of lockdowns, the passport system will allow only fully-vaccinated individuals to access
certain locations and services, like restaurants and gyms. Everyone will be able to access essential
services regardless of their vaccination status, however. Originally, Legault said the system would only come into effect after September 1 if the epidemiological situation warranted it. More information on
how the system will work is expected to be announced in the coming days.
The province has been further loosening restrictions for restaurants, bars and festivals/events as
vaccination rates increase.
Since August 1, bars, restaurants and microbreweries have been able to serve alcohol until 1 am, but must close by 2 am.
Stadiums, venues and festivals can accommodate 15,000 people outdoors (up from 5,000) and 7,500 indoors, with a maximum of 500 people per independent section (up from 3,500 people with 250 per section).
For events where people are seated in designated spaces (e.g., sports, ceremonies, meetings, etc.), 250 people are allowed inside and 500 outside, compared to the previous limit of 50 and 100 people respectively.
Health regulations still apply, with distancing required and mask wearing mandatory indoors when people are moving around.
A number of mobile vaccination clinics were set up in the Pontiac throughout July and early August for the first and second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines with the following upcoming: August 12 from 10 am to 3 pm at the Club de l’âge d’Or in Fort Coulonge and August 17 from 10 am to 4:30 pm at the Otter Lake Recreation Centre.
Pontiac residents can also go to the walk-in vaccination clinic at the Campbell’s Bay RA Hall Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. It offers Pfizer and Moderna.
A four week interval between first and second doses is required.
Québec has introduced a vaccine lottery to encourage residents to get vaccinated before the school year begins. Four draws for $150,000 will take place weekly (every Friday) throughout August for adults who have received their first dose; the first was August 6. There is also a grand prize of $1 million, as well as many other prizes to be awarded in September for fully-vaccinated adults. The lottery is also open to those between 12 and 17 years old, with school grant prizes of between $10,000 and $20,000. More information is available online by searching ‘Being vaccinated, it’s a Win Contest’.
Québec is now offering a third dose of mRNA vaccines to those who want to travel to countries that don’t recognize their full vaccination status if they received a mix of COVID vaccines. However, the onus is put on the person to seek appropriate medical advice and weigh the risks of getting a third dose.
Borders to open
In mid-July, the federal government announced its intention to change the rules for those entering the country.
As of August 9, fully-vaccinated American citizens can travel to
Canada for non-essential reasons without needing to quarantine or stay in a government-approved hotel. As of September 7, Canada intends to open its borders to all fully-vaccinated travelers for non-essential reasons, provided they meet select criteria.
However, the feds continue to discourage Canadians from travelling outside of Canada for
non-essential reasons.