Mask mandates to end mid-April

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Allyson Beauregard

QUEBEC – With COVID hospitalizations steadily decreasing and less health employees off for pandemic-related reasons, the province has proceeded with its gradual deconfinement plan, with some tweaks along the way.

This includes lifting some measures two days ahead of schedule (March 12 instead of 14) and introducing a plan for gradually lifting mask requirements.

Masks are expected to be phased out by mid-April in public spaces, excluding public transit, where use will end in May at the earliest. However, they will continue to be required in some workplaces (rules to be developed) and health settings like seniors residences. The province is also expected to end its state of emergency later this month.

The province’s vaccine passport system has also been gradually phased out over the last month and will not be required in most places by March 12. However, residents are encouraged to keep their proof of vaccination in case another wave hits.

As of March 7, masks are no longer required when elementary and secondary students are seated in classrooms and in before or after school daycare, although they must be worn on the bus, in common areas and when moving around.

On February 21, capacity limits were dropped for all businesses, except amphitheatres which have to operate at 50%; places of worship are restricted to 50% capacity, or a maximum of 500 people; and residents of private senior’s residences can have up to 10 visitors per day each.

As of February 28, theaters and places of worship could accommodate full capacity, bars and casinos could reopen at half capacity, telecommuting isn’t mandatory, and residents of CHSLDs can have a maximum of ten visitors per day each. Schools could resume competitions and tournaments, with no limits on the number of participants.

On March 12, bars, restaurants, casinos and amphitheatres can resume 100% capacity, and in all seniors residences, visitor registries and vaccine passports won’t be required.