Horacio Arruda

Quebec government won’t reduce auditorium distancing to 1 metre just yet

“1.5 metres right now is already a compromise.”

In a press conference this afternoon, Quebec public health director Horacio Arruda responded to a reporter’s question about show producers and performing arts promoters appealing to the government to allow larger shows by reducing the distancing for auditorium seating from 1.5 to 1 metre and to increase capacity past 250.

“Since the very beginning of the pandemic, we’ve gone progressively because I think that it is important to learn to crawl before you learn to walk,” Horacio Arruda said regarding auditorium distancing in Quebec. “Right now we’re going from 50 to 250 people. The 1.5-metre rule is already, compared to 2 metres, a slackening [in the guidelines]. So in the short term, let’s go with what we have. Let’s see the effects. Are we going to have outbreaks associated  with performances? I trust that if people respect the guidelines and are wearing a mask when they move around — and that the promoters who have the performances are respecting the guidelines — if we can show that there’s no outbreak then we will be able to slacken the guidelines even more. That’s what we did with bars. There were issues, but we didn’t close down the bars, we left them open so we can live with adjustments. And right now, I think that the short term answer is that we have already made an important step to increase from 50 to 250 people. Let’s try [gatherings at] 250 people before going to more — 1.5 metres right now is already a compromise.” ■

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