Quebec Omicron restrictions COVID-19

Quebec to cut capacity at stores, bars, restaurants to 50%, dancing forbidden again

The number of new cases in the province on Friday is expected to top 3,700.

UPDATED 8:30 p.m. In a press conference this evening, Quebec Premier François Legault announced that as of Monday, Dec. 20, 50% capacity limits will return to all businesses including retail stores, bars, restaurants, cinemas, theatres and concert venues as well as churches, where vaccination passports will be necessary for entry. Dancing, karaoke and office parties are being prohibited across Quebec once again. Private indoor gatherings will also be limited to 10, after being raised to 20 on Dec. 7.

Legault, alongside Health Minister Christian Dubé and public health director Horacio Arruda, said that based on pandemic projections — particularly in light of the Omicron variant — hospitalizations will overwhelm the health system unless serious measures are taken ahead of the holiday break. They recommend that everyone cut their contacts by 50%.

The interval between second and third vaccine doses in the province is being reduced from six months to three months. Unlike Ontario and Saskatechewan, Quebec has not opted to make everyone over 18 eligible for booster shots. Currently only Q over 65 are able to make an appointment, while those over 60 will be able to make appointments as of Dec. 27. The rollout should accelerate in the new year, according to Dubé.

Quebec cutting capacity at businesses, bars, restaurants to 50%, dancing forbidden again

Today there were 2,736 new cases of COVID-19 in Quebec, the highest daily case count since Jan. 9. Legault said that tomorrow’s number will be roughly 3,700.

Yesterday Montreal public health director Dr. Mylène Drouin said that there are 95 cases of the Omicron variant in Montreal. Studies show that the new variant is significantly more transmissible than Delta, with each infected person potentially transmitting the virus to 4 people as opposed to 1.

On Monday, rapid tests will be available free of charge to the general public at pharmacies across Quebec.

This afternoon the Montreal Canadiens announced that fans are being barred from tonight’s game, on the recommendation of public health. The team said that they’ve received assurances from the government that partial capacity will be allowed once again sometime in January.

For more on the COVID-19 situation in Quebec, please click here.

For the latest in news, please visit the News section.