Restrictions lifted in Quebec despite Canada's top doctors warning of a fourth wave

At a minute past midnight Sunday, more COVID-19 restrictions in Quebec were lifted including how late bars and restaurants could serve alcohol and festival capacities.

Bars and restaurants are now permitted to serve alcohol until 1 a.m. with closing time pushed to 2 a.m.

Ten people or three private residences can share a table and tables must remain two metres apart indoors when there are no partitions between them. Outdoor terrasses can seat 20 per table, and those tables must be a metre apart.

In indoor auditoriums and stadiums, the capacity is now 7,500 people with assigned seating (with one empty seat between people from different households), with sections divided into a maximum of 250 people per section. Mask-wearing is still mandatory inside while not seated.

For outdoor festivals, 15,000 people are now permitted to attend in pre-assigned seats or standing in 500-people sections. Two-metre distancing is required, and mask-wearing is recommended by public health when people are circulating. A monitor is required to keep an eye on all participants. For complete rules on festivals and events, visit the Quebec public health site.

The sports community was quick to respond.

In soccer, CF Montreal announced that it will be able to receive fans in all sections of Saputo Stadium (in compliance with physical distance rules) as of next Wednesday, Aug. 4, during its game against Atlanta United.

The CFL's Montreal Alouettes play its first game in Montreal on Aug. 27 against the Hamilton Tiger Cats.

The team said it was "extremely happy" with the new relaxations.

The Alouettes announced that individual tickets will be sold to the general public starting Monday morning.

Tennis Canada said that the National Bank Open, which will be held from Aug. 7 to 15 at the IGA Stadium, is maintaining a maximum capacity of 5,000 spectators per match in Montreal. The centre court can usually accommodate up to 12,000 people. 

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, released modelling on Friday that indicates cases are beginning to rise as a result of the more contagious Delta variant, but there is still time to flatten the curve.

On Friday, Quebec reported 78 more Delta cases of the 125 new COVID-19 cases. Quebec's total number of Delta cases (356), is at the low end of Canada's overall numbers (9,841). Ontario leads the way with 4,565 total, followed by Alberta (2,004) and BC (1,664).

Epidemiologist Dr. Christopher Labos said the number one way to protect against a Delta-driven fourth wave of COVID-19 is to convince Quebecers who have yet to get a vaccine to do so immediately.

“If you're not vaccinated, keep your distance from other people,” he said. “The problem with COVID is not just that it's infectious, but that a significant portion of the people who get it get seriously ill and end up in hospital.”

-- with files from The Canadian Press.

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