Gatineau turns corner on COVID-19; restrictions easing Monday

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Residents in Gatineau and parts of the Outaouais region of Quebec still under strict COVID-19 measures will soon see an easing of restrictions.

Premier François Legault announced Tuesday that the special emergency measures in Gatineau, Pontiac, and the MRC des Collines will be lifted Monday, allowing high schools and some non-essential businesses to reopen, including cinemas, boutiques and stores, and personal and esthetic care services.

The nightly curfew will also begin at 9:30 p.m. instead of 8 p.m. as the region moves to the red zone.

Restrictions in Papineau and the Vallée de la Gatineau were eased on Monday. They remain in place in Gatineau and the remainder of the Outaouais for the time being; however, the province did allow elementary schools to reopen across the region Monday.

On Tuesday, Legault thanked residents for their efforts.

"In Outaouais, the population has succeeded in turning the situation around," he said. "Thank you to all the people from Outaouais for their efforts over these past weeks."

Legault also urged residents of Ontario to remain in their home province and not visit stores in the Outaouais region.

"We also ask our police officers to verify the arrival of people from Ontario. It's important that they follow their government's rule and that they don't go to stores in Outaouais."

The CISSS de l'Outaouais announced 27 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and said there are 294 active cases across the region, 232 of which are in Gatineau. Two weeks ago, the region had 650 active cases. There are 51 people in regional hospitals with COVID-19, eight of whom are in intensive care.

In a press release, the CISSS de l'Outaouais said that while the situation is improving, residents should remain vigilant.

"[W]e urge the public to be very cautious as the situation could quickly deteriorate if sanitary measures are not maintained. The application of sanitary measures remains the best way to protect ourselves while the vaccination coverage of the population is constantly improving," the health unit said. "Therefore, if you have not already done so, we strongly encourage the adult population to make an appointment to be vaccinated."

Special emergency measures (in effect until Monday, May 17)

  • Curfew in effect from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m;
  • High schools are closed (e-learning);
  • Private indoor or outdoor gatherings are prohibited;
  • Elementary schools open
  • High schools remain closed;
  • Educational childcare services (day care centres, childcare centres, and family childcare services) remain open;
  • Educational childcare services remain open;
  • The closing of cinemas, theaters and museums;
  • The closing of restaurants (except for delivery and take-out);
  • The closing of non-essential businesses (delivery and curbside pick-up are possible);
  • Businesses are not allowed to sell non-essential products;
  • A limit of 25 people in places of worship;
  • The closure of indoor sports and recreation facilities, including gyms;
  • Outdoor sports or recreational activities permitted only with people residing at the same address or by a group of 8 people with distance. Masks must be worn in any group of 2 or more people who do not reside at the same address, unless the people remain seated at a 2 m distance from each other.

Level 4–Maximum Alert (red) measures 

  • Curfew in effect from 9:30 p.m. to 5 a.m.;
  • Private indoor or outdoor gatherings are prohibited;
  • Elementary schools and high schools are open;
  • Funerals are limited to a maximum of 25 people, excluding funeral home workers and volunteers inside or outside the funeral home. A attendance register must be kept and a procedure mask must be worn. No alcohol or food can be served;
  • Place of worship are limited to 25 participants. This maximum number of people also applies for funerals and weddings;
  • Restaurant dining rooms are closed. Delivery, takeout, and drive-through orders only. Only delivery is possible during the curfew;
  • Bar activities are suspended. Microbreweries and distilleries, closed only for on-site eating or drinking;
  • Museums, zoos, aquariums, etc are open with measures in place;
  • Cinemas are open with measures in place. No more than 250 people are allowed per screen. Masks are mandatory and food and drink cannot be consumed in the halls. All patrons must remain seated. A distance of 2 metres must be maintained at all times between people who do not live at the same address; 
  • Individuals, groups of two and members of the same household are permitted to engage in indoor, contact-free activities limited to sports carried out in pools, skating rinks and facilities for playing tennis and badminton. These facilities must be supervised; 
  • Physical fitness centres (gyms) are closed; 
  • Contact-free sports and recreational activities are permitted outdoors in public places with members of the same household or in groups of up to 8 people from different households; 
  • Businesses, stores and boutiques are open. One person per household is recommended; 
  • Spas are open. The indoor areas of spas must close, except for pools and personal care services. Reservations are mandatory and a customer register must be kept. A distance of 2 metres must be maintained at all times between people who do not live at the same address; 
  • Personal and esthetic care is open.