Quebecers begin life under a curfew today, as the Quebec Government implements new lockdown measures in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The four-week curfew will require residents in Gatineau and across Quebec to remain at home between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. People who violate the overnight curfew risk a fine of $1,000 to $6,000.
"We all need to stay home as much as possible for four weeks," said Premier Francois Legault on Wednesday while announcing a "shock therapy" of measures.
"Police officers will make sure everyone respects the rules."
The Quebec government issued an Emergency Alert at 6:30 p.m. to remind residents that a curfew is in force, starting Saturday night.
"Citizens are prohibited from leaving their homes or yards between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m., under penalty of fines," said the Emergency Alert sent to cellphones. "Police surveillance has been increased. Stay home and observe the curfew to protect lives."
The MRC des Collines de l'Outaouais police says its officers will enforce the new curfew in its territory.
"Any citizen who is not at his/her residence between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. will be considered in violation, except for specific derogations," said the MRC des Collines police, noting essential workers and essential travel for medical reasons are exemptions.
"It will be up to each citizen to demonstrate that he or she is covered by one of the authorized derogations."
The MRC des Collines police said in an email Saturday afternoon that their patrol cars would have flashing lights on to increase visibility and remind residents about the new rules.
"As always, our police officers will show judgment and discernment in their interventions. The objective is to avoid all forms of gatherings in order to minimize any risk of contagion from COVID," the MRC des Collines police said.
Under the lockdown rules, Grocery stores and depanneurs must close at 7:30 p.m. every day to allow shoppers time to get home. Pharmacies and gas stations will be permitted to remain open between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.
Other measures put in place during the post-Christmas lockdown remain in effect, including the closing of restaurants for indoor dining and shopping in stores.
Speaking on CTV Morning Live Friday morning, Quebec MNA Christopher Skeete said Ottawa residents must follow the rules in Quebec.
"People from Ontario coming into Quebec will be bound by the curfew, so don't come to Quebec after 8 p.m.," said Skeete, MNA for Sainte-Rose.
"Other than that, the border between the two provinces should stay open, and we just ask people to maintain social distancing and keep being careful."
Here is a look at the new restrictions and what's open and what's closed during the four-week curfew:
Curfew begins: Saturday, Jan 9
Curfew ends: Feb 8
The Quebec government says between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m., residents will be prohibited from moving outside their place of residence, with exceptions for health care, humanitarian reasons or essential work.
- Going out to walk the dog
- A person whose presence in the workplace is essential
- A person who must obtain the necessary medications following a medial appointment
- A person who must go to or return from a hospital, a clinic or a dentist's office
- A person who must visit a sick or injured parent
- A student who must participate in a face-to-face evening class or go to a laboratory in a recognized school
- A person returning home on a night flight from a work-related trip abroad
- A parent who must accompany a sick child to the hospital
- A parent who must accompany an adolescent to his work
Private gatherings indoors or outdoors are prohibited
Visitors from another address are not permitted at your home
Single individuals are permitted to visit another address
One informal caregiver is permitted
TRAVEL BETWEEN REGIONS
The Quebec government says travel between cities and regions is not recommended, with exceptions for students, workers, shared custody agreements and the transport of goods.
Pre-school and elementary school students will return to class on Jan. 11.
All students must wear a face covering at all times in hallways, common areas and on school grounds. Students in grades 5 and 6 must wear a mask while in class.
High school students will remain at home for online learning until Jan 15. Students will return to class on Jan 18.
Masks are mandatory at all times in the school and on school grounds.
EDUCATIONAL CHILDCARE SERVICES (DAYCARES)
Daycare services can operate with the maximum number of children indicated on their licence
Home childcare services can receive the regular number of children.
Educational childcare services will be closed only in the event a COVID-19 outbreak is declared at the facility.
Alpine ski resorts will remain open, but are not allowed to offer evening skiing until Feb. 8.
The Quebec government says sports and recreational activities must be limited to the family bubble. Activities such as walking, downhill skiing and cross-country skiing is allowed, as long as it's not in a group.
All businesses must close their doors no later than 7:30 p.m. in order to comply with the 8 p.m. curfew.
Pharmacies and gas stations may remain open according to their usual hours. Pharmacies will only be able to sell drugs and essentials.
The Quebec government says businesses considered non-essential must remain closed until Feb. 8., with staff required to work from home. Businesses with permission to open must offer only goods and services considered essential.
Businesses can remain open for online purchases and pick-up at the door.
Teleworking is mandatory for people working in offices from Dec. 17, 2020 to Feb. 8, 2021, with the exception of workers who presence is deemed necessary by the employer.
Dining rooms must remain closed
Restaurants can remain open for delivery, take-out and drive-thru only. The Quebec government says during the curfew period, restaurants may remain open for delivery only.
Bars, brasseries, taverns and casinos must remain closed.
Museums, cinemas, theatres remain closed
Personal care settings must remain closed
Saunas and spas must remain closed, except for massage therapy treatments provided.
CITY OF GATINEAU SERVICES
- All cultural programming shows are cancelled
- Libraries in Gatineau will close at 7 p.m.
- Temporary schedule for l'ecocentre de Hull, l'ecocentre de l'Aeroparc, Centre de Transbordement
- A maximum of 25 people on outdoor rinks in Gatineau
- No organized hockey games on an outdoor skating rink
The National Capital Commission says Gatineau Park will remain open during Quebec's curfew and lockdown.
The following changes will be in effect from Jan. 9 to Feb. 8
- All Gatineau Park parking lots will be closed at 7 p.m. and reopen at 5 a.m.
- The Visitor Centre in Gatineau Park will be temporarily closed
- Day Shelters will be open on a first-come, first serve basis
- People with reserved camping accommodations in the park will be able to access them
Camp Fortune will remain open during the four-week curfew. The ski hills will be open until 7 p.m., seven days a week for the duration of the curfew.
Camp Fortune says it will have a last run call at 7 p.m., so both guests and staff leave the property by 7:30 p.m.