MONTREAL -- Businesses in Quebec are reopening on Sundays, after being forced to close their doors on Jan. 2, 9 and 16.

This puts an end to a measure, among others, that had been put in place to try to limit the skyrocketing number of hospitalizations linked to COVID-19 fueled by the Omicron variant.

Ten days ago, Premier François Legault said he hoped to be able to announce the reopening of restaurant dining rooms, theatres and cinemas, among other venues, in the coming weeks.

The amateur sports community is also anxiously awaiting the reopening of their facilities and leagues.

The situation continues to improve slightly in Quebec hospitals.

According to data released on Saturday by the Ministry of Health, the number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 dropped from 3,351 to 3,295 in the space of 24 hours. However, there were 275 people in intensive care, 10 more than the day before.

While many are expecting health measures to be relaxed as the fifth wave of the novel coronavirus wanes in the next few weeks, Quebec City is still preparing to tighten the screws on those who are not vaccinated.

As of Monday, the vaccination passport will become mandatory for access to big-box stores, whose surface area is greater than 1,500 square meters, except for those whose main activity is the sale of groceries or pharmacy products.

The vaccination passport is already required at liquor and cannabis stores in the province.

The Legault government is also considering imposing a "health tax" on people who have not been vaccinated, but the premier said there will be a debate in the National Assembly on this issue before that comes into place.

The bill could be tabled as early as next month.

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Jan. 23, 2022.