Casinos, amusement parks, water parks, spas, hotels and bars can all reopen in Quebec
MONTREAL -- Casinos, amusement parks, water parks, spas, hotels and bars have been given the green light to reopen in Quebec, effective immediately.
It's the latest phase of reopening in Quebec since the pandemic began in March, which closed all activities and most businesses throughout the province.
Festivals and other big events, overnight camps and combat-related sporting events will remain shuttered for now.
Quebec's director of public health, Horacio Arruda, alongside Montreal public health director Mylene Drouin, made the announcement in Montreal on Thursday afternoon.
"We are truly in a significant decrease everywhere in Quebec, and even in the Montreal region," said Arruda. "We are now at a turning point in the reopening of activities."
Physical distancing and hygiene measures will remain in place, said Arruda. These reopened sectors will have to follow strict guidelines, including maintaining two metres of physical distancing and increasing hygiene measures.
"If you go to the bar, you will have to be two metres from everybody else," said Arruda, saying people who don't live together should be seating and not crowded together or dancing close to each other.
"I think it's the right time to deconfine actually -- but please, please, please, please, please wash your hands and wear your mask," he said.
Respiratory etiquette, including wearing masks, was also reiterated.
"It's very important that we have this habit, that we develop this reflex," he said.
Masks are not mandatory but Arruda said, "It's something that we're looking at very closely."
"We prefer to convince people," he said.
General and sector-specific guides are available on the province's workplace safety board website (CNESST).
Montreal public health director Mylene Drouin said public health officials are maintaining a proactive approach and maintaining their testing capacity this summer.
Anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms must seek out testing, she said, adding that for each case, public health is taking a "very intensive approach," which includes contact tracing.
"We're putting out small fires, but there are way fewer in the community," said Drouin. "We're at the bottom of the curve."
Quebec will no longer provide daily updates and will only provide COVID-19 statistics on cases, hospitalizations and deaths weekly going forward, with the next update on July 2. Arruda said that they are making the change due to fewer cases and hospitalizations.
Arruda said it is common for epidemiologists to publish weekly as data can fluctuate from day to day, and weekly updates better establish trends.
"It's not a question of hiding anything," he said. "If there's a situation in one area, and anything needs to be communicated, it will be communicated…. Be assured that if there's a specific situation or transmission in a community, people will be made aware, I want to be very clear on this."