More rules to be relaxed on Monday as Montreal becomes a yellow zone
MONTREAL -- Montrealers will have a new COVID-19 alert level on Monday and it will be all yellow.
Quebec's deconfinement plan is set to move forward and the change will come with a further loosening of restrictions, a week after the city went from red to orange.
So while Montrealers may just be getting used to dining on restaurant terrasses again and eating in dining rooms for the first time in almost a year, now bars, too, will be able to serve clients indoors, albeit limited to 50 per cent capacity.
“Many of us suffered economic loss that will take two or three years to come back from,” said Quebec Bar Owners Association spokesperson Jean-Jacques Beauchamp. “It's not every bar owner who has a terrasse. Some of us who do have a terrasse did not re-open because profitability was not there.”
There are other restrictions bar owners are facing, such as last call coming at 11 p.m. and doors needing to be closed by midnight. Beauchamp said that's a big problem with the Canadiens in the midst of a playoff run that will see them playing games on the west coast.
“The game starts at 9 p.m., takes roughly an hour per period, which brings us to midnight,” he said. “The third period will not be over at midnight.”
The Bar Owners Association recently wrote a letter to Premier Francois Legault asking permission to stay open until 2 a.m. for the Habs' first two games against Las Vegas. On Sunday, Legault responded by saying “I think we'll have to see with public health... if we can extend these hours.”
Other relaxed measures include permission to hold indoor gatherings between two households or eight people.
Psychologist Syd Miller said that the new freedom will go a long way for some.
“If I'm not particularly an anxious person, if I've never really had many of these issues, then really, just getting out and socializing is therapy,” he said.
But others could be facing some new issues as they enter the post-lockdown period.
“For those who have traditionally had more anxiety and social anxiety, the lockdown has been much worse. Because these were people who were nervous about being out in public, nervous about socializing,” he said. “For them to start feeling better, they're going to need to perhaps engage in some therapy, do some therapy with themselves to overcome what was already a problem before the pandemic.”
The change in alert level also applies to Laval and the South Shore.
Quebec's deconfinement plan currently calls for most of the province's regions to further relax to green alert levels by the end of the month.