MONTREAL -- Organized sports will be allowed in Quebec starting March 26, but players will have to follow strict rules.

Games are ruled out and players can only practice non-contact sports for the time being. Fitness buffs will be happy to hear that gyms will also be reopened in red zones, but with some restrictions. 

Quebec's minister for sports, Isabelle Charest, announced the loosening of restrictions for physical actvity at a press conference Friday as the government aims to bring a sense of normal life back to the province. 

She said the reopneing of organized sports will be gradual and depending on how the second wave of the pandemic plays out. 


Under the new guidelines, residents in red zones will be able to visit the gym individually, in pairs, or with people in their own household, depending on the capacity as of March 26. Fitness centres will be required to maintain a log of visitors, according to the province.

People can also practice an outdoor sport with up to eight people or between people in your household. 

Extracurricular activities in group settings will be allowed as of March 15.


People living in orange zones can play sports outdoors with more people, with the new rules expanding the number of participants to 12. Indoor sports will be limited to eight people. Physical distancing measures still need to be followed under the new guidelines in both orange and red zones. 

While restrictions for sports will be relaxed, the minister urged all residents to not let their guard down as the pandemic is not over. 

“So I would encourage you all to ... respect the guidelines because we're almost there and as the premier often repeats it would be really unfortunate to stop being careful,” Charest said.

"This is a first phase of ending the lockdown and this is only the beginning. Other steps will follow if everything goes well." 

The announcement from the province comes as Quebec recorded 753 new cases of COVID-19, for a total of 296,143 since the start of the pandemic a year ago. Almost half of the new cases were found in Montreal, a COVID-19 hotspot. 

While the number of vaccinations administered in the last 24 hours rose by more than 10,000, only 7.3 per cent of the province has received their first shot. Variants of the coronavirus, which are believed to be able to spread more rapidly, are also rising, with 343 known cases province-wide.