MONTREAL -- Much to the relief of bar and nightclub owners, dancing and karaoke will be allowed in private venues as of Nov. 15 as long as people wear masks, Quebec announced Tuesday. 

Dancing in bars had been banned since March 2020. 

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé made the announcement during a news conference in which other health measures are being announced. The vaccine passport will remain mandatory. 

“It will be finally possible to dance and customers will no longer have to remain seated at their table,” said Dubé.

Karaoke singers will, however, have to follow one of the new rules: maintain a distance of at least two metres from the crowd, remain behind a physical barrier, or wear a mask.

Bars and restaurants will also no longer be required to maintain a register of clients for contact tracing purposes.

Wearing a face cover remains mandatory in all other situations in restaurants and bars, except when eating or drinking. 

HIGH SCHOOLS, TELEWORK

High school students will no longer be required to wear a face mask when they are seated in the classroom as part of the newly relaxed health measures coming into effect on Nov. 15.

Wearing the mask is still mandatory for common areas and for moving from one place to the other.

"The epidemiological situation is relatively under control," Dubé said. 

When asked why the province isn't waiting for vaccinations to be available to younger children before loosening restrictions, public health director Horacio Arruda said it had to do with low infection rates and high vaccination rates.

"We think it's acceptable to take away that mask at secondary school," he said.

Public health is also dropping its recommendation for teleworking and encouraging the return to the office.

"It will be up to each employer to determine the formula that suits them," the health minister said.

Face-to-face return will be possible, but mixed formulas allowing the continuation of teleworking will be recommended, the health ministry added in a news release. 

Dubé added that Treasure Board President Sonia LeBel will have an update in the coming days with regards to public servants.

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES THIS WINTER

Dubé also made some announcements regarding outdoor activities this coming winter.

In order to allow them to operate at full capacity, a vaccination passport will be required for all activities requiring the use of a ski lift including downhill skiing and tubing.

People must wear a face cover in closed gondolas, though and scarf and neck warmer will be considered acceptable.

A vaccination passport will not be required for outdoor winter sports and activities such as cross-country skiing, hockey, though participants must be able to keep one metre apart, and masks will be required in indoor facilities, like chalets and cabins. 

A vaccination passport and mask will be required to access catering areas and bars.

Masks continue to be required inside gyms or anywhere people are taking part in activities, though they can be removed for intense physical activity providing everyone keep a distance of two metres. Vaccine passports continue to be mandatory.

-- This is a developing story that will be updated.