The Provincial Government announced the partial lifting of several health measures for this coming Monday, Jan 31, including the reopening of restaurant dining rooms at half capacity and the reintroduction of youth sports.
“Hospitalizations are not going down quickly,” said Premier François Legault, stating that the goal in announcing the changes is to balance pressure on the worn-out healthcare system with the public pressure for the lifting of restrictions.
Legault announced two sets of changes to come over the next two weeks. On January 31, private gatherings will be allowed in homes again for up to four people or the members of two family bubbles. Restaurants and cafeterias will be allowed to reopen dining rooms, with the same limit placed on seating up to 50 per cent capacity.
Visitor limits at long term care homes (CHSLDs) and private seniors’ residences (RPAs) will also be increased, with residents in CHSLDs permitted up to two visitors (one at a time) and those in RPAs up to four (two at a time.)
Next Monday’s changes also include the reintroduction of youth sports in groups of up to 25, but competitions remain off-limits for the time being.
As of Feb. 7 theatres, performance venues, and sports venues will be able to reopen at 50 per cent capacity up to a maximum of 500 people, and places of worship will also be allowed back at 50 per cent capacity up to 250 people. All of these locations will still require the vaccine passport, but Legault noted that funerals will not require the proof of vaccination, although capacity will be capped at 50 people.
“We need to go slow,” the premier said, “there is a lot of uncertainty.”
The province reported 85 new deaths linked to COVID-19 on Tuesday, for a total of 12,936 since the start of the pandemic. There were also 3,278 people in hospital with the virus, a decrease of 21 compared to Monday’s information.
The total number of people in intensive care remained unchanged from Monday, at 263.
In the Eastern Townships there were 156 people in hospital with Covid, 23 of whom were in intensive care. The number of deaths in the region jumped up to 490, an increase of 16 from Monday’s report.