On Tuesday, Premier François Legault seemed more upbeat than he had in a long time as he set out a timetable for the province’s reopening.
What’s more, why wouldn’t he be? Quebec has been the first province to issue a full-fledged strategy with dates to relax restrictions after enforcing a curfew on most of the province since January, closing down schools in some areas and keeping restaurants, bars, and gyms closed.
Quebec has been the first province to issue a full-fledged strategy with dates to relax restrictions after enforcing a curfew on most of the province since January, closing down schools in some areas and keeping restaurants, bars, and gyms closed.
The province will also be the first to let fans back into an NHL arena on May 29, with 2,500 tickets available for Game 6 of the Leafs-Canadiens playoff series (if the Habs haven’t already won).
Gyms and indoor dining will reopen a few days later, on May 31, if all goes well.
Most regions will be out of the so-called red and orange levels of restrictions by the middle of June, Legault said, and into the yellow level, which allows people from two different households to gather indoors and bars to reopen.
However, experts and even Montreal‘s own public health officer, who has helped the city prevent the third wave, have expressed reservations about Quebec‘s proposal.
Quebec has been subjected to some of the most stringent regulations in the world, and the timeline clearly offered a much-needed sense of optimism to a beleaguered public.
In general, Quebec is on the right track, with regular events, hospitalizations, and deaths all on the decline, and the latest predictions from the INESSS, Quebec’s health research institute, indicate the trend will continue.
It’s a remarkable turnaround for the province with the country’s highest death rate per capita.
Legault said in the days and weeks leading up to the announcement that he preferred Saskatchewan’s strategy, in which the removal of restrictions is linked to vaccination rates.
But, in the end, Quebec’s plan is a date-based schedule, with the hope that rising vaccination rates and improved hospital conditions would cause restrictions to be progressively lifted.