COVID-19 in Quebec: What you need to know this weekend
Some gyms say they will be protesting today by opening illegally
- On Sunday, Quebec reported 2,895 people in hospital (a decrease of 80 from the previous day), including 233 in intensive care (an increase of two from the previous day).
- The province reported 2,838 new cases of COVID-19 and 11 deaths.
- Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 859,468 confirmed cases and 13,190 people have died.
- The province also reported Sunday a total of 17,844,136 doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered, including 57,639 in the last 24 hours.
- 90 per cent of the eligible population in the province (ages five and up) have received one dose of the vaccine, 84 per cent have received two doses, and 44 per cent have received three doses.
The new cases are those reported to the Quebec government only. They are believed to be an underrepresentation of the virus's spread, given the limited availability of PCR tests and use of home testing kits.
Several gyms across Quebec say they will be protesting government restrictions by illegally opening their doors on Sunday.
"Every time restrictions are put into place, we are always the first to close," said Karim El Hlimi, the co-owner of the Gym Le Vestiaire, in a video posted to Instagram. "Even though the rates of infections are low in gyms, we are always made out to be the big bad wolves."
While discussions about health and mental health have been at the forefront during the pandemic, what's been left out is the importance of physical activity that's needed to maintain our health, he said.
The gyms have been using the hashtag #lasantéenpremier, health comes first, to connect with each other on social media. Some include l'Empire Fitness in Lachine, Le MissFit in Brossard, and CrossFit in Quebec City.
El Hlimi said gyms will be respecting the same health measures that were in place earlier on in the pandemic.
Gyms acting in defiance of the current health measures in place could have their requests for provincial aid cancelled, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Economy said. The funds are only given out on the condition businesses forced to close adhere to the ongoing restrictions.
Since then, the owner of CrossFit in Quebec City said they will be going ahead with a protest outside their gym instead. Le Vestiaire is doing the same, videos posted to Instagram show.
An association representing gym owners in Quebec says it has been trying to open a dialogue with the province about reopening, but without any luck.
"It's not just that the answers aren't satisfactory. It's no answers, no listening, no talking," said Gabriel Hardy, the spokesperson for the Quebec section of the Fitness Industry Council of Canada, in an interview with the Canadian Press.
Also the owner of Le Chalet gym in Quebec City, Hardy said the government has been ignoring the issue, "despite the fact that we have sent letters, that we have communicated regularly, not only with public health, but with the Ministry of the Economy, the Ministry of Labour, and the sub-ministry of Sport."
The association said it does not endorse announcements made by some to re-open illegally.
Last week the province announced a gradual reopening plan that will allow restaurants to reopen on Monday, followed by theatres and places of worship in the following week, among other loosened restrictions.
Restaurants, youth sports, and indoors gatherings permitted Monday
Starting Monday, restaurants will be allowed to reopen dining rooms for up to four people from four different addresses or a maximum of two family bubbles per table. However, they will have to stop serving alcohol at 11 p.m. and will have to close at midnight.
The same numbers will apply to indoor private gatherings, which will be permitted after being banned since New Year's Eve.
Extracurricular sports will also return in elementary schools, high schools, CEGEPs and universities on Monday. Participants over the age of 13 will have to show their vaccine passport.
Organized sports outside of school will be allowed only for those under the age of 18. A maximum of 25 participants will be allowed. While practices will be permitted, competitive matches are still on hold.
Some hotels in Quebec now mandating vaccination
A number of hotels in Canada are implementing mandatory COVID-19 vaccination among their employees, including some of the most popular hotels in Quebec.
The Fairmont chain is now demanding its employees be fully vaccinated by April 11. That includes the 500 employees at Quebec City's Chateau Frontenac.
The Manoir Richelieu in the Charlevoix is also part of the Fairmont chain.
André Roy, the Quebec representative with the Quebec Hospitality Association, said the goal is to protect hotel employees and clientele.
Those who don't want to get vaccinated must provide two negative tests per week, at their expense, to stay on the job.
Top COVID-19 stories
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- Quebec was among the first to test wastewater for COVID-19. Then it stopped funding the research
- Quebec announces plan to reopen restaurants, cinemas in coming weeks
- As Quebec moves to ease COVID-19 restrictions, daily death toll remains in double digits
- What to do if you think you have the Omicron variant
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
- New or worsening cough.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Sudden loss of smell without a stuffy nose.
- Gastrointestinal issues (such as nausea, diarrhea, vomiting).
- Sore throat
- Generalized muscle pain.
- Loss of appetite.
If you think you may have COVID-19, the government asks that you call 1‑877‑644‑4545 to schedule an appointment at a screening clinic.
To reserve an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine, you can go on the online portal quebec.ca/covidvaccine. You can also call 1-877-644-4545.
- An earlier version of this story indicated that the education minister said no schools or classrooms had been closed to COVID-19 outbreaks. In fact, the minister was referring only to schools or classrooms among those his ministry had surveyed.Jan 24, 2022 5:23 PM ET
With files from La Presse Canadienne and Radio-Canada