Montreal·Updated

COVID-19 in Quebec: What you need to know Monday

Restaurants across the province will be able to welcome customers back to their dining rooms as of Monday. Restaurants were ordered to shut down last month, as part of sweeping restrictions aiming to curb the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Here's what you need to know.

Restaurant dining rooms can reopen today, with some restrictions

Alex Vachon, right, prepares to have lunch at a café in Montreal, as restaurants in Quebec are allowed to reopen their dining rooms. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)
  • On Monday, Quebec reported 2,888 people in hospital (a decrease of seven from the previous day), including 223 in intensive care (a decrease of 10 from the previous day).
  • The province reported 2,423 new cases of COVID-19 and 33 deaths.
  • Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 861,891 confirmed cases and 13,223 people have died.
  • The province also reported Monday a total of 17,685,239 doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered, including 42,063 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 45 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.

Restaurants across the province will be able to welcome customers back to their dining rooms as of Monday.

Restaurants were ordered to shut down last month, as part of sweeping restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. 

Currently, restaurants will only be allowed to operate at half-capacity, with a maximum of four people or two family groups sitting together. Dining rooms will have to close no later than midnight, with last call for alcohol at 11 p.m.

While some restaurant owners are eager to get back to in-person dining, others say the government should have given them more notice before announcing the reopening.

Graziella Battista, the owner of the Graziella restaurant, in Old Montreal, said they won't be reopening until Feb. 10.

"Reopening very quickly is quite a challenge for us," she said. "We have to restock, and getting certain produce is not as quickly available."

Some restaurant workers are also feeling hesitant. Kaitlin Doucette, the founder of the Montreal Restaurant Workers Relief Fund, said there's a lot of mixed feelings about potentially going back to the job.

"So there is gratitude to be back at work, but that's tempered with still a lot of fear [of COVID-19]," she said.

Many restaurant workers have chosen to leave the industry entirely, and to search for work elsewhere.

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.

Cinemas, theatres and places of worship will be allowed to open in a week, on Feb. 7.

There is still no word on bars and gyms, prompting protests calling for their reopening.

Maintenance workers demand COVID premiums

Maintenance workers who work in health-care settings will be protesting outside the Douglas Hospital in Montreal this morning, demanding the same COVID-19 premiums offered to other health-care workers.

The union claims that while other health-care workers received a $1,000 bonus for working during the pandemic, maintenance workers — including plumbers and repairmen — weren't offered the same deal.

About 60 maintenance workers from the CIUSSS de l'Ouest-de-l'Île-de-Montréal, the health authority for the west end of Montreal, are expected at the protest.

The union said in a statement that the workers have been "indispensable" in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and deserve the recognition.

Mandatory vaccination for some hotel workers

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 about 500 employees at Quebec City's iconic Château Frontenac, as well as the the Manoir Richelieu in the Charlevoix.

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

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? 

       
  • Fever. 
  •    
  • 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.
  •    
  • Headache.
  •    
  • Fatigue.
  •    
  • 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.

You can find information on COVID-19 in the province here and information on the situation in Montreal here

 

Corrections

  • 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

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