Can I get my fridge repaired? Answers to your questions about Quebec's new COVID restrictions

We answer some of your questions about the nuances of the rules being put into place over the holidays. 

Premier François Legault has ordered most stores closed as of Dec. 25

Premier François Legault announced businesses that offer personal-care services, such as nail salons, will have to close as of Dec. 25 (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

The Quebec government has announced a series of extra measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the province, with daily case numbers hovering above 1,800 in the past week and hospitalizations on the rise. 

The measures affect schools, offices and non-essential retail businesses, but they don't all happen at once. 

For example, both elementary and high schools are closed from Dec. 17 to Jan. 11. Non-essential stores will remain open until Christmas, then will close until Jan. 11. 

Daycares will remain open, but the premier urged all parents who can keep their children home to do so. School daycares will be open only for children of essential workers.

You can find out more about those restrictions here, but below we've tried to answer some of your questions about the nuances of the measures coming into place over the holidays. 

What activities am I allowed to do?

You are allowed to meet up outdoors in a public place as long as you're moving. Your group can include a maximum of eight participants plus one supervisor, and everyone must stay at least two metres away from each other.

The gathering can't be on private property, and it can't be in an indoor public place, like a family entertainment centre.

Which businesses and services are considered essential?

Grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, hardware stores and pet stores will be allowed to remain open. Big box stores will be allowed to open but will be restricted to selling essential goods, such as groceries and pharmacy products.

Provincially run liquor stores and cannabis stores will also remain open.

Dentists, optometrists and other health services will be allowed to stay open, but hair salons, spas and manicurists will have to close starting Dec. 25.

Can I buy non-essential goods online? 

Yes. The measures don't affect deliveries, and Premier François Legault has also said local retailers who are allowed to be open can set up a curbside pickup service. 

What financial support is the provincial government giving businesses that have to close?

Businesses can apply for a rent subsidy, and Legault said the province is in talks with the federal government to help businesses pay their employees' wages. He said, so far, Ottawa has agreed to pay for one week's worth of wages, but neither government has made an announcement on the subject nor provided more details.

WATCH | Infectious diseases specialist calls latest shutdown in Quebec a step in the right direction:

Infectious diseases specialist calls latest shutdown in Quebec a step in the right direction

1 year ago
Duration 2:12
Dr. Matthew Oughton, an infectious diseases specialist at Montreal's Jewish General Hospital and an assistant professor at McGill University, reacts to Quebec's decision to shut down non-essential businesses for two weeks starting December 25.

Do I still have to go in to work everyday?

If you work in an office — whether it is in the public or private sector — and your presence is not necessary at your workplace, the government is making work-from-home mandatory from Dec. 17 until Jan. 11. 

Legault said people who run into problems with their employers should call the workplace health and safety board.

I am a single parent with two children. Can I visit another family bubble?

Yes, and the reverse is also true: you can also welcome another family into your home. But it must always be the same family.

Will I get a ticket if I drive to a different region to ski?

No, as long as you follow the rules. The province discourages travelling between zones, but it is not setting up roadblocks. What it discourages even more is travelling to a zone with a different alert level — for example, if you go from a red zone to an orange zone.

What happens if my fridge breaks?

Essential services, such as home repairs, electricians and plumbers, will remain open. And if you want to fix it yourself, the hardware store can still sell parts. But the government is forbidding large retailers from selling non-essential goods, such as furniture and small kitchen appliances.

Can I attend a religious gathering?

Yes, as long as you follow the rules. In red zones, a maximum of 25 people at a time are allowed in a place of worship. For funerals, that total does not include funeral workers and volunteers inside or outside the building.

In orange zones, a maximum of 250 people can participate in a ceremony at a place of worship.


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