Dining on Quebec patios can begin again from Friday, May 28 as the province-wide curfew is lifted after nearly five months.
Quebec has been under a curfew since Jan. 9 but the province is finally starting to relax measures as the COVID-19 picture continues to improve.
From Friday evening, outdoor dining can recommence, albeit with some restrictions still in place. Quebec patios have been closed in some parts of the province, including Montreal, since Oct. 1.
Under the rules for restaurants, a maximum of two people from different households will be allowed to sit at a table, and they may be accompanied by children. However, in regions under the province’s two highest alert levels, groups will be limited to occupants of a single residence, or two adults with their minor children.
Outdoor terraces at most bars are scheduled to reopen on June 11.
The relaxation of restrictions has come a little sooner than some operators were anticipating, but it nevertheless a welcome measure for Quebec’s foodservice and hospitality industry.
Jeff Picard, manager at Brutopia Brew Pub in downtown Montreal, told CTV News: “It’s mixed feelings because we all kept assuming that the later at June date was the target… It was difficult to try and transition back to service. So many people have retrained and are more interested in low-key 9-5 and don’t want to go back to the nightlife. A lot of guys are not going to reopen today because they didn’t have a plan B. Luckily for me, that’s kind of my style. I never have a great backup plan but I’m always eager to get back in.”
Other relaxations will come into effect, but only as of next Monday. Most areas outside Montreal and Laval will move from the red to the orange zone, meaning that indoor dining can soon reopen too.
The new measures come as COVID-19 hospitalizations in Quebec have declined to their lowest level in more than six months. The provincial curfew had originally been set at 8 p.m. and was recently moved to 9:30 p.m., with violators subject to fines starting at $1,000 plus $550 in additional fees.