Wednesday, August 17, 2022

COVID-19: Quebec to end most mask requirements in April, stop vaccine passport sooner

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The Quebec government will ease mask requirements starting in April as well as fully eliminate the province’s COVID-19 vaccine passport system a few days earlier than expected.

Health Minister Christian Dubé made the announcement in a news release Wednesday, saying the decision comes after discussions with public health officials.

The province will no longer require masks in the majority of public places — including universities and CEGEPs — starting in mid-April. The government did not give an exact date, but said it will give a notice of 10 days before the measure is lifted.

Quebec also plans to nix masks on public transit, though at the earliest in May. A 10-day notice will also be provided.

READ MORE: Quebec’s Côte-Nord region recovering despite high COVID-19 transmission rate: health officials

The move comes as masks will no longer be mandatory in elementary and high school classrooms starting next week.

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Meanwhile, other health restrictions designed to stop the spread of COVID-19 will also be eased in the coming weeks.

Dubé said the province’s proof-of-vaccination system will also be entirely phased out on March 12, two days earlier than previously announced.

All public places will be able to operate at 100 per cent capacity on that date. There will be no capacity limits on tables in restaurants, casinos and bars — and they can return to their regular business hours.

Dance and karaoke activities are also allowed to start up again as of March 12.

Read more:

More than half the world now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but challenges remain: WHO

In a statement, Dubé still urged caution as the province continues to reopen.

“Within 10 days, most of the measures will finally be lifted. This is a very important step, and we can be proud of all our efforts to get here,” he said.

“However, we must learn to live with the virus, which is still circulating, and remain cautious.”

The health minister also added that while a mask is no longer mandatory, it continues to “be part of the arsenal we have to reduce the risk of transmission in certain circumstances.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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