With the extra sunlight has come a pushed back curfew, and an additional hour and a half for Montreal restaurants to run their takeout counters. Starting today, Montreal’s curfew will run from 9:30 p.m. to 5 a.m., meaning restaurants are free to operate takeout until 9 p.m., and continue on with delivery thereafter.
While much of Quebec has seen its alert level upgraded to orange and curfew pushed back to 9:30 p.m. over the past few weeks, the Greater Montreal region has been observing an 8 p.m. curfew since January 9, when the measure was first introduced province-wide. Despite the newly amended rule, Montreal remains on red alert.
Premier François Legault made this announcement, among others, at a press conference yesterday (March 16) evening, days after Quebecers rolled their clocks forward for daylight saving time. Behavioural experts had warned that those living in a red zone might be less willing to comply with a curfew as the days got longer.
While the fate of Montreal restaurants was not addressed in the the news conference, Legault did loosen measures for theatres and show venues, where audiences of up to 250 people wearing masks will be allowed to gather on March 26. In a few regions transitioning from orange to yellow alert (Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Côte-Nord, and Nord-du-Québec) bars will also be allowed to reopen.
“But these will not be the same bars that we knew before COVID-19,” Quebec public health director Dr. Horacio Arruda said, adding that rigorous safety measures would be put in place.
Despite the lingering threat of more contagious variants and a potential third wave, health officials said the situation in the province is improving that to its expanded vaccine campaign. Legault yesterday announced that anyone who wanted to be vaccinated would be able to get their first dose by Saint-Jean Baptiste, the province’s national holiday on June 24.
“That does not mean that everything will be allowed, but we should have a better national holiday than last year,” François Legault said.
With Montreal last week announcing a relaxation of rules for terrasses and food trucks, summer seems to hold some promise for restaurants in the city. Among the announced measures was a reduction in the cost of terrasse permits in certain boroughs (Ville-Marie, Plateau, Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, Sud-Ouest, Outremont, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Lachine, Côte-des-Neiges, Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, and Verdun), and the doubling of authorized food truck locations across the island.
When asked for his predictions for summer 2021 in Quebec, Legault said, “It looks good, but we don’t know how good.” The next couple weeks are “critical” in determining in how it will ultimately shape out, he said. “If we want to have a better summer, we have to be careful in the next few weeks.”