Montreal and neighbouring Laval will switch over to the orange tier on Quebec’s coronavirus alert scale next Monday, June 7, bringing an end to the long-lasting ban on indoor dining, which has been in effect since October 1, 2020.
Premier François Legault made the announcement at a press conference this afternoon (June 1), confirming the timeline he had proposed on May 25. The news means there will be no more regions under maximum “red” alert in the province as of June 7 — if all goes according to plan.
Though allowed to resume indoor table service, restaurants in orange zones must still comply with a series of public health restrictions, including the requirement to take reservations, maintaining an attendance registry, and limiting the sale of alcohol to being purchased alongside food. As with the city’s terrasses, which reopened on Friday, May 28, there is a cap on the number of people permitted to sit at a given table: either two adults (with their minor-age children) from different addresses or a group of people from the same household.
The situation in Quebec, which today recorded 208 new cases, the lowest since September 2020, is “encouraging,” Legault says. However, he warns that there could be a spike in cases as the province relaxes more restrictions and urges Quebecers to continue to wear their masks and maintain two meters of distance.
“I understand that people are excited to see each other. I, myself, went to a terrasse at a restaurant with my wife. When we walked by to go to our table we chatted with our neighbours who we hadn’t seen in a long time ... But we need to be prudent — very, very, very prudent — as long as we don’t have two doses,” Legault said.
The premier was indeed spotted at Outremont restaurant Chez Leveque on Friday afternoon, the first day that restrictions on outdoor dining were lifted across the province. Montreal mayor Valérie Plante was also seen dining on a restaurant terrasse that day, though her visit drew far more controversy, after she was photographed breaking the rules at Danny St Pierre’s new Plateau restaurant Le Pontiac. Current measures allow a maximum of two adults from different residences to share a table — she was seen with five.
Legault did not confirm when the city’s bars would be allowed to return to their indoor operations, though he previously floated June 14 as a possible date, if Montreal is among the regions able to move into the yellow zone. Bars across Quebec are, nonetheless, slated to resume outdoor dining on June 11.