Christmas shopping can still happen in person this year, but Quebec’s Boxing Day is cancelled for 2020 due to an increase in the province’s COVID-19 numbers.
In a press conference late this afternoon, Quebec Premier François Legault announced restrictions on businesses following two different timelines.
Non-essential retail stores must close from December 25th to January 11th. The official list of what’s considered essential and what isn’t is out on the government’s website.
It’s similar to last spring’s lockdown with grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores, depanneurs, the SAQ, the SQDC and pet stores allowed to remain open. There will be at least one big difference, though:
Big box stores like Costco and Wal-Mart will be allowed to open if they sell essential items like food, medicine and household products, but they will be restricted to only selling those items during the lockdown and not unessential ones like toys, TVs and books that they sell when everything is open. This, according to Legault, is to help small businesses which sell the same items.
Hair salons, manicurists and estheticians will also have to close during this period, but dental and eye care, which are deemed medical services, can remain open.
The other new rules will be in effect from December 17th to January 11th:
- Office workers must work from home during that time unless their physical on-site presence is essential to the service being provided.
- Quebec’s Yellow Zones will become Orange Zones and Orange Zones will become Red Zones.
- Elementary and High Schools, which are already on break and scheduled to come back after the holidays, will remain closed until January 11th.
While indoor gatherings remain banned in Red Zones for people who don’t live together, people who live alone can now insert themselves into one family bubble. People who live alone can also still have one person over.
Up to eight people can now gather outdoors on public space for outdoor activities like hiking, skiing and hockey. It is still forbidden to gather in outdoor private spaces like backyards.