COVID-19: What you need know as Quebec lifts vaccine passport system, other measures

Quebec’s proof-of-vaccination system comes to an official end on Saturday as the province continues to relax COVID-19 restrictions.

The vaccine passport, which came into effect last September, has been gradually phased out over the past weeks. It was required to enter restaurants, gyms and bars, among other establishments.

Health Minister Christian Dubé announced earlier this month that the government bumped up the timeline to eliminate the passport system by two days following discussions with public health officials.

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Among other measures, capacity limits at restaurants, bars and sports venues will be lifted as of Saturday.

This means establishments like the Bell Centre can welcome back fans at pre-pandemic levels. There is still a mask mandate in effect at the home arena of the Montreal Canadiens, which means face coverings are obligatory at all times for ticketholders when they are not eating or drinking.

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Meanwhile, restaurants and bars can resume their regular business hours (but must respect daylight time changes).

Dance and karaoke activities are also permitted to start up again starting Saturday.

Isolation period lifted for COVID-19 contacts

Quebec has also changed the health rules for those who come into contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case.

As of Saturday, anyone who lives with an infected person will no longer have to self-isolate — as long as they are not sick or do not test positive for the virus. Previously, they had to stay home for five days.

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The new guidelines require close household contacts of COVID-19 cases to monitor themselves for symptoms for 10 days.

They must also wear masks in social interactions and avoid high-traffic places such as restaurants and bars for that period.

Quebec’s new rules don’t apply to those who are unvaccinated and have never contracted the virus. If they come into contact with a case, they must stay home for five days. The province has more details about that on its website.

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— with files from The Canadian Press

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