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Montrealers will soon be able to dine at restaurants again, stay out as late as they wish, and visit one another under Quebec’s plans to lift some of the continent’s toughest COVID-19 restrictions.
The Canadian province estimates 75 per cent of adults will have received a first vaccine shot by June 15, making it possible to ease the lockdown, Premier Francois Legault said during a news conference on Tuesday. “We’ve exceeded our goals with the vaccination campaign,” he said. “Thanks to your efforts, we can now announce a reopening plan.”
A curfew in place since January will be lifted on May 28. Three days later, restaurants will be able to reopen in most regions, including Montreal, followed by bar patios on June 11. The government also shared a timeline for allowing visits inside private homes, starting June 14.
Quebec was the Canadian epicenter of the crisis early on in the pandemic, and a year later it still counts more deaths per capita than any other province. But it has weathered the third wave of infections better than its western neighbors, using the curfew and a temporary return to strict confinement in the hardest-hit areas.
The province reported about 550 new cases of the virus each of the past two days, less than half the number it was recording a month ago. Hospitalizations dropped 9 per cent between May 11 and May 17.
Legault said his goal is for 75 per cent of residents 12 and older to be fully vaccinated by the end of August. If that goal is met, masks would no longer be required, he said.
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