Stores opening

In all regions of Québec, except for the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal and the MRC de Joliette, retail stores can open, including those situated in shopping centres.

In the territories of the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal and the MRC de Joliette, retail stores that engage in priority activities or that offer priority services and stores with an outside customer entrance can open. The reopening date for shopping centres situated in these regions has yet to be announced.

Companies in the supply chain of these businesses may also exercise their activities.

Yes, all commercial enterprises, whether they are in a shopping centre, are now resuming their operations according to the usual business hours, in accordance with the Act respecting hours and days of admission to commercial establishments This hyperlink will open in a new window. (CQLR, chapter H-2.1).

All establishments engaged in retail sales to the public, including spaces in markets.

Retail trade is one of the sectors whose gradual reopening has been announced. To obtain additional information, please consult the Gradual resumption of activities under the COVID-19-related pause This hyperlink will open in a new window. page.

An establishment that mainly always offers for sale food or alcoholic beverages for consumption off the premises, for example, grocery stores, convenience stores, fruit stores, and butcher shops. Food stores are divided into large-surface grocery stores and small-surface grocery stores, according to the sales area limit of 375 m2 (4 000 square feet).

Yes, e-commerce is always authorized.

No. As announced on May 18, 2020, retail stores authorized to open This hyperlink will open in a new window. can resume their normal days and hours of operation.

To obtain additional information, please consult the Act respecting hours and days of admission to commercial establishments web page This hyperlink will open in a new window..

No. The temporary measures that allow priority commercial enterprises This hyperlink will open in a new window. to open beyond normal business hours without restrictions concerning the number of employees present ended May 24, 2020.

Consult the Act respecting hours and days of admission to commercial establishments web page This hyperlink will open in a new window. concerning legal business hours.

Each commercial enterprise must implement the preventive measures recommended by public health authorities and occupational health and safety specialists This hyperlink will open in a new window.. The measures include a limited number of customers in the stores and the shopping centre, full barriers at cash registers, information booths and restaurant service counters, and one-way traffic as far as possible.

Please consult the tools for the retail trade sector This hyperlink will open in a new window. to obtain additional information.

Yes, inspectors from the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) and police services will ensure compliance with the preventive measures.

Yes, but only for takeout service since customers cannot use the dining areas.

The use of masks or face covers is strongly recommended in public venues.

Professional photographers may resume their activities both indoors and outdoors. Photography studios that have direct exterior access that customers usually use may resume their activities on the same date as retail businesses, according to their location. Thus photography studios located outside the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM) may reopen as of today, whereas those located within the territory of the CMM may do so starting from May 25, 2020.

Priority activities and commercial services

The Gouvernement du Québec has asked the owners of restaurants to close their dining rooms. Takeout orders, deliveries and drive-through services continue to be permitted.

No. Grocery stores and pharmacies remain open and are maintaining their regular hours.

You will find information about medication supplies and accessing pharmaceutical services in this document This hyperlink will open in a new window..

You can consult the list of activities and services that can remain open in the Reopening and maintaining economic activities section.

It should be noted that all businesses can always engage in teleworking and e-commerce.

Garages were allowed to reopen recently in order to do repairs that cannot be postponed.

As much as possible, operations such as switching out tires or oil changes should be postponed, especially during the first days and weeks after garages reopen when they are likely to be busier.

For places of worship, religious gatherings of all faiths should be suspended, unless they are essential. If a gathering takes place, physical distancing must be observed.

The Québec government has announced the closing until further notice of tourist accommodation establishments.

However, there are two exceptions to the rule: certain campgrounds that host travellers who do not have any other housing option and that provide adequate sanitary facilities, and hotels. The other types of tourist accommodation, such as cottages, rented second homes, bed and breakfast accommodation and inns must stay closed.

Public spaces

Outdoor gatherings are permitted provided that the following measures are observed:

  • gatherings must be limited to a maximum of 10 people from not more than three households. As a reminder, those people living at the same address form a household.
  • a distance of at least 2 metres must be kept between those people who are not from the same household.
  • the use of a face covering is strongly recommended.

In order to protect Quebecers, the Gouvernement du Québec is prohibiting indoor gatherings, except:

  • those required in a workplace that is not subject to a Québec government suspension, provided that the employees maintain as far as possible a minimum distance of 2 metres between them;
  • in a public space in order to obtain a service or goods such as stores and government services and that is not subject to a Québec government suspension, provided that the customers maintain as far as possible a minimum distance of 2 metres between them;
  • in a means of transportation, provided that the users maintain as far as possible a minimum distance of 2 metres between them;
  • a gathering that assembles the occupants of a private home or a site that serves this purpose and any other person who offers a service or whose support is required. Individuals who offer a service or support must maintain as far as possible a minimum distance of 2 metres between them and the occupants.

Yes, in case of need. However, as much as possible it is preferable to avoiding taking them inside stores.

Any type of shared equipment should not be used. Playgrounds have been closed in some cities such as Montréal and Québec City.

Consumers

To obtain food, it is recommended to people 70 years of age or older that they use home delivery services or ask a friend or relative to do the shopping for them.

If this is not possible, they can go to the site while always following the health instructions that apply to the entire population. People 70 years of age or older should go shopping during low-traffic hours or take advantage of the reserved time slots offered by certain merchants.

Québec consumers are urged to buy local. By doing this, they support local producers, processors and businesses and contribute to economic vitality and ongoing activity in the sector.

Consult the Le Panier bleu  This hyperlink will open in a new window.website.

Together, through their choices, businesses and consumers promote the diversity of Québec’s slate of food products.

  • Choose products from Québec when making your purchases. Various markings make it easy to identify these products in store. You can find out more on the Aliments du Québec This hyperlink will open in a new window. website;
  • Shop in local grocery stores or directly at local agricultural or food processing businesses. Le Panier bleu This hyperlink will open in a new window. is a new reference platform that helps you locate local businesses. You can also visit the Savourez votre région This hyperlink will open in a new window. page.
  • Make local products more interesting by trying new recipes using local produce. Find some examples on the Aliments du Québec This hyperlink will open in a new window. website.
  • Do not waste food at home. Find some tricks and tips on the Gaspillage alimentaire : comment l'éviter? This hyperlink will open in a new window. section.
  • Help a community organization (Je bénévole.ca This hyperlink will open in a new window.), agri-food businesses (Centre d'emploi agricole This hyperlink will open in a new window.) or food establishments and retail companies (À table! Emplois This hyperlink will open in a new window.). You can work there, but you can also volunteer your time if you wish. Contact organizations and businesses in your community for more information.
  • Treat yourself or your loved ones. Many companies are offering delivery or take-out services during the lockdown. Ask your sugar shack, restaurant, bakery, chocolate store or any other business you like. Many have launched some great initiatives at the moment.
  • You might be tempted to increase your self-sufficiency by turning to a garden or a private farm. You can also find out about community gardens. To get started, consult the Guide de l'agriculture urbaine This hyperlink will open in a new window..
  • If you like the idea of keeping urban chickens (poules en ville This hyperlink will open in a new window.) or any other animal species, never act on a whim. Chickens , like all other farm animals, require constant care to ensure their welfare. This type of farming is sometimes permitted by municipalities, you must be well informed before embarking on such a project, particularly with regard to the applicable regulations, the animals’ specific needs, and the availability of veterinary care in your region for the species you intend to keep. Before you start planning, you can consult the Guide de l'agriculture urbaine This hyperlink will open in a new window..

The food industry is facing significant challenges right now. The government is in daily talks with all stakeholders in the agri-food chain.

In the exceptional circumstances we are experiencing, it is possible that food product prices will fluctuate. 

We wish to underscore that there is no food or sanitary product shortage in sight.

Instructions to follow when consumers go to retail stores are available on the website of the Retail Council of Canada This hyperlink will open in a new window..

Although it is possible to contract COVID-19 by touching a surface or object where the virus is found and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes, this is not the primary means of transmission. 

Many viruses from the coronavirus family can survive on surfaces for a duration ranging anywhere from two hours up to nine days, depending on the type of surface and the environmental conditions (temperature, humidity, etc.). However, you do not need to wash all your purchases. The key is washing your hands often, once you return home and after you have put your groceries away. As always, you should wash your hands before cooking and before eating.

For more information, watch the Hygiene tips at the grocery store and for fruits and vegetables This hyperlink will open in a new window. video.

No. However, fruits and vegetables must always be washed before being eaten, as you would normally do. All you need do is wash the produce with water and scrub the surfaces. There is no need for detergent.

In fact, packaging of fruits and vegetables increases the amount of handling by food establishment operators, which is not something we want. Consumers must also follow the respiratory etiquette concerning unpackaged food such as fruits and vegetables.

Using soap to wash hands has proven its usefulness, whereas this is not the case for fruits and vegetables.

Studies on fruits and vegetables involve even more variables like the type of fruit or vegetable, the type of detergent used, the type of targeted contaminants (chemicals like pesticides or microbiological contaminants). Consequently, the results of these studies are rarely unequivocal.

The theory that applies to washing hands with soap may also be appropriate for washing fruits and vegetables (among other things, because of the surface tension effect or wetting power of soap, which dislodges dirt and contaminants) There is a risk of leaving soap or detergent residues on fruits and vegetables especially those with rough or porous surfaces or if the peel is eaten, which is undesirable. Unlike dishes, fruits and vegetables are porous and residues can easily stay on them.

Ultimately, if we compare the risks and benefits, it is wiser to only rinse and scrub fruits and vegetables, when possible, whereas washing hands with soap is advisable.

The coronavirus is transmitted through respiratory droplets or by touching surfaces or utensils that may be contaminated with droplets. It is possible to contract COVID-19 by touching a surface or object where the virus is found and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes, but this is not the primary means of transmission.

Whenever possible, avoid handling packages while eating (or after washing your hands). Wash your hands when there is a risk of contamination. The following steps are therefore recommended (this is just one example of the many possible types of meals to be delivered):

  1. Pick up the delivery boxes and place them on a counter;
  2. Open the boxes;
  3. Wash your hands;
  4. Using utensils, transfer the food onto plates.  Even if this is not possible and the packaging is not handled (e.g., cardboard plate), the risk of contamination is still reduced;
  5. Dispose of delivery boxes (recycling, garbage or compost);
  6. Wash and disinfect the counter;
  7. Wash your hands before eating.

It is also important that good hygiene practices, food safety practices and safe cooking be followed.  These practices generally minimize the risks of contamination or transmission of foodborne illnesses.

To clean household surfaces, a solution of 0.1% sodium hypochlorite is recommended. That means 4 teaspoons (20 ml) of domestic bleach in 1 litre of water. It is best to prepare a new diluted solution every day and not to mix bleach with any other cleaning products.

A 0.1% hypochlorite solution is sufficient to eliminate viruses such as coronavirus, which is less resistant than other pathogenic microorganisms.

This is in line with current scientific literature on coronavirus and complies with recommendations from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention This hyperlink will open in a new window.).

In the current context and according to the available scientific data, the proportions usually recommended (1:200) must be increased to 1:50 (equivalent to a 0.1% solution of sodium hypochlorite) as a precautionary measure. When a solution of 0.1% sodium hypochlorite is used on food contact surfaces, those surfaces must also be rinsed off to limit the risks of chemical hazards.

We are monitoring the scientific data on the subject.

You can bring your reusable bags to a retailer, but you must pack up your own purchases.

To limit handling and the spread of the virus, the INSPQ recommends not offering packing or bagging services in general.

A company can choose to offer packing or bagging services using only the bags or boxes they have in-store. This has the effect of limiting worker contact with potentially contaminated objects, all while expediting customer service and limiting the time customers spend next to the cash registers.

Likewise, boxes that are brought in by consumers should only be handled by them.  Thus, depending on the nature of the business and the facilities on site, companies may choose to suspend the practice of allowing the use of personal boxes to prevent undue risk of exposure to whomever handles them.

Restaurants offering food or meals for takeout can choose whether or not to make their washrooms accessible to the public.

If they do so, operators must then implement and execute a thorough cleaning procedure for surfaces most exposed to the public. It is not recommended to make restrooms meant exclusively for staff available to the public.

The coronavirus is transmitted through respiratory droplets. It is also possible to contract COVID-19 by touching a surface or object where the virus is found and then bringing your hand to your mouth, nose or eyes, but this is not the primary means of transmission. Therefore, as a precautionary measure, persons who are symptomatic or in preventive isolation should avoid handling or preparing food for others.

Alternatively, we can prepare food for others by ensuring that normal hygiene measures are followed (washing hands and surfaces before cooking, washing fruits and vegetables, etc.). We should also pay attention to containers and other objects that the recipient will handle. For example, the use of a container from the dishwasher or a new bag is preferable. This will ensure that the containers have not been handled in the interval. The dish can be placed on a surface when delivered to the recipient’s residence and the recipient can then pick it up later. As always, the person should wash their hands before eating.

These rules are the same for everyone, regardless of the age of the recipients.

There are health hazards associated with eating cheese made on the farm. People must be vigilant and to refrain from consuming dairy products prepared on the farm, unless they come from a dairy plant holding a permit authorizing it to carry out this processing activity.

As such, only operators who have a dairy plant licence, with operations managed by a qualified person and facilities that meet the requirements of the Food Products Act, are permitted to purchase and process raw milk. This applies to cow’s milk as well as goat’s, sheep’s and buffalo milk.

It should be noted that in recent years, multiple people have shown symptoms of foodborne illnesses following the consumption of raw milk cheese made and sold illegally on the farm, sometimes with serious consequences. Consumption of raw (unpasteurized) cream and milk in liquid form or processed into butter, yogurt and ice cream is also dangerous.

Take advantage of this time to support local businesses and discover the best Québec cheeses This hyperlink will open in a new window..

Food

At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that food is a likely source or route of transmission of COVID-19. You should continue to wash fruits and vegetables as usual and to follow good hygiene practices during food preparation. 

No. There is no reason to fear a food shortage.

Freezing is not a good way to neutralize the virus. In fact, the virus might be able to survive the cold on a dry surface.

However, the virus is destroyed at high temperatures, for instance when food is microwaved at the highest setting or cooked in the oven.

The virus is not spread through what we eat or drink, but by infected droplets that we breathe in or that come in contact with the mucous membranes of our eyes.

Anyone who has symptoms must stay at home. It is important to stay two metres (over 6 feet) away from the person in front of you in the queue. Some stores have marked off the floor to make sure that people comply with physical distancing.

Owners or custodians of animals

Companies offering services for animals must follow the instructions related to the Gradual resumption of activities under the COVID-19-related pause This hyperlink will open in a new window..

Generally speaking, they must reassess their work practices and implement measures intended to ensure the health and safety of workers and clients, in accordance with the recommendations of the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ), as well as hygiene instructions recommended by the ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS). Additionally, you may find that reading through the Interim Recommendations for Veterinary Care Workers This hyperlink will open in a new window. document is helpful.

Businesses that provide care to live, captive animals, such as animal shelters or kennels, as well as stores that provide animal feed and supplies, are recognized as providing essential services.

Breeders raising animals for sale, particularly those operating out of private homes, as well as their suppliers, such as businesses specializing in reproductive services, can resume their activities in accordance with the instructions applicable to retail businesses in their region This hyperlink will open in a new window..

Therapeutic care and grooming services for animals may resume and again be offered as of June 1st.

Non-essential activities such as educational activities (e.g. puppy kindergarten and pet classes) and other related activities (e.g. agility centres) will remain prohibited until further notice.

With regard to the availability of sports, recreational and outdoor activity services, information is available on the Resumption of outdoor recreational, sports and leisure activities during COVID-19 This hyperlink will open in a new window. page as well as in the Q&A This hyperlink will open in a new window. on this topic.

Yes, the boarding establishments can take care of new animals.

Animal boarding establishments need to reassess their practices and introduce measures to promote public health, as recommended by the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ) and the hygiene measures recommended by the ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS). 

Yes Owners of a boarded animal can access the premises where their pet is kept to provide care for the animal's well-being or to check whether such care is being provided by the boarding establishment. In these circumstances, it is important to comply with the health measures and instructions in force in order to promote public health.

Horse owners (individuals or owners of an equestrian business) are allowed to ride horses for the purpose of providing physical exercise to the animals, while respecting existing health measures and guidelines designed to promote public health.

As of May 20, unorganized outdoor riding is permitted, in compliance with the rules applicable to outdoor gatherings that are permitted. More information on the resumption of outdoor recreational, sports and leisure activities during COVID-19 This hyperlink will open in a new window..

The government has implemented a variety of economic measures to support business and commerce, including those that are considered nonessential. Some of these measures could therefore apply depending on the activities concerned.

The current health crisis could have repercussions on pets and animals for leisure activities. Despite this context, it is essential that pets and animals for leisure activities continue to receive the basic care to which they are entitled (e.g., sufficient and proper nutrition, adequate shelter).

If an animal's owner is no longer able to provide this care or if he is unable to pay for the care provided by his animal's caretaker (e.g.: boarded horse), he/she must act and make responsible choices to limit the negative effects of his/her situation on his/her animal.

Animal shelters (e.g. animal services, SPA or SPCA) are considered as providing essential services.  They can be contacted by owners needing to give away their pets.

Shelters must also provide the required care for the animals in their care.  However, their care capacity may be reduced due to the current crisis. Cooperation on the part of all stakeholders is needed to limit cases of euthanasia of animals where alternatives are available.

Yes, you are allowed to purchase or adopt animals. However, there are many aspects you need to consider before bringing a pet into your home. Dogs live for 12 years on average, and cats for 15. So you will be responsible for it for many years. The MAPAQ website offers many tips on responsible pet adoption This hyperlink will open in a new window..

When you adopt an animal, make sure that all parties concerned follow social distancing rules, and inquire about other hygiene instructions recommended by the  Ministère de la Santé et des Services Sociaux (MSSS).

Yes. Although veterinary services are priority activities, veterinarians should follow guidelines established by their professional association and use their professional judgment to resume their activities gradually while taking into consideration the potential impact on public health. Contact your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your pet or if you wish to use his or the services.

It is important to adopt preventive measures during the visit, such as:

  • minimizing the number of people present on the premises when the veterinarian is working,
  • respecting the rules of social distancing,
  • making available the items necessary for effective disinfection of instruments and people (clean location, water, etc.).

Yes. Grouping inseminations (by synchronizing timing) at a set time of the week is recommended, when possible, in order to limit visits.

The hygiene measures recommended by the Ministère de la Santé et des Services Sociaux and the Interim Recommendations for Agricultural Workers in Crop and Livestock Production This hyperlink will open in a new window. of the Institut National de Santé Publique du Québec (INSPQ) should be implemented.