Restaurant owners must prohibit access to these areas and equipment unless they are serving customers through an attendant. Retailers must also avoid selling unpackaged self-service food (except for fresh fruit and vegetables), unless enhanced hygiene measures are in place:
- additional physical protection (containers, sneeze-guard, automatic dispenser)
- measures implemented for hand-washing nearby or service by an attendant
- increased frequency of cleaning and disinfection of frequently handled or exposed surfaces: directly handled surfaces that are not near a hand washing/disinfecting station should be cleaned between each customer.
Automatic dispensers such as fountain drink, slushie and coffee machines can be used by customers if a hand washing or disinfection station is set up nearby and cups, lids, straws and other items are provided by an attendant. A sign should also direct customers not to reuse cups.
These devices need to be frequently disinfected throughout the day, like other frequently touched surfaces.
In order to respect the instructions of physical distance, the use of outdoor areas is to be preferred for eating.
However, patios and picnic tables at snack bars must follow the same rules in force as for restaurants, depending on the alert level in the region. In red zones, since food courts, dining facilities and patios must be closed, picnic tables at snack bars may not be used. They should be removed or clearly marked so that they are not available to customers.
The government supports businesses in the catering sector and their workers to ensure that health standards are met.
A COVID-19 toolkit with a specific health standards guide and checklist has been prepared by the CNESST for the catering sector. This kit provides details on the preventive measures to be implemented to protect the health and safety of personnel, particularly to properly manage contacts between customers and personnel.
In addition, more than 1,000 officers have been deployed since lifting lockdown measures were introduced to raise awareness and provide information on preventive measures to be implemented.
If you notice a lack of compliance with public health measures, such as physical distancing, you can report the situation by contacting the police department in your area.
A worker can file a complaint or report a dangerous situation to CNESST, if necessary. This complaint will be processed to assess the risk of the situation and determine the need for corrective or control measures. You should call CNESST at 1-844-838-0808 (option 1).
A toolkit containing a specific health standards guide and a checklist have been prepared by CNESST for the restaurant sector to support the management of occupational health and safety in the environment.
The kit details the preventive measures to be implemented to reduce and control the risks associated with COVID-19, whether it involves staff contact with customers or between workers.
Here are some of the recommendations from the "Guide to Occupational Health Standards – COVID-19":
- Wearing a procedure mask and eye protection is required whenever the physical distance of two metres is not maintained. In addition, there should be limited exchange of objects with customers. For example, it is recommended that menus be displayed on slates or screens.
- The rule of physical distance requires limiting the number of clients, whether inside the establishment or outside on a terrace.
- The physical distance of two metres between staff members and clients should remain in effect, as well as for clients from each other.
- For restaurants offering buffet service, staff will be required to serve the customer according to the same guidelines.
For a complete set of recommendations, download the CNESST toolkit for the catering sector .
The protection measures must be implemented to protect the health of the population when visiting food-service locations. They are available on the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux website.
The RACJ will adopt a streamlined process for licensees, whether to modify or expand a site or to obtain authorization to temporarily operate a liquor permit for a terrace in the context of COVID-19. Contractors will be able to run temporary terraces in order to provide customer service, in compliance with health standards established by the Public Health Branch and in accordance with their municipality's regulations.
To find out about the simplified terms and conditions for terrace permits: https://www.racj.gouv.qc.ca/communications/communiques-aux-titulaires/detail/covid-19-modalites-allegees-concernant-les-permis-de-terrasse.html .
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 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 website;
- Shop in local grocery stores or directly at local agricultural or food processing businesses. Le Panier bleu is a new reference platform that helps you locate local businesses. You can also visit the Savourez votre région page.
- Make local products more interesting by trying new recipes using local produce. Find some examples on the Aliments du Québec website.
- Do not waste food at home. Find some tricks and tips on the Gaspillage alimentaire : comment l'éviter? section.
- Help a community organization (Je bénévole.ca ), agri-food businesses (Centre d'emploi agricole ) or food establishments and retail companies (À table! Emplois ). 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 .
- If you like the idea of keeping urban chickens (poules en ville ) 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 .
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 .
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 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):
- Pick up the delivery boxes and place them on a counter;
- Open the boxes;
- Wash your hands;
- 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;
- Dispose of delivery boxes (recycling, garbage or compost);
- Wash and disinfect the counter;
- 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.
Yes. Firstly, it’s important to follow the general precautions for donating food. There are also additional precautions required.
For people donating food:
You can prepare food for others by ensuring that normal hygiene measures are followed (washing hands and surfaces before cooking, washing fruits and vegetables, etc.). It’s also important to pay attention to containers and other objects that the recipient will handle. For example, using a container straight from the dishwasher or a new bag is preferable. This will ensure that the containers have not been handled in the meantime.
For more details on donating food, consult the page Dons d'aliments (French only).
For those in charge of the community fridge:
You must monitor fridge traffic and set up a way to manage lines, if necessary. Hand sanitizer must also be available nearby, which donors and users should be encouraged to use.
You must disinfect handles and doors, as well as any other surface that is frequently touched. Lastly, you must ensure regular rotation of the food placed inside the refrigerator and clean the inside of the appliance according to the frequency of use.
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 ).
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.
To limit handling and the spread of the virus, the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ) recommends not offering packing or bagging services in general (latest update of the INSPQ sheet for retailers, dated June 15, 2020).
A company can, however, choose to offer packing or bagging services using reusable bags or boxes in accordance with the hygiene measures in place for the on-site employees (more frequent hand washing, use of hand sanitizer). Likewise, reusable bags and boxes may be brought in by consumers and handled by employees, as long as employees wash their hands after handling containers belonging to consumers.
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.
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.
With an animal free in the house, it can be challenging to avoid contact with it and to respect hygiene measures regarding it as you would with people around you. However, you must avoid direct contact like petting it, allowing it to lick you, carrying it or letting it sit on your lap. You must also avoid sharing food, your bed and the bathroom.
To make following these self-isolation instructions easier, you can put your animal in a cage or crate suitable for it or keep it in a room designated for it alone. Otherwise, you can restrict its access to the bedroom and bathroom by keeping the door closed behind you and picking up your food and dishes as soon as you finish eating or drinking.
If you followed the self-isolation instructions, your animal may interact with other animals and people again.
However, if you came into direct, unprotected contact with your animal during your self-isolation period, continue to limit contact between your animal and other animals or people for a period of 14 days after this contact. If possible, keep your animals indoors. Outdoors, use a leash or a private, fenced space.
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 .
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 of the Institut National de Santé Publique du Québec (INSPQ) should be implemented.
Last update: January 19, 2021