The rules concerning private gatherings and activities in public places depend on the alert level in force. In general, people are being asked to avoid unnecessary social contact, for example gatherings with family or friends, weddings, etc. While the basic health recommendations apply to all alert levels, additional, more restrictive measures are implemented at Level 3 - Alert (orange) and Level 4 - Maximum Alert (red). To find out the specific instructions for each alert level and the measures in force in your region, go to the Map of COVID‑19 alert levels by region.
Private indoor or outdoor gatherings
For regions where the alert level allows private indoor or outdoor gatherings, the following measures must be observed:
- Gatherings must be restricted to a limited number of people in accordance with the measures in force in your region.
- Weather permitting, outdoor gatherings are preferable.
- A minimum distance of 2 metres must be maintained between people who do not live under the same roof (same household). If the recommended physical distance cannot be maintained, the number of guests must be reduced.
- The use of a mask or face covering is strongly recommended when it is not possible to keep a distance of 2 metres from other people.
- People who have been diagnosed with COVID‑19, who are waiting on a result, who have symptoms of COVID‑19 or who were told to self-isolate must not participate in a gathering. This applies to the person hosting a gathering, guests and people who live in the same household.
- The person hosting the gathering and guests must follow the health recommendations for everyone.
People who are more at risk of developing complications if they catch COVID‑19, that is, people who are 70 years of age or older, people who have chronic diseases or a weakened or compromised immune system, are advised to limit their movements and avoid contact with other people. If a person who is at risk nonetheless decides to participate in a gathering, they must rigorously follow the health recommendations for everyone.
Recommendations for the host
To keep everyone safe, the person who is hosting a gathering should apply the following measures:
- Ask your guests to wash their hands for 20 seconds with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand rub when they arrive and as often as necessary.
- Suggest alternative greetings without contact and avoid handshakes and hugs, even with children.
- Clean high-touch surfaces (door handles, switches, etc.) before your guests arrive and frequently while they are in your home.
- Keep a bathroom for your guests’ use if possible; clean the bathroom before they arrive. If the same bathroom is used by more than one household, clean high-touch surfaces frequently during the event.
- Provide tissues for your guests. Ask them to throw their tissues in a trash container after use and to wash their hands afterwards.
- Keep the windows open to ensure good air flow in the home, weather permitting. Avoid using air conditioners or fans that blow air directly on people.
- If you are having a meal, sit people from the same household together at the table.
- Make sure the meal is served by only one person and that they washed their hands properly first.
- During the meal, avoid sharing items as much as possible:
- Sauces and condiments must be served in individual containers;
- Glasses must be identified with the guest’s name;
- Avoid dishes that are shared, such as dips and vegetables;
- Utensils and damp cloths must be used by only one person;
- Avoid buffet-style or self-serve meals.
- After the meal, wash the dishes with soap and hot water, by hand or in the dishwasher.
- Write down the guests’ names, the date they visited and the activities you did. This information may be useful to regional public health authorities if you or one of your guests is diagnosed with COVID‑19 in the days after the visit.
Recommendations for children
Children who have COVID‑19 often have few symptoms or no symptoms at all, but they could still spread the disease. In general, your child should avoid hugging visitors, especially if they are vulnerable.
Practicing physical distancing of 2 metres at all times is the main measure to follow to keep your family and your guests safe.
However, between children age 16 and under, a physical distancing of 1 metre applies. Children are also allowed to share their toys, although it is preferable to avoid doing so, especially when children bring toys to their mouth. In all cases, toys should be disinfected before and after use. For this reason, it is recommended that you use toys that are easy to clean. In addition, it is recommended that children wash their hands before and after sharing toys.
Activities organized in public places
Depending on the alert level in your region, activities organized in public places (rented rooms, places of worship, festive events, weddings, work or school celebrations, etc.) may be allowed, provided the measures in force in your region are observed.
Demonstrations are still allowed, but a mask must be worn at all times.
Audiences in public places
Depending on the alert level in your region, indoor or outdoor areas where people are seated, relatively immobile, with little or no talking and under staff supervision, such as performance venues, cinemas, theatres and audiovisual recording studios, may continue to accommodate an audience, provided the measures in force in your region are observed.
Only members of the audience or the public are included in the count of the maximum number of people who can participate. The staff as well as the people who offer a performance are not affected by this limit.
The organizers must ensure that the capacity of the site allows a distance of two metres to be maintained between the people or households gathered. They should take measures to inform participants that they should maintain such a distance from any other person or households gathered. They will also be responsible to end the activity when compliance with the rules becomes impossible. In addition, responsible authorities are prohibited to issue permits or authorizations required in certain cases, especially when the capacity of the site does not allow a distance of two meters to be maintained between participants. They must also manage entrances and exits as well as service areas (food services, washrooms, etc.) to ensure the measures are observed.
These measures apply in particular to events of social, commercial, religious, cultural, leisure or entertainment nature, including festivals and other outdoor public events of the same nature, which may be held subject to compliance with the measures and the alert level where the event is held. The practice of professional sport in public is also permitted, including in outdoor public places when the rules are followed.
However, the limit does not apply to people does not apply to people who remain in their car, for example in the case of drive-ins, peaceful demonstrations, walking circuits and events taking place on separate, non-contiguous sites and for which different access and waiting areas have been set up.
It is prohibited to admit a number of persons greater than the maximum number of persons permitted, be in a place if the maximum number of persons permitted is exceeded and be in a place where the activities are suspended.
Physical distancing in public places
As in other circumstances, people must keep 2 metres apart, in both indoor and outdoor public places.
A distance of 1.5 metres between people applies only in places where people are seated, are relatively stationary and do not talk much or at all, for example, in performance venues, movie theatres and audiovisual recording studios.
Physical distancing of 1.5 metres applies only to the audience or users. Artists, entertainers or hosts, etc. must keep 2 metres apart.
As for gatherings in private places, physical distancing will not apply to people from the same household.
In places where there is more movement, such as common areas or queues, people will still have to keep 2 metres apart. In these circumstances, wearing a mask or face covering is mandatory indoors for people age 10 and over and is recommended outdoors. The health recommendations must also be followed. In addition, in all common areas of residential buildings (apartments, condos, multiplexes, residential complexes, etc.), a mask or face covering is recommended.
In order to avoid overloading the telephone lines of 911 emergency centres, citizens are asked not to call 911 to report a gathering.
If you witness a serious situation that requires police intervention, you may contact the police department serving your area (French only).
The police are present and will continue to intervene, while respecting the powers granted to them in the context of a health emergency. Awareness raising and information are the approaches favoured by all police forces in Québec. At this time, police interventions are increasing and offence reports are being written up and fines issued for not wearing a face covering.
Last update: December 23, 2020