Québec will be under confinement from January 9 to February 8, 2021. A curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. and other specific measures will apply during this period. To find out about the measures, please visit the Confinement in Québec page.
Guidelines for everyone
The health measures (PDF 512 Kb) (document available in French only) concerning indoor and outdoor physical, sports and recreational activities must be respected at all times.
Sports federations and provincial organizations will develop guidelines for their members regarding the resumption of activities.
People who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 or who are waiting for test results or have tested positive must not take part in indoor or outdoor sports and recreational activities.
People who are deemed to be close contacts of a person with COVID-19 must not take part in indoor or outdoor sports and recreational activities.
It is important to put up a sign at the entrance of the sports facility indicating that people who are self-isolating are not to enter.
Les principes de distanciation physique doivent être respectés en tout temps, que les activités physiques ou sportives se déroulent à l’extérieur ou à l’intérieur. Cette mesure ne s’applique toutefois pas aux personnes vivant sous le même toit.
Dans les lieux de pratique, des repères physiques au sol ou aux murs pour indiquer la distance à respecter peuvent être installés. De plus, un sens de circulation unique peut être établi pour éviter que les personnes ne se croisent. Une circulation fluide et organisée doit être assurée dans les zones qui créent des goulots d’étranglement comme les entrées et les sorties.
Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
Promote hand hygiene measures by providing the necessary materials (e.g. running water, soap, alcohol-based hand sanitizers, touchless trash cans, disposable or paper towels, etc.) at strategic locations in the facilities (at the entrance and the exit). Someone at reception could remind people to wash their hands.
Promote respiratory etiquette:
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, using a single-use paper tissue or the crook of your arm, and then wash your hands.
- Immediately throw the used paper tissue into the garbage.
- Use touchless trash cans.
- Avoid touching your mouth or eyes with your hands.
Put up posters promoting hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and physical distancing in strategic places in the facility, both inside and outside:
Guidelines for participating in winter activities
To date, there is nothing to indicate that winter conditions can prevent the COVID-19 virus from being transmitted outdoors. Transmission outdoors can happen, even in extremely cold conditions. Nevertheless, the public health authorities continue to stress the importance of staying physically active in order to maintain good physical and mental health, which is even more important in the current circumstances.
Winter physical, sports and recreational activities carry less risk of spreading the virus when practised outdoors than when practised indoors. This is why outdoor activities such as skating, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, ice fishing, snowmobiling, fat biking and tubing should be the activities of choice this winter.
To protect individuals who take part in these activities, health guidelines, including the two-metre physical distancing measure, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, must be respected at all times and protective measures must be instituted.
Specific guidelines for winter activities
Site managers must implement reasonable measures to reduce the risks of spreading the virus. They are responsible for:
- Determining and posting the maximum number of people who can be admitted to the site at one time based on the physical capacity of the facilities, both outdoors (e.g. skating rink) and indoors (warming hut to put on skates, shelter, chalet, etc.), in such a way as to comply with the strict application of measures concerning physical distancing and zero contact
- Implementing the recommended health measures, including the following:
- Ensuring that a physical distance of two metres is maintained between people at all times and in all places (waiting line, chalet, shelter, etc.). To do so, physical markers can be placed to indicate the distance to be maintained between individuals from different households or paths leading foot traffic in a single direction can be set up in certain areas (e.g. skating rinks, entrances and exits).
- Facilitating handwashing or disinfection at the entrance to indoor facilities and at strategic locations inside the facilities.
- Requiring that individuals aged 10 and over wear face masks or face coverings that cover the nose and mouth when inside enclosed or partially covered public areas.
- Cleaning frequently touched interior and exterior surfaces.
- Shutting down an activity or adding further control measures when compliance with the basic measures becomes difficult.
To allow participants to practise their activities safely and reduce the risk of frostbite in the winter, facilities where participants get ready (put on their skates, wax their skis, etc.), warm up or eat are allowed to remain open, even in red zones.
However, food services (cafeterias, canteens, restaurants, etc.) remain closed in red zones. To enable participants to eat the food they brought with them, dining rooms (tables and chairs) should be set up so as to maintain a two-metre distance between individuals or family bubbles.
Wherever possible, participants are encouraged to arrive ready to engage in their activity.
Practising physical, sports or winter recreational activities often requires the use of specialized equipment. In order to make this equipment available to everyone, the lending or renting of equipment is permitted, regardless of the alert level for the zone.
As much as possible, it is recommended that:
- participants be encouraged to use their own equipment
- equipment for individual use, such as skates, snowshoes and skis, be lent or rented
- the lending or renting of shared items be limited
- equipment be disinfected after each use
To prevent frostbite, gloves or mittens should not be removed in order to disinfect hands outdoors. However, it is recommended that:
- hands be disinfected or washed inside facilities
- alcohol-based hand sanitizers with 60% to 80% alcohol content be provided to clients in strategic locations
Wearing a mask or a face covering
Participants must wear a mask or face covering that covers the mouth and nose when they enter indoor facilities.
While not compulsory, wearing a mask or face covering outside is recommended when physical distancing measures cannot be respected (e.g. waiting lines, mechanical lifts). Given that wearing a mask or face covering during an outdoor activity can present certain difficulties, such as when mittens make it hard to handle them, a neck warmer or balaclava that covers the nose and mouth can be worn instead.
Neck warmers must consist of at least two layers of close-knit fabric (such as cotton or linen) and be large enough to fully cover the mouth and nose without leaving any area exposed. Please consult the following web page: Wearing a mask or a face covering in public settings.
There is nothing to indicate that winter conditions cause face coverings to be less efficient in protecting against droplets in low ambient temperatures. If the face covering starts to freeze up or frost over because of the cold and the accumulation of moisture in the fabric, it is recommended that it be turned around (with the part that accumulated moisture at the back or side of the neck) or changed over the course of the day.
Even though it is winter, cleaning and disinfection protocols must be maintained to reduce the risks of contamination. As much as possible, frequently touched outdoor surfaces such as handles, chair lift bars, gondola handles, and fatbike handles should be cleaned and disinfected.
It can be more difficult to use cleaning and disinfecting products because of their susceptibility to freezing. Solutions to this problem can include adjusting the procedures for disinfecting outdoor surfaces based on the weather in order to maximize the products’ effectiveness (i.e. take advantage of warmer and sunnier moments) and choosing a product with an alcohol content of at least 70%. Consult the web document on the methods to clean and disinfect surfaces , available in French.
Specific guidelines for managers of indoor facilities
Managers of sports facilities (school, municipal or private) are responsible for ensuring compliance with the health guidelines issued by the public health authorities. The managers must work in collaboration with the sports organizations, if applicable.
To ensure that physical distancing guidelines are followed, solid partitions can be installed in certain areas (e.g. reception, in front of the markers) or between the pieces of equipment (e.g. equipment in the gym).
Changing room access is restricted in order to promote physical distancing between people.
Access to showers in the changing rooms is permitted, provided physical distancing guidelines are followed and the area is cleaned regularly throughout the day.
Access to non-essential common areas that lend themselves to gathering is restricted and loitering around the entrance and exit is not allowed.
Site managers may limit the number of users admitted, or even close a site, to ensure compliance with the guidelines issued by public health authorities. In addition, the CNESST has produced the Workplace Sanitary Standards Guide for the Indoor and Outdoor Sports, Recreation and Open Air Activities Sector – COVID-19 to ensure the safety of employees working in facilities that are permitted to open.
Maintenance of indoor facilities
Frequently touched surfaces (door knobs, sinks, etc.) must be cleaned several times a day. The frequency with which changing rooms and washrooms are cleaned and disinfected is increased and adjusted based on the amount of traffic. Click here to learn more.
Fitness rooms and gyms are disinfected and aired out after each session. The schedule provides time between training sessions or matches for full disinfection when required, depending on the type of physical or sports activity.
There must be proper ventilation that ensures good air circulation. It is essential that ventilation systems are operating maintained properly in accordance with the regulatory requirements for the type of establishment. It is also important to ensure that air is not blown directly on people.
Other guidelines for sports organizations
As much as possible, online payment should be encouraged for registrations. The handling of paper is restricted to the maximum for registration and information-sharing purposes and the use of electronic documents should be preferred.
Local or nearby activities are encouraged. Travel between regions is permitted, but individuals are asked to ensure that they go straight to the location of the training activity, and to limit any non-essential stops along the way. Once they have arrived at the location, the guidelines issued by the public health authorities must be respected.
A record must be kept that includes, at minimum, the names of participants, their telephone numbers and the date they participated.
Specific guidelines for participants, accompanying persons and employees (sports organizations)
A protocol has been established for dealing with people who develop symptoms while at practice facilities. The people in charge are familiar with this protocol:
- Isolate, in a closed room if indoors, until the departure for home.
- Leave for home as quickly as possible.
- Wear a procedure mask.
- Call 1-877-644-4545 and follow the instructions given.
Equipment and materials
Given that it is difficult to keep from touching one’s face, particularly in the context of physical and sports activities, it is recommended that shared objects and equipment be disinfected regularly.
Each participant should use their own equipment as much as possible. If this is not possible, the equipment should be changed regularly during the activity and washed with hot water and soap or an effective disinfectant between activities (e.g. balls)
If the players bring their own equipment (e.g. a ball), a person designated by the club must disinfect it before the players take the field.
Some objects, such as cones and hurdles, are not frequently touched by hands during the sports activity. People should be asked to wash their hands after handling them.
The lending of equipment and team uniforms at the beginning of the season is permitted. Participants are responsible for cleaning them after each training session or match for the rest of the season.
After the training session or match, clothing is removed and washed with regular laundry detergent.
Procedure for indoor and outdoor physical or sports activities
Participants are encouraged to arrive ready to engage in the activity and at the appointed time in order to avoid gatherings. They are also encouraged to leave as quickly as possible after the activity ends.
Before and after the activity, staff and participants must wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or disinfect them.
Participants’ personal effects are to be kept to a strict minimum (e.g. water bottle and towel) and are not to be left just anywhere. Specific areas may be designated for this purpose.
The number of participants, accompanying persons and staff members present is limited in order to enable physical distancing to be maintained during the activity, whether indoors or outdoors.
If staff members cannot maintain physical distancing from the participants (e.g. on the players’ bench, at the bar in gymnastics), they are required to wear a mask and eye protection.
In order to limit the number of participants in the same space, group activities should be organized to allow subgroups to take turns. The number of participants per subgroup must allow physical distancing to be maintained. As much as possible, these subgroups should be composed of the same participants.
Non-essential physical contact between participants, staff and accompanying persons (e.g. huddles, handshakes, hugs) is not permitted).
Spaced blocks of activities (staggered schedules) are planned. These staggered schedules allow enough time for the staff to clean between groups of participants, when required by the physical or sports activity.
The length of the physical or sports activity can be adjusted based on the effort exerted and the context (e. g. indoors, ventilation).
If an employee provides first aid, the following recommendations (available in French only) apply.
Spectators must follow physical distancing rules at all times. At all alert levels, masks or face coverings are mandatory for spectators aged 10 and over, even when seated and respecting the required physical distance.
Resources for staying active
The following resources may help you stay active outdoors and at home:
- Actiz (Resource for staying active at work) (Available in French only)
- Vifa magazine (Available in French only)
- Unités régionales de loisir et de sport (Available in French only)
- The “Inspiring Advice” blog by Sépaq
- Loisir accessible (Available in French only)
- Force 4 (Available in French only)
- WIXX (Available in French only)
- PeP ton jeu! (Available in French only)
- Grand défi Pierre Lavoie (Available in French only)
- Energy Cubes
- Move 50+ (Available in French only)
- The Open School website
- Energy Cube – Be active
- Cent degrés magazine (Available in French only)
- Questions and answers concerning outdoor sports and recreational activities
- Covid-19 : Guide des consignes sanitaires à suivre lors de la pratique d’activités physiques, sportives, de loisir ou de plein air (French only) (PDF 512 Kb)
- Water quality of indoor swimming pools and spas (COVID-19)
- Workplace Sanitary Standards Guide for the Indoor and Outdoor Sports, Recreation and Open Air Activities Sector – COVID-19
- Gradual re-opening of the SEPAQ parks
Last update: January 21, 2021