COVID-19 Update - Important Information for Businesses

Quebec announces new COVID-19 measures for retailers, including shopping malls, over the holidays. These include limiting the amount of customers per store and providing appropriate signage. Failure to adhere to new rules puts retailers at risk of significant fines.

As the COVID-19 cases in Québec are continuing to increase, the Québec government is progressively announcing measures which may have an impact on workplaces. Here is an update of the most recent news announced during this first week of December.

Stores and shopping malls

On Wednesday, December 2, 2020, the Québec government announced new measures in shopping malls and stores which will apply as of Friday, December 4, 2020. Under these new measures,

  • Stores will have to limit the number of clients in their stores and post in a conspicuous manner the limit (number of clients authorized in the store);

  • The number of authorized customers will be about 1 customer per 20 square meters. For example, in a store of 9 000 square meters, about 450 customers will be authorized. For stores that are smaller than 20 square meters, only one customer at a time will be allowed;

  • Staff is not to be included or counted in the number of authorized customers;

  • The CNESST inspectors will increase their monitoring and police officers will also be more present during Boxing Day;

  • If a store does not impose a limit on the number of clients, does not clearly post the number of authorized clients or does not ensure that physical distancing is maintained in lines outside of the store, it can receive a fine of $ 1000 to $ 6000;

  • Owners of shopping malls will also have to ensure that these principles are followed in common areas of shopping malls and inside shopping mall as a whole, and are subject to the same calculation of 1 client per 20 square meters.

Please note that the written ministerial orders have not yet been published. The aforementioned guidelines may therefore slightly differ from what the final governmental text will provide.

No holiday gatherings in red zones

Furthermore, on Thursday, December 3, 2020, the Québec government went back on its previous announcements allowing two (2) private gatherings between December 24 and December 27, 2020.

In light of the spread of COVID-19 in certain Québec regions, in all red zones, gatherings will be strictly prohibited during the entire holiday season. The only visits allowed will be to individuals living alone, and only one visitor at a time will be authorized so long as physical distancing is maintained and face masks are worn. The regular rules already applicable in yellow or orange zones will continue to apply (i.e. gatherings will be authorized during the holidays following the same modalities as before the holidays). See the Government’s announcement here.

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