OTTAWA -- The Quebec government lifts some of the COVID-19 public health measures in Gatineau and the Outaouais today, allowing restaurants to reopen indoor dining rooms and gyms and fitness centres to open.

The Outaouais is one of eight regions across Quebec moving into the "Level 3-Alert" orange zone as vaccinations increase and COVID-19 cases decrease in the province. In a statement last week, the CISSS de l'Outaouais said the area is moving to the orange zone because of the "improved epidemiological situation."

Here is a look at the COVID-19 restrictions easing in Gatineau and the Outaouais today:

  • Secondary 3, 4 and 5 students return to school full-time
  • Restaurant dining rooms reopen for indoor dining. A maximum of two people from a different address may sit at the same table, and they may be accompanied by their children under 18
  • Gyms and fitness centres reopen, but must keep compulsory sign-in records and individuals must wear a mask at all times. Fitness centres can offer classes or supervision to individuals or to members of the same household
  • Places of worship may open with a maximum of 100 people. Weddings and funerals are limited to 25 people
  • Museums are allowed to open, in compliance with the measures in force

Indoor gatherings remain prohibited for visitors from another address, except for a person who lives alone. 

Quebec lifted several restrictions in Gatineau and the Outaoauis last Friday, allowing restaurant patios to reopen and lifting the overnight curfew. Outdoor gatherings of up to eight people are also permitted in backyards, with two-metre distancing.

Under Quebec's three phase reopening plan, most regions, including Gatineau and the Outaouais, will move into the yellow zone between June 11 and 14. Bars will be allowed to reopen, with their terraces open on June 11. Under phase 2, people from two different residences may visit in a private home and supervised outdoor sports and recreation will be allowed in groups of 25 people.

Rachel Larche, a waitress at La Station, has been waiting for this day for weeks.

"It's like our second home. We love it," she said. "So far it’s been good. It’s steady. A lot of new faces, too, at the same time. Everybody likes to sit on the patio. Nice sun."

The Quebec government reported 16 new COVID-19 cases in the Outaouais region on Monday, out of 276 across all of Quebec.

Gym owners were also excited to see their regulars return.

"Turn out is good. All of our regulars in the morning that come in before work, they were in this morning," said Rae-Anne Norwood, the manager of Nautilus Plus in Aylmer. "Everyone is kind of used to the rules by now. Our rules didn’t really change between April, when we were last open, and today. So it’s just business as usual really. Everyone is just so excited to get back in the groove."

Most excited are the members, who can once again make the gym a part of their fitness routine.

"Honestly, it feels good to get out of the house and have a nice safe environment to release stress and be out again, and kind of around people, but in a nice way," said Diwa Blankson.

"I’ve seen a couple of my clients back here with a happy smile on their face, so I’m pretty excited," said personal trainer Marc-Olivier Sauvé.

Quebec plans to move all zones into the green zone between June 25 and 28. The government says this is what will happen starting June 25:

  • Day and sleepover vacation camps opening
  • Easing of requirements on wearing masks and distancing oneself from private gatherings for people vaccinated with two doses
  • Resumption of festivals and other events outdoors, with a maximum of 2,500 people authorized on each site