Quebec has outlined its guidelines for the holidays. Here’s what the experts say
The Quebec government has issued its guidelines to Quebecers for the holiday season, allowing gatherings of up to 10 people for four days, from Dec. 24 through Dec. 27. (The province later specified people should only take part in two gatherings.)
Schools will be closed Dec. 17, two days prior to the traditional break and classes will resume the week of Jan. 4 as planned.
But high school students will do their learning online until Jan. 11, in part because there is more transmission of the virus among older children, government public health experts said at a technical briefing for journalists.
The rationale for avoiding contacts for seven days before and after the four-day window has to do with the typical incubation period for the COVID-19 virus, according to the experts.
In most cases, symptoms take four to six days to appear after a person is infected. Two days before symptoms appear, the virus is typically able to spread with more force.
For example, someone who catches the virus on Dec. 25 would be most likely to infect others between Dec. 27 and Jan. 1, even if they don’t feel sick yet.
While schools are closed, companies are asked to shift to working from home as much as possible. Government employees will begin working from home on Dec. 17.
Whether all these plans can go ahead depends on the epidemiological curve lowering or at least remaining stable.
The holiday plans come with the province in the midst of a second wave, with the death toll climbing.
We asked medical experts for their views on the province’s guidelines, and their own recommendations for the holidays.
Here’s what they had to say.