Museums will be able to receive visitors from Monday across Quebec, while theaters and cinemas will be authorized to reopen in six regions of Quebec from February 26. This was announced by Prime Minister François Legault on Tuesday during the press briefing unveiling new “small deconfinement” measures.
“We are absolutely delighted with this great news, which really brings hope and is a sign that the situation is improving. ”
John Zeppetelli, Director General and Chief Curator of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC), is not the only museum manager delighted with Prime Minister François Legault’s announcement, made late Tuesday afternoon .
As of Monday, museums and libraries will be able to reopen throughout Quebec, more than four months after closing their doors. In six regions considered in the orange zone, theaters and cinemas will be authorized to receive customers from February 26. Not to mention the dining rooms of the restaurants.
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts will be able to reopen as early as next week, but the exact date remains to be confirmed. The great exhibition Riopelle: meeting northern territories and indigenous cultures awaits visitors, rejoices the new general manager, Stéphane Aquin.
Our museum will soon be ready to offer a safe artistic experience to its visitors, thanks to the many measures it has put in place, including enhanced distancing, ventilation, controlled circulation and ticket time stamping.
Stéphane Aquin, new Director General of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Linda Tremblay, director of communications for the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ), also underlines how much the museums have learned from their first reopening, last June. “Thanks to the resilience of our teams,” she emphasizes. In full compliance with the standards required by the Public Health Department and the Commission for Standards, Equity, Health and Safety at Work (CNESST).
The MNBAQ will be able to inaugurate – the date will be confirmed shortly – the expected international exhibition, Turner and the sublime, the extension of which was also made official until May 2, 2021. This exhibition will offer a foray into the heart of the work of the artist Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851), considered a master of the Romantic movement and ‘one of the precursors of Impressionism.
“The MNBAQ’s mission takes on its full meaning with the presence of its visitors. We are delighted to finally be able to welcome them again, says Linda Tremblay. The pandemic has allowed us to see how culture is essential to our balance and well-being. ”
Art galleries, considered to be businesses, will be able to reopen in the same way as non-essential businesses, whether in the red zone or in the orange zone. Libraries, they had been authorized to partially reopen on January 7, but their access was limited, among other things, to students. They will now be completely free to access, confirmed the cabinet of the Ministry of Culture and Communications.
Patience in the red zone
If the “small deconfinement” measures announced Tuesday by the Legault government bring some hope to the cultural community, the managers of theaters and cinemas in the most populous regions of Quebec will once again have to be patient.
“We are not surprised, but we are disappointed,” said Éric Bouchard, president of the Corporation des cinemas du Québec (CSCQ). We hoped to be able to reopen all theaters during spring break. ”
Those that will be open will certainly have a programming challenge.
Éric Bouchard, President of the Corporation of Quebec Cinemas
A revival committee “to manage film releases” was set up with distributors and the Association of Quebec Cinemas Owners. However, distributors will want to wait for all theaters to resume their activities before releasing and promoting new films.
Éric Bouchard, president of the CQSB and also owner of Cinéma St-Eustache, nevertheless said he was relieved at the extension of the assistance programs in place announced by the Prime Minister. “I have a thought for restaurants, theaters and cinemas,” François Legault said during his press briefing. I understand that it is hard, and we will continue the assistance programs. ”
“But don’t get me wrong,” says Éric Bouchard. I would rather open a hundred times than have an aid program. ”
” Hope ”
“There is hope, we must be delighted about that,” says David Laferrière, president of the Professional Association of RIDEAU show presenters, which brings together 350 theaters and festivals.
The rooms in the orange zone which will be able to reopen on February 26 represent 30% of its members, he indicates. “This will make it possible to reactivate the marketing of certain shows. Unlike the start of the pandemic, “he feels that theaters are part of the equation” within the government.
At the beginning of the evening, the Minister of Culture and Communications, Nathalie Roy, was also delighted with this beginning of deconfinement “which arrives in time for the spring break”. “After months of sustained discussions, we finally got the green light from Public Health to resume certain cultural activities. Knowing that Quebecers will reconnect with their artists and their institutions very soon is a new source of hope. ”
David Laferrière also welcomes the opening of theaters gradually depending on the region. “We also want things to go well. When theaters reopen, it has to be for good, ”he says. The general and artistic director of Théâtre Gilles-Vigneault, in Saint-Jérôme, is nevertheless worried about the “link with the clientele”. He wonders if she will be there. Like before.
The six regions considered in the orange zone are Gaspésie – Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Bas-Saint-Laurent, Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean, Nord-du-Québec and Côte -North.