Quebec criticized for allowing escape rooms to open while other entertainment remains closed
Montreal entertainment destinations like movie theatres, museums and zoos have all been closed since the city entered the COVD-19 red zone.
However, according to Dr. Horacio Arruda, escape rooms fall under a different category and are allowed to be open.
Escape rooms like Echappe-Toi east of downtown lock you in a themed room with friends and family. You then find clues, crack secret codes, and try to escape within an hour.
Echappe-Toi owner Emmanuel de Gouvello spends much of his time maintaining and rethinking the nine rooms at the facility, but these days he’s spending most of his time trying to unravel the mystery of Quebec Public Health rules.
“This mixed message is absolutely unbearable,” he told Global News.
A government decree came down on Sept. 30, the day of the second shutdown, demanding the closure of all museums, arcades, theme parks and more. De Gouvello, who is also president of the Quebec Escape Room Association, assumed escape rooms in red zones would need to close too.
His colleagues began to ask questions, as their business was not specifically mentioned in the decree.
“Some of the members had a doubt that we were in the scope of the law,” he said.
Echappe-Toi closed, but de Gouvello wrote to Montreal Public Health and the health minister, among others, in search of clarity.
The first to respond was Montreal Public Health. On Oct. 2, they wrote de Gouvello a letter seen by Global News, saying that escape rooms are not allowed in the red zone.
“Not only do they say that, but they write it,” he said.
Then, more than a month and a half later, he got another letter that shocked him.
“I got the letter from Dr. Arruda himself,” the escape room owner said.
He showed Global News a letter signed by Quebec’s Director of Public Health, Dr. Horacio Arruda, saying that escape rooms are not banned because they full under the category of hobbies and sports. Arruda said as long as people are either from the same household, or if it’s a pair who keep their distance, escape rooms can be open.