MONTREAL -- The Quebec government is calling for all festivals and public sporting and cultural events in the province to be cancelled until Aug. 31.

Several government departments issued a joint news release Friday, saying that the cancellations must take place in the “context where certain health measures put in place to protect Quebecers from COVID-19 will have to be respected in the longer term.”

Tourism Minister Caroline Proulx, Culture and Communications Minister Nathalie Roy and Isabelle Charest, the minister responsible for education, made the announcement.

“This directive has been issued considering the evolution of the COVID-19 situation in Quebec and the need to respect in particular the guideline of a physical distance of two metres for an extended period,'' the ministers wrote.

To offset the impact of the pandemic, the Quebec government is “planning and exploring various forms of accompaniment and support for festivals and events that it finances through its departments and their programs.”

The Montreal Impact of the MLS say professional sports team would be exempt from this request.

"The Montreal Impact has been made aware this afternoon of the government of Quebec's request to cancel all events scheduled until August 31, 2020. However, the Ministry of Tourism specified that this request is not addressed to professional sports leagues. Our return to play and the resumption of activities for the 2020 season will be dictated by MLS, along with public health authorities. The Impact continues to monitor the situation very closely daily, in order to protect the health of its supporters, players, staff, and partners," the team said in a statement.