Quebec Premier François Legault announced a tightening of COVID-19 restrictions ahead of the Easter long weekend, as the third wave of the pandemic takes hold in the province.
As of Thursday, four regions are being upgraded to red zones, the maximum alert level in the province, including the Outaouais, Capitale Nationale, Chaudières-Appalaches and Bas Saint-Laurent.
Legault made the announcement in Quebec City Wednesday afternoon, just one day after expressing concern over the rise in infections in those four regions.
Special emergency measures will be enacted in Quebec City, Lévis and Gatineau where cases are rising almost exponentially, according to Legault.
Health officials in the Quebec City area, for example, reported 111 new cases on Sunday, and within 48 hours that number jumped to 194.
The concern, the premier said, is the increase in hospitalizations which is expected to follow.
“This is why I’m announcing that Quebec, Lévis and Gatineau, will be on pause for 10 days, until April 12,” he said.
Schools, non-essential businesses, theatres, cinemas, gyms and restaurant dining rooms, among others, will all be closed starting Thursday at 8 p.m.
Restaurants will be allowed to continue doing takeout and delivery only. Businesses that are being allowed to remain open are not allowed to sell non-essential items.
Legault said financial help would be made available to businesses once again forced to close down. He also stressed that while closures might be difficult, they are necessary to get the economy back on track.
“The best thing for the economy and for businesses is that we get rid of this virus,” he said. “That’s why it’s the top priority that we take decisions that will give us this possibility.”
The 8 p.m. curfew is also being brought back in those three cities.
School day care services will be kept open, but for essential workers only, as classes will be held online.
“For regular child care, we ask parents who can, to keep their children at home,” Legault said. Read Full Article >