Three major regions of Quebec go red

“The big heart”, the premier of Quebec, François Legault, announced Monday afternoon that three regions of the province will pass in red zone. This new stage of confinement marks in particular the return of severe restrictions on gatherings with family and friends.

“If we want to arrive safely, we must all work together. I understand that the measurements are difficult, ”agreed Mr. Legault. Starting Wednesday evening at midnight, the Montreal Metropolitan Community, the Capitale-Nationale region with the exception of Portneuf and Charlevoix, and the Chaudière-Appalaches region will go into the “red zone”.

Shops in the affected regions will be able to remain open, but restaurants will have to be content with delivery and take-out orders. Bars, casinos, theaters, cinemas, theaters, libraries and museums will have to close their doors.

These strengthened measures will be in effect, a priori, until midnight October 28. “We think it is possible in 28 days to change the trend, but there is nothing guaranteed,” admitted Mr. Legault, insisting on the need to avoid socialization. “It’s not pleasant to not being able to see his children, added the national director of public health, Horacio Arruda, […] but we have no choice. “

All private gatherings – indoor and outdoor – will be banned in areas in red. It will generally be forbidden to invite guests to your home, but exceptions will be allowed for people living alone. People who need a caregiver or babysitter, for example, can accommodate one visitor at a time.

The same formula will apply in residences for the elderly: one caregiver will be allowed at a time. It doesn’t always have to be the same person from day to day.

“We will not cloister [les aînés], we will not imprison them, we will not lock their doors to prevent them from leaving, reacted in the evening Paul Brunet, the president and CEO of the Council for the protection of the sick. We learned lessons from the first wave, but we should have learned them long before. “

To Quebecers who flout health instructions, Mr. Legault reminded at a press conference that his government was not imposing the second round of confinement “for fun”, but to protect vulnerable populations. The Prime Minister also announced that the wearing of masks will be mandatory during protests, adding that the Ministry of Public Security was working to determine how to apply this rule.

Strong rising trend

There were 750 new cases of COVID-19 in Quebec on Monday. Although this increment is a little lower than that announced on Sunday, the current trend is nevertheless up sharply. One death on an unspecified date also added to the province’s toll.

Many epidemiologists point out that it is only a matter of time before hospitalizations and deaths follow such steep curves as those found. Secondary and tertiary infections generated by less vulnerable patients will sooner or later affect at-risk groups, they say.

According to the most recent data, Quebec has 58 active cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 inhabitants. Ontario – which would have entered the second wave on Monday, according to its premier, Doug Ford – has half the active cases of Quebec.

As in the spring, the Legault government strongly encourages teleworking. However, companies can continue to accommodate up to 25% of their employees at their usual place of work. In addition, schools will remain open [voir l’autre texte].

The government strongly recommends that Quebecers not move from a red zone to a green, yellow or orange zone, but does not prohibit it. Police officers could be present on the roads to remind motorists of this recommendation, however warned the Prime Minister.

“I want to tell you that currently, even if there are areas a little more red […], it’s everywhere, explained Dr. Arruda. And the biggest danger is to think that for me it is less serious than next. Because the virus is going to hit you from behind. “

The head of public health admitted that bar and restaurant owners have done what is necessary to protect the health of their customers. However, the situation “diffuse, like a spider’s web that takes hold” commanded his team to bring about a change of “social environment” by suspending on-site consumption in these establishments.

Pierre Thibault, president of the New Association of Quebec Bars (NABQ), says he is “hanging on” to Premier Legault’s announcement of imminent financial aid. “If the aid is significant and it manages to compensate for the losses that follow, then it was still the decision to be made […]. It is a social choice that must be made. “

For his part, François Meunier, vice-president of public affairs at the Association des restaurateurs du Québec (ARQ), said he was “in shock”, referring to the human tragedies that are being played out in addition to the economic dramas. “[Notre association] continues to believe that we are rather part of the solution by providing safe gathering places that are controlled and controlled by police and public health, “he said.

The oppositions react

Mr. Legault will count on the “full cooperation” of elected Liberals in order to “mobilize” Quebecers around the objective of slowing the progression of COVID-19 in Quebec, Dominique Anglade promised. The leader of the official opposition in the National Assembly, however, also pledged to “continue to ask questions” of the Legault government. “Quebec has the right to know what happened and what led us to the current situation”, she defended.

The spokesperson for Quebec solidaire, Manon Massé, promised to relay to Parliament the concerns of the workers, who, according to her, were “the big absent from the announcements” of Monday afternoon. “Workers and craftspeople in restaurants, bars and the cultural world are going to spend a sleepless night wondering what to expect tomorrow,” she said.

Several questions remained unanswered at the end of the press conference by Mr. Legault, Mr. Dubé and Mr. Arruda, laments the PQ member Joël Arseneau. “How is the government going to curb the spread of the virus in areas that so far have been relatively untouched by the increase in cases?” he wondered on Monday night.

With Marco Bélair-Cirino and Magdaline Boutros

What is the red alert?

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