July 9, 2020 – Provincial government update on the COVID-19 pandemic
Here is an update on recent decisions and actions by the Québec government in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tightening the rules for bars
In light of the outbreaks that have occurred as a result of evenings in certain bars, sites that are conducive to the spread of COVID-19, the Québec minister of Health and Social Services, Christian Dubé, announced a reduction in opening hours and capacity as well as an increased police presence as of tomorrow.
Bars will be required to stop serving alcohol as of midnight and to close at 1 a.m. Their capacity has been reduced to 50% and all customers must remain seated.
“With clear measures, the police will be able to apply the rules,” said Mr. Dubé, specifying that following health regulations is also the responsibility of customers.
A compromise to be validated
Despite bar managers’ discontent with the new restrictions, the minister of Health and Social Services believes that this is an acceptable compromise, even if bar and discotheque owners are unhappy.
He promised to follow up with them as of next Monday to see how things went on the weekend.
The 10-3-2 rule applies at home
The director of Public Health, Dr. Horacio Arruda, also warned the population with respect to festive gatherings at home. They create the same conditions conducive to the propagation of the virus as do evenings in bars and discotheques.
“It’s important to respect the 10-person limit, 3 family bubbles and physical distancing of 2 metres,” said Dr. Arruda.
Minister Dubé wanted to send a message to those who think that the pandemic is over and that they can let their guard down.
“Those who think that are making a serious mistake,” said Minister Christian Dubé. “By letting loose, as I’m seeing in certain cases, we’re putting people’s health and lives at risk. After all the sacrifices Quebecers have made, we can’t allow this,” he said.
For the first time in 10 days, Québec surpassed 100 new cases of people infected with COVID-19, reaching 137 cases. “This worries me,” said the minister.
Dr. Arruda said that during isolation, each reported case had been in contact with two or three people. “Now, each case traces back to 50 to 70 contacts,” he said.
To facilitate health inquiries, the government is recommending, on a voluntary basis, that bar managers keep a record of their customers, which will make it possible to quickly contact anyone who was present in the event of infection.
Mandatory use of masks
The government is still studying the mandatory use of masks in all closed public spaces, said Premier François Legault.
“We’re seeing what’s going on in the United States, including Florida, Texas and California. There’s another upsurge in cases. It’s very important that we not end up having to return to lockdown in Québec,” said the premier.
The minister of Health and Social Services, Christian Dubé, said, “We’re coming close to a decision.”
He added that the challenge is being able to enforce these measures. “We have to work with Public Health and Public Security to assess the measures that come with this kind of decision,” he said.