December 8, 2020 – Federal and provincial government update on the COVID-19 pandemic
Here is an update on recent decisions and actions by the Canadian and Québec governments in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Possible renewed lockdown
Québec Premier François Legault did not rule out the possibility of a renewed lockdown due to the rise in cases of COVID-19, combined with increased hospitalizations and the cancellation of medical appointments and surgeries in hospitals.
“We’re monitoring how the pandemic develops on a daily basis. Nothing has been ruled out,” said Mr. Legault, who added that the situation in the Northeastern United States is troubling.
The premier reiterated his call to businesses to promote telework and, if possible, to close their doors during the Holidays, from December 17 to January 4, to help break the second wave of the pandemic, “which is still very strong everywhere in Canada and around the world,” he said.
To curb the uptick in contagion, Mr. Legault reiterated that the government is tightening measures in stores for holiday shopping.
While the redeployment of surgeries is affecting 80% of regular activities in hospitals, Premier Legault reassured Quebecers that urgent surgeries will go ahead.
Mr. Legault explained that this redeployment is not desirable. “Again, it’s a balance right now. Some people are stressed about delays [in their treatment protocols], but we need to have enough beds for people with COVID-19, especially if they are old, due to the risk of fatal complications.”
“This is not an easy decision, but we have no choice,” he said.
The government still has no intention of putting up roadblocks to prevent people from red zones from travelling to orange or yellow zones to dine in restaurants.
“According to Public Health, this is not a determining factor in the spread of the contagion,” said Mr. Legault.
The Legault government, in conduction with Public Health, is still planning to reopen restaurants and bars on January 11, 2021.
“We hope they’ll reopen,” said Mr. Legault, as more and more small- and medium-sized businesses worry that their prolonged closure, especially during the Holidays, will drive them to bankruptcy or permanent closure.
Canada’s minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, Mélanie Joly, reiterated that the Canadian government has extended the emergency assistance program to help businesses get through the next few months so that they can reopen their doors when commercial activities resume.