October 15, 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.
Halloween is on for kids
Québec Premier François Legault announced that children will be able to go trick-or-treating for Halloween, but in accordance with very specific health guidelines.
Mr. Legault said that the risk of contracting COVID-19 is lower because the children will be outdoors and contact with others will be brief, two factors that reduce the possibility of contagion.
Children must trick-or-treat with those they live with, not with their friends. And candies should ideally be placed in bags and put in a basket where they can be taken one at a time, without touching the other bags.
However, the premier was categorical that there can be no Halloween parties.
Christmas in small groups
Worried that the second wave of the pandemic will extend to Christmas or beyond, the premier stated that large gatherings during the Holidays, whether with family, friends or co-workers, will not be permitted this year.
He pointed out that it is still too early to specify if six or 10 people will be permitted to gather.
Restrictions to be kept in place beyond October 28
Now that the midpoint of the government’s 28-day challenge to the population to make a collective effort to counter the second wave of contagion has been attained, Premier Legault confirmed that certain restrictions currently in place will be extended beyond October 28.
While Mr. Legault said that it is good news that the number of new cases has stabilized around 1,000 a day, instead of increasing, more needs to be done. “We must continue to reduce the number of cases,” he said.
Like everywhere else in the world
Premier Legault reiterated that the health guidelines as well as the closure of restaurant dining rooms, bars and other businesses in Québec are similar to what is occurring around the world.
“When we compare our situation to what’s going on elsewhere, it’s reassuring,” he said, referring to the curfews that have been imposed, particularly in several cities in France, while here “we’re not planning on imposing curfews.”
Mr. Legault also pointed out that right now, in Québec, 114 cases are being recorded per one million inhabitants, while in the United States this ratio is 177 cases, in the United Kingdom it is 290 and in France it is 347.
The minister of Health and Social Services, Christian Dubé, denounced the holding of bingo nights attended by hundreds of people, many of them seniors, while health guidelines stipulate that people should not be organizing these types of events.
Minister Dubé deplored this “lack of judgment,” by organizers and called on people to show good judgment in order to protect the most vulnerable.
$70 M for sports and leisure
The minister for Education and the minister responsible for the Status of Women, Isabelle Charest, announced a $70-million assistance plan for the sports, leisure and outdoor recreational communities, hard hit by COVID-19, in order to guarantee their viability once the pandemic is over.
The minister, a former Olympic champion, explained that this aid package is in addition to the $110-million contribution paid annually to organizations of all kinds in these activity sectors. For sports federations, this represents a 60% increase in their annual budget envelope. How this assistance will be distributed will be announced in the coming weeks.
“I want all Quebecers, regardless of age, status or fitness level, to have access to activities they are passionate about and that have a positive impact on their mental and physical health,” said the minister.