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September 28, 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.

Critical situation in Québec

Premier François Legault raised the alert level and restrictions across Québec. Greater Montréal (Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal), the National Capital region (with the exception of Portneuf and Charlevoix) and Chaudière-Appalaches moved to the highest alert level (red) for COVID-19 while that the rest of province is in alert (orange) and in pre-alert (yellow).

“We’re seeing an increase in cases. The situation is critical,” said the premier, who is worried that an upsurge in cases will translate into hospitalizations and deaths. “We have to stop the second wave,” said Mr. Legaut.

Closures and restrictions

As of midnight Wednesday, dine-in restaurants, bars, performance halls, museums, libraries and private gatherings will be forbidden for 28 days, from October 1 to 28. Restaurants will be restricted to deliveries and takeout.

The government stated that there will be an announcement shortly regarding compensation for losses suffered by these businesses.

No gatherings among family or friends will be permitted. A few exceptions will be permitted, such as a babysitter, a nurse or a plumber—but only one person at a time.

For seniors, a caregiver will be allowed, and this can be someone different from one day to the next.

Funerals will be permitted, with a limit of 25 people in red zones and 250 people in the other zones.

All other businesses will remain open, including care services, beauty parlours, hairdressers, gyms, sports centres, etc. Schools will remain open and extracurricular, sports and recreational activities are authorized.

Travel between regions is not recommended, but is not prohibited.

Premier Legault said that he cannot predict what the situation will look like in 28 days. “Nothing is guaranteed. It will depend on Quebecers,” he said.

No outdoor gatherings

As of October 1, no outdoor gatherings will be permitted either, even among friends.

Masks will be mandatory for demonstrations. In short order, the deputy premier and minister of Public Security, Geneviève Guilbault, will announce the powers police will have to intervene to ensure that these measures are respected. Fines will be imposed on violators.

Appeal to anti-maskers

The premier of Québec emphatically called on anti-maskers to follow the rules out of respect for those who are vulnerable. “Please, follow the rules. Not for me, not for you, but for others,” he said.

Mr. Legault stated that over the last few weeks there have been outbreaks in every region of Québec.

Tracing app

The minister of Health and Social Services, Christian Dubé, confirmed that a tracing app for smart phones is in the works in order to make it easier to alert people who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Without providing further detail, Minister Dubé stated that an announcement on this is coming in the near future.

New screening rules

Minister Dubé also announced that from now on screening will prioritize people who are symptomatic or who have been in contact with someone who is infected.

As Québec experiences a major upsurge in cases and accelerated community transmission,

it is essential to prioritize screening tests that have a greater probability of identifying those who are infected.