Quebec tightening health measures in stores as of Friday
Provincial officials will begin to enforce capacity limits in all types of businesses across the province, including shopping centres, supermarkets, and businesses with a storefront.
In an attempt to stop large holiday shopping crowds from forming, owners of commercial establishments will have to set a limit on capacity based on the total square footage of the building and display that information at their store's entrance. The limit is approximately one client per 20 square metres. Strict physical distancing measures must be also applied inside and among those lining up outside.
Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault announced the new rules earlier today.
“To avoid that the situation in malls becomes a factor in the spread of the virus,” deputy premier Geneviève Guilbault said at a morning press conference Wednesday in Quebec City, “we want to tighten some of the measures.”
Police officers will increase their presence and those who violate the new rules can receive fines ranging from $1,000 to $6,000.
"As with everything else, the way we shop will have to be a little different this year, if we want to ensure that the spread of the virus is limited," said Health Minister Chrisitan Dubé in a statement.
Guilbault announced the plan shortly before health authorities reported the biggest increase of new COVID-19 cases in a single day. According to Santé Quebec, 1,514 new COVID-19 cases have been added to the provincial total, along with 43 virus-related deaths.
Previously, the record for the highest number of cases was on November 25 with 1,464 new cases.
Of the newly added deaths, nine occurred over the past day. Furthermore, the number of hospitalizations now stands at 740. Not since June has Quebec had this many people in hospital with COVID-19. Among those in the hospital, 99 are in intensive care.
Total coronavirus cases in the province have now reached 145,062, along with 7,125 deaths.