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Quebec has officially cancelled Christmas gatherings

Quebec has officially cancelled Christmas gatherings
/ sajoiner / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

The Quebec government has reversed its decision on holiday gatherings in red zones.

The news reverses the provincial government's decision made on November 19 to allow a maximum of two gatherings of up to 10 people between Dec. 24 and Dec. 27.

Premier Francois Legault made the announcement at a news conference earlier today alongside Health Minister Christian Dube and the province's director of public health, Dr. Horacio Arruda.

On Tuesday he said he would allow his team until December 11 to decide whether the province would allow gatherings over the holidays but with COVID-19 cases increasing, Legault opted to break the bad news early.

“It’s not realistic to think we will succeed in reducing the progress of the virus by Christmas,” Legault said during the press conference.

“I am announcing the two days foreseen for Christmas (gatherings) will be cancelled. We sincerely hoped the situation would get better, but it has not.”

Legault said that while government usually bases its decisions on the recommendations from public health officials, this time around, the decision was instead made by him and his team.

The announcement comes after the number of new daily COVID-19 cases in Quebec reached an all-time high on December 1.

The new rules, however, do not apply to all Quebecers. Legault specified citizens living in less critical zones will be allowed to gather. In yellow zones, for example, ten people can gather for Christmas while the limit is six in orange zones.

Legault has also stressed you can still visit loved ones if they live alone.

"I know that there are mounting mental health problems in people who are alone. So, if you have the chance to visit a person living alone, you have the right, one at a time, but you have the right to go," he said back in October.

The premier says he's relying on people to act responsible, but fines will be given out to those caught breaking the rules.

"Quebecers have the common sense not to put their family members at risk," Legault said. "I don't think there's anyone in Quebec who feels like having in their head for the rest of their lives that they infected someone in their family [or] one of their friends."

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