Quebec becomes the first province in Canada to enforce a COVID-19 curfew
Over the past 24 hours, rumors have been circulating that the Quebec government would make an announcement placing the entire province under the tightest restrictions since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. And based on what we heard, we were expecting a lockdown unlike any ever seen in Canada, with stay-at-home orders starting at 8 p.m., enforced by police fines.
Late this afternoon, Premier François Legault addressed the province in his first press conference of 2021 and pretty much confirmed what we already knew to be true. As the rising number of COVID-19 cases threatens to overload the health-care system, Legault unveiled the details of stricter lockdown measures.
Here’s a breakdown of what we know:
Starting this week, there will be a curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. from January 9 to February 8. People will not be allowed to leave their homes during those times unless travelling to or from work. Legault called it a “shock treatment” that he believes is required.
It will be mandatory for office workers to work from home and all non-essential businesses as well as places of worship will be closed until Feb. 8.
Primary schools will open Monday on January 11th as planned but elementary school students will need to wear masks in hallways; while those in Grade 5 and 6 will have to also wear face coverings while in class.
High schools will reopen on Jan. 18 but Legault said they should have more news tomorrow in regards to education.
Grocery stores and dépanneurs will have to close at 7:30 p.m., although some businesses will be allowed to provide curbside pickup. The premier also says an exception will be made for depanneurs that double as gas stations and pharmacies which will be able to stay open past 8 pm.
Individual activities will be allowed outdoors, including skating and skiing but team sports will not be allowed.
“We have to say the truth, the situation has worsened in Quebec,” said Legault. “An increase in the number of cases, hospitalizations, and the death toll has increased. Our hospitals are overloaded. The situation is bad, it’s very serious.”
The news comes as Quebec reported 2,641 more cases of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours along with 47 deaths.
The total number of people infected in Quebec since the start of the pandemic now stands at 217,999. The total number of deaths is now at 8,488. Among those 47 newly reported deaths, 13 occurred in the last 24 hours.
There are 24,603 known active cases of COVID-19 in the province and according to the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux, there are currently 1,393 Quebecers hospitalized because of COVID-19.
Among these, the number of people in intensive care increased for a total of 202.
Montreal was hit the hardest, adding 846 new cases, for a total of 76,826 since March.
The province administered 6,221 doses of the vaccine on Tuesday, for a total of 38,984.