Government implements vast closures
With Coronavirus cases ramping up across the province, the Quebec Government has decided to implement new measures to limit social contact and prevent the virus from spreading.
Quebec Premier François Legault said in a press conference on March 23 that all non-essential businesses – which include shopping malls, restaurants (except take-out) and personal care shops (hair salons, spas) – will be closed throughout the province until April 13.
All non-essential stores must shut down by midnight on March 24, Legault said.
Newspapers to remain open as ‘essential service’
Schools, non-essential child-care facilities and entertainment venues will be closed until May 1, Legault said during a press conference on March 22. Quebec Minister of Education Jean-François Roberge added that all Quebec Ministry end-of-year exams and all school board-based exams have also been cancelled.
All indoor and outdoor gatherings are also prohibited for the foreseeable future, and people must maintain a minimum social distance of two metres from others whenever possible.
Essential services, such as supermarkets, pharmacies and media outlets will remain open. Legault stated that an official list of essential services will be updated regularly.
The premier noted that 628 Quebecers have been affected by the virus – an increase of 409 cases from the previous day. More than 40 people have been hospitalized, 20 of them in intensive care, an increase of 21 and seven respectively. The province has confirmed four deaths so far.
The province is awaiting nearly 2,000 test results and has confirmed more than 1,100 negative tests.
In the Outaouais, eight people have been infected. On March 20, the Centre Intégré de la santé et des services sociaux de l’Outaouais (CISSSO) said that the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the region had reached two.
CISSSO officials told the Bulletin that, by March 23, they had administered 1,703 screening tests, and were waiting for 505 results. One case has been announced in Pontiac, the Fort-Coulonge area.
Those showing COVID-19 symptoms are urged to call the Quebec Service designated phone lines: 1-877-644-4545 and 1-819-644-4545.