Quebec Premier Francois Legault is extending his partial lockdown order for the province’s biggest cities by another four weeks.
Legault told a new conference today that the rates of new, daily COVID-19 cases and deaths linked to the virus are too high to allow gyms, bars and other entertainment venues to reopen.
Quebec reported 808 new COVID-19 cases today and 10 more deaths linked to the virus. The province has a seven-day average of 940 daily cases, representing roughly 110 infections per million people.
The partial lockdown on cities such as Montreal and Quebec City was scheduled to end Oct. 28, but Legault says his order will be extended to Nov. 23.
Legault says owners of gyms and other businesses who violate lockdown orders risk being fined.
The premier says public health authorities will analyze the situation in two weeks and determine whether restrictions can be eased before Nov. 23.
Legault is also announcing that secondary three students at schools in Quebec’s maximum-alert zones — such as Montreal and Quebec City — will join secondary four and five students on an alternating schedule and stay home one school day out of two.
Christian Menard, vice-president of ProGym in east-end Montreal, said earlier today that in the absence of evidence that gyms and other training centres are contributing to COVID-19 outbreaks, they should be allowed to reopen.
“For the moment, we are ready to open on the 29th, because there hasn’t been any recommendations to the contrary,” Menard said ahead of Legault’s announcement.
“We want the premier to take into consideration the opinion and the lives of those on the ground and those who use these facilities.”
While some the coalition’s 253 members have vowed to reopen their doors on Thursday even if the lockdown is extended, not all have committed to doing so.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 26, 2020.
Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press