As part of his daily briefings, Quebec Premier François Legault announced that the government will table a plan next week as to when schools and businesses throughout the province will open.
“Public health will be our top priority,” said Legault in French. He says governing bodies will continue to have discussions about how to proceed.
When it comes to schools, the premier says “we are going to make sure to parents that they won’t be forced to send their students to school if they don’t want.”
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Legault says students who don’t go back to school can do the “necessary catching up” when the 2020-2021 school year starts back up in September.
Legault continued to say that whenever schools and businesses do reopen, they will be done “gradually” and “region by region” starting with the areas in Quebec that are “very stable.” He said Quebec feels like two worlds to him — one side is the “very difficult” situation in long-term care homes and the other side is “particularly stable,” outside of Montreal and Laval.
The premier says 74% of COVID-19-related deaths in Quebec are either in Montreal or Laval. “That is to say, the situation is stable per capita.”
The reopening of schools and businesses will come with a certain level of guidelines, he says. The government will proceed “little by little” so as to avoid another new wave of the contagion curve going upwards again.
Les prochains jours devraient nous permettre de savoir si on est du bon côté de la courbe. On va pouvoir préciser notre plan de réouverture graduelle.
La santé publique demeure notre priorité.
🎥Suivez notre point de presse en direct 👇https://t.co/dj79mKGZhi
— François Legault (@francoislegault) April 22, 2020
Legault said tabling a plan will give businesses the chance to “get ready” and to “follow the guidelines put forth by public health officials.”
“Our challenge will be restarting the economy without restarting the pandemic,” concluded Legault.
When asked about whether Quebec has considered making wearing face masks mandatory when things do reopen, Quebec’s Director of Public Health, Horacio Arruda, said they haven’t agreed on anything yet.
Arruda said, in French, “we are going to make the recommendation to wear it when you are not in a situation to respect the two-metre guidelines.” He stressed the importance of citizens washing their hands. “I know I’m repeating and reiterating, but it’s very important.”
Dr. Arruda said face mask guidelines will be announced as part of the plans but reminded people that “the masks won’t protect people as if they’re superheroes.”