As Quebec continues to grapple with high coronavirus case numbers and transmission rates, three regions are now being classified as “red zones,” the highest alert level for coronavirus in the province.
During a late-day press conference on Monday, Premier François Legault announced that in response to a situation that has now become “critical,” Montreal, Quebec City, and Chaudière-Appalaches will fall under the red zone classification as of this Thursday, October 1.
The classification will remain in effect for all three regions until October 28.
Under the classification, Legault said the following regulations will apply:
- Only people living at the same address can be inside a home at the same time. However, there will be exceptions for people “having to receive one person from another address.”
- Bars, dining rooms, restaurants, theatres, cinemas, and “other gathering places” will also be closed.
- Places of worship will be open for a maximum of 25 people at a time.
- Schools will remain open;
- “Everyone must apply” the metre, physical distancing rule outside.
Businesses “can stay open in the red zones if they respect the public health measures,” said Legault. “We’re announcing new measures for the red zones, but we also need to reduce our contacts everywhere in Quebec. We cannot wait for red alerts to happen.”
And while the situation may seem dire at this point, Legault said it’s his belief that “we can change the trend in 28 days.”
That being said, “nothing’s guaranteed and it will depend on Quebecers, and the will of Quebecers,” he added. “We need to break this second wave down and make an effort over the next 28 days, and I believe that we can do it.”
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Legault said he also spoke with government opposition leaders, and “and all members of the national assembly want us to win this fight against the pandemic.”
To do this, he continued, “we need to convince everyone to follow the rules. We are all in the same boat, and if we want to get to the end of this, we need to work together.”
Measures like these are not put in place “for fun,” he stressed. “We’re putting measures in place to protect others, so please, follow the rules – not for me, not for yourselves, but for others. I understand that these measures are challenging [and] none of this makes people happy, but we wouldn’t do this if it wasn’t to help save lives.”
Legault’s announcement comes on the heels of a weekend that saw the province record over 700 coronavirus cases in a single day.