Quebec shutting down non-essential businesses starting Christmas Day

Dec 16 2020, 6:28 am

Quebec is entering another lockdown starting next week in an attempt to neutralize the transmission of COVID-19, does this mean Ontario could be following its steps soon?

On Tuesday, Quebec Premier François Legault announced new restrictions for the province by ordering non-essential businesses to shut down from December 25 to January 11, leaving only banks, grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, hardware stores, garages, and pet stores.

Students across the province will be learning remotely until January 11. Legault says all office employees will be required to work from home until the same time.

Personal services such as hair and nail salons, tattoo parlours, and spas must be closed during the same two-week period. Legault says big stores “like Walmart and Costco” are being asked not to sell non-essential products, in the hopes people will seek them out from small businesses once the two-week lockdown is over.

Meanwhile, Ontario has a regional approach to the shutdowns, Toronto, Peel Region, York Region, and Windsor-Essex County have all entered a lockdown resulting in the closure of all non-essential businesses, restaurants, bars, and certain activities over the past weeks. However, schools and certain workplaces still remain open.

When asked if a two-week shutdown would happen after the Christmas break, Premier Doug Ford responded that “everything is on the table.”

With the case positivity rate currently being 5.3%, Ford said, “I saw the same numbers, and it is concerning when we get into those percentages. What I can say is everything is on the table. Our priority is to protect the health and safety of the people of Ontario.”

Both provinces account for the majority of COVID-19 cases in Canada and have recently experienced a surge in numbers.

Ontario reported 2,275 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday morning, the highest case count since the pandemic began. While the province said the higher count was from updates in the public health unit reporting system, it’s still the first time over 2,000 cases were reported.

To date, Ontario has seen 144,396 coronavirus cases and 3,992 deaths.

And in Quebec, the total coronavirus cases in the province have now reached 167,276, along with 7,571 deaths.

Despite the uptick in cases, public health says “the spread of COVID-19 is under control in Quebec,” but cites the next few weeks as “critical.”

With files from Ty Jadah.