'We are not going in the right direction,' Legault says, putting holiday gatherings in doubt

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Quebec's plan to allow people to gather over the Christmas period may be scrapped, given the rising number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, Premier François Legault said Tuesday.

"We have hospitals that are approaching their limit of COVID patients," he said.

"We are not going in the right direction."

Legault said that if the number of hospitalizations continues to increase, it will be "difficult to take that risk."

A final decision will be made Dec. 11.

Quebec's rolling seven-day average of cases has climbed back up in recent weeks, and there are now more than 700 people in hospital with the virus.

The premier has tempered expectations for the holiday season since announcing on Nov. 19 that gatherings would be permitted over a four-day period — provided those meeting isolate for the week before and after.

Last week, following consultations with public health, Legault said only two gatherings would be allowed during the four-day period.

The province is expected to announce additional guidelines for holiday shopping later this week.