Quebec brings back tough health measures as COVID-19 case numbers soar

·2 min read

MONTREAL — Amid rapidly growing COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, Quebec announced Monday it is bringing back tough new restrictions in an effort to stop the spread.

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé called the situation "critical" as he announced that bars, movie theatres and entertainment venues will close as of 5 p.m. today, while restaurants will operate at reduced capacity and have to close at 10 p.m.

"With the increase of cases and hospitalizations, we must put in place new measures," Dubé told a virtual news conference.

"I know the situation is tough, but now is the time again not to get discouraged, but to be strong," he added.

Elementary schools and high schools will close after today, and in-person learning scheduled to resume Jan. 10, but schools will remain accessible until the holiday break for vaccinations or distributing rapid tests to students.

Spectators will not be permitted to attend professional or amateur sporting events, and gyms and spas will also shutter.

Remote work, which before was recommended by authorities, will now be mandatory.

Quebec reported 4,571 COVID-19 cases today, a new single day record since the beginning of the pandemic.

The Health Department reported three more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus and said there are 21 more people in hospital, bringing total hospitalizations to 397. There are 82 COVID-19 patients in intensive care, an increase of three.

The new measures came hours after previously announced measures took effect on Monday that included reducing capacity by half in bars, restaurants, retail stores, places of worship and entertainment venues.

The province analyzed more than 45,000 tests on Sunday, with 10.1 per cent of them coming back positive for COVID-19. There are 26,143 active cases according to the province's public health institute.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Dec. 20, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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