Omicron COVID-19 in Quebec: Province closes schools, gyms, movie theatres, bars again as variant spread hits record

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The Quebec government announced Monday a number of businesses and services, including schools, must close as the province manages the "critical' COVID-19 situation with the Omicron variant spreading.

As of 5:00 p.m. on Monday, bars, casinos, movie theatres, performance venues, gyms and spas will be closed. Remote work is being mandated for non-essential workers.

Restaurants can remain open at 50 per cent capacity between 5:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. each day. Professional sports can continue without spectators.

Schools of all levels are also being mandated to close, with in-person learning not returning until Jan. 10, 2022 at the earliest. Classes will continue into the new year as scheduled but with virtual instruction only. Elementary schools will remain open for the distribution of rapid tests and vaccine administration only.

"With the increase of cases and hospitalizations, we must put in place new measures," health minister Christian Dubé said.

"I know the situation is tough but now is the time, again, not to get discouraged, to be strong. I ask everyone to be part of the effort, again, it can make all the difference."

Quebec reported 4,571 new cases - the highest of the pandemic so far - on Monday and three more COVID-19 related deaths. There are 397 people with COVID-19 in Quebec hospitals, an increase of 21 from the previous day, and 82 in intensive care.

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