It's Thanksgiving weekend and Quebec's premier is asking everyone to heed the government's warnings and avoid gathering with friends and family, in order to limit the spread of COVID-19.
"Stay home with the people you live with. Resist the temptation to see your friends and family," Premier François Legault said Friday.
"I am counting on each and every one of you."
As cases continue to rise, resisting the urge to gather for Thanksgiving — a yearly tradition for many families in Quebec — might be difficult, so here are three reasons to limit your contacts and stay home.
Less and less room in hospitals
COVID-19 cases have soared in recent weeks and experts say hospitalizations, which are also on the rise, are at risk of climbing too.
In its weekly update on Friday, the province's institute for excellence in health and social services (INESSS) said it expects hospital beds set aside for COVID-19 will be at capacity within the next four weeks, if the rate of transmission stays the same.
If the health-care system is overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients, doctors and nurses are more likely to get sick themselves, leaving fewer people to care for patients.
"If you get sick in the next few months or weeks, we need people to take care of you," Legault said. "We're already tight."
There are already more than 6,000 health-care workers on leave during the second wave. Health Minister Christian Dubé has said one of his biggest worries is the strain the pandemic puts on staff.
Avoiding an economic shutdown
The government's plan to reopen schools more than a month ago has to do with keeping the economy running — the idea is, if children are at school, parents can go to work.
Since schools reopened, 1,016 classrooms have had to move to online distance-learning due to one or many COVID-19 cases, which means about three per cent of children are not in school, Legault said.
"I don't like to see that number increasing," Legault said. "Our children can't, for months on end, not go to school."
Even if you think the government should have acted more quickly in containing the resurgence of the virus, nearly all municipalities between the Montreal region and the Quebec City area along the St. Lawrence river have been designated red zones, the highest provincial COVID-19 alert level.
WATCH | How does Quebec's COVID-19 alert system work?
That means bars, theatres and other restricted businesses are now closed.
After schools and almost every type of business were shut down during the first COVID-19 wave, the province lost an estimated 821,000 jobs in April, bringing the unemployment rate to 17 per cent — the highest of all Canadian provinces.
Dubé has said it's crucial to flatten the curve to be able to reopen businesses — and send people back to work — which could happen as early as Oct. 28.
It's illegal, and you could get a $1K fine
If those aren't good enough reasons, think of your bank account.
Being in a red zone also means social gatherings are permitted only to those within your household — with a few exceptions, including for those who require special care and who live alone.
Even in those cases, no more than one other person is permitted to enter another's home at a time.
Under the restrictions, Thanksgiving dinners are currently against the law. Anyone in a red zone who gathers anyway could face a $1,000 fine.
A videoconference with family and friends — all safely in their own homes — is free.