Quebec on Monday announced the closure of bars, casinos, cinemas, gyms, and spas due to the record number of COVID-19 cases in the Canadian province. Sporting events will be closed to spectators. Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube also said restaurants should close at 10 pm. The new measures add to last week’s decision to restrict restaurants and bars to 50% of their capacity.
COVID-19 Returns to Quebec
Quebec recorded 4,571 cases of COVID-19 on Monday, a new single-day record since the beginning of the pandemic. Starting Tuesday, elementary schools and institutes will be closed to face-to-face teaching until January 10. However, the facilities will be used for vaccination or distribution of rapid tests to students.
Spectators will not be allowed to attend professional or amateur sporting events, although the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens have already played a recent game in front of empty bleachers. The NHL is postponing its season as of Wednesday, so that will be the last game for a while. Remote work, which was previously recommended by the authorities, will now be compulsory where possible.
Dube stated, “The epidemiological situation is critical. The community spread is astounding. Our health system is already in crisis … and things aren’t getting better. Hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions are on the rise. What we ask is that you limit your contacts to the absolute minimum.”
More Trouble Ahead
Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Prime Minister, said Friday that an increase in Omicron COVID-19 cases was “scary,” while the country’s top medical officer made it clear that the healthcare system may soon become “swamped.” Canada is seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases. Many of the 10 provinces report big jumps as Omicron takes over from Delta.
According to Reuters, Jean-Yves Duclos, Canada’s Health Minister, had earlier called on provinces to implement more public health measures. He stated that Canada would again require anyone returning from a foreign trip of less than 72 hours to submit a negative test. The measure discourages travel, according to tour operators. Duclos stated, “We are not in a popular contest here,” describing the situation to be “dramatic and critical.”
Theresa Tam, chief medical officer, stated that Omicron could become the dominant COVID-19 variant soon, and added that the volume of cases could overwhelm the health system within a very short time.