The Quebec government will reintroduce a curfew between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. starting Dec. 31 as the province battles an explosive rise of COVID-19 infections driven by the Omicron variant.
“I know we’re all tired, but it’s my responsibility to protect (Quebecers),” said Legault. “(Experts) agree that, in the coming weeks, there is a risk that the number of hospitalizations will exceed our capacity, which would eventually lead us to no longer being able to treat everyone,” said Premier Francois Legault.
He made the announcement at a Thursday evening press conference, where he was joined by Health Minister Christian Dube and Public Health Director Dr. Horacio Arruda.
People who violate the curfew are subject to fines ranging from $1,000 to $6,000.
“The gesture is extreme because the situation is extreme,” the premier added.
Quebecers are also no longer allowed to host private gatherings beyond their household bubble, with the exception of caregivers. Single people, including those with children, can join another family bubble.
Places of worship are also closing, except for funerals of up to 25 people. Restaurant dining rooms must close, and stores will be shut on Sundays for the next three weeks, except for depanneurs, gas stations, and pharmacies.
Elementary and secondary schools, universities, and CEGEPS will extend their holiday closures until Jan. 17.
Outdoor events are still allowed for up to 250 participants. Indoor sports are suspended, except for those played by one or two people at a time, or by a single family group.
“No one here is happy about this,” said Dube. “But is it the right thing to do under the circumstances? We are convinced that it is.”
The measures come as the Omicron variant grips the province with daily infection increases never-before seen anywhere in Canada.