Quebec City, Quebec (WNEWS) – Premier François Legault says Quebec City, Lévis and Gatineau will be essentially shut down for 10 days starting Thursday at 8 p.m. to curb the “exponential” rise of COVID-19 cases in these three cities.
Schools will be closed and students will move to full-time online learning in those three cities.
Gyms, theatres, hairdressers and other non-essential businesses are also shutting down the three cities, Legault said on Wednesday. Religious gatherings will be limited to 25 people and there will also be an 8 p.m.– 5 a.m. curfew until at least April 12.
“The situation is critical. It is deteriorating in these three cities,” Legault said. “People have to remain at home unless they absolutely have to go to work.”
With Easter weekend on the way, Legault stressed the importance of staying home and not gathering. The variants are spreading fast, he said.
“The alarm is sounding,” he said. “We cannot make any exceptions.”
Hospitalizations have not spiked in these three areas, he added, but they may soon.
“We must act quickly,” Legault said. “Everywhere in Quebec, we have to be more careful.”
Though schools will be closed, daycare services will be made available to those who work in essential services. Parents are expected to keep kids home if they can, and only use these services if they are leaving home to work.
Legault announced that four regions are moving from orange to red, in accordance with the province’s colour-coded alert system.
The Outaouais, Chaudière-Appalaches, Lower Saint-Lawrence and the Quebec City region will return to red zones.
Legault said it is time to crack down now and adjust as needed as more data is gathered. Montreal is not affected by the increased restrictions, but that may change as the situation evolves, he said.
Ontario to Move into ‘Four Week Lockdown’
Meanwhile, there are calls for Ontario to go back into lockdowns or Stay at Home Orders as the province cases spikes. Premier Doug Ford is expected to release new orders on Thursday.
Public health units reported another 2,333 cases of COVID-19 Wednesday.
The Ontario government is moving to activate an “emergency brake” for four weeks across the entire province in response to rising COVID-19 cases and strained capacity at intensive care units, multiple sources have told Global News.
While the move came after an hours-long meeting of the Ontario cabinet on Wednesday, several health-care professionals in the province have pleaded for government intervention in recent weeks.
Many of the logistical details were still being sorted out Wednesday evening. However, government and political party sources said the emergency measure would take effect sometime before the Easter weekend.
The sources said the restrictions will generally be similar to what is seen in the grey lockdown level of Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework. However, they also said elements of the “emergency brake” plan will be at the discretion of public health units.