Legault Warns Tough Weeks Ahead as COVID-19 Cases Rise

Authorities reported more than 10,000 new cases of COVID-19, a new daily record.

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Quebec Prime Minister François Legault warned on Friday of the difficult weeks ahead as officials reported more than 10,000 new COVID-19 cases, a new daily record.

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“The Omicron variant is more contagious than any other sight since the start of the pandemic,” Legault wrote in a Christmas message posted on Facebook. “I have your discretion to follow instructions and be careful.”

Legault called on Quebecers to reach out to those who are alone on vacation or who are isolating themselves due to a positive COVID-19 test result, and acknowledged the courage and dedication of healthcare workers.

“The next few weeks are going to be tough,” Legault wrote. “It will be very important to continue our efforts and stick together, even if we are tired.”

Quebec tightened restrictions this week, reducing private gatherings to six people or two family bubbles, starting December 26. Earlier this week, bars, cinemas, gyms and entertainment venues were abruptly ordered to close, while restaurants were allowed to stay open at 50 percent capacity with a strict 10 p.m. closing time.

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On Friday, Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon extended pandemic aid to restaurants.

“The repercussions of the new (health) measures on restaurants will be significant,” Fitzgibbon said in a statement. “We had discussions with their representatives and it was clear that we had to adjust our schedules or deal with various closures.”

Quebec has also tightened the rules on long-term care homes and nursing homes. Long-term care home residents will not be allowed out for private vacation gatherings and will only be allowed one visitor at a time, for a maximum of two visitors per day. Tours are still allowed in senior residences, but residents will only be allowed a maximum of four visitors per day during the vacation period.


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